Compass Housing Services (Compass) tenants and other members of the community will join an expert from the Royal Botanic Gardens to build and plant two large gardens at Compass' Glenbawn Street social housing complex in Muswellbrook from 2:30pm on Thursday September 3.
The garden is an initiative of Compass’ local Tenant Reference Group. Tenants have been consulted and requested the garden include avocado trees, citrus trees, flowers and salad crops. There will also be a bush tucker section.
A recently awarded $2,000 community grant from Muswellbrook Shire Council will help fund equipment for the tenants’ ongoing maintenance of the garden and grounds.
Compass Housing’s sustainability manager Jandy McCandless said community gardens were an important part of Compass’ tenant engagement and empowerment programs. Ms McCandless said Brenden Moore from the Royal Botanic Gardens has helped Compass to create other gardens for tenants in other parts of the Hunter and NSW.
She said in other gardens installed in Compass properties, there have been positive results above and beyond the expected improvements in nutrition and social interaction.
“Creating community gardens help our tenants to develop life skills, reduce social isolation and boredom as well as increase social interaction,” Ms McCandless said.
At Compass, we see our role as being much more than putting a roof over our tenants’ heads,” she said.
“By providing tenants with life skills, as well as access to education, training and mentoring, we can help to create pathways out of disadvantage.”
Muswellbrook based community participation officer Kristy King said the gardens also bring Compass staff and tenants together. She said gardening can also support good mental health.
“Compass runs a NSW Government funded Shout Out Mental Health program and a team member will be coming along to the garden project with afternoon tea for participants,” Ms King said.
“Anyone from the local community is invited to join us to get their hands dirty, enjoy some sunshine, and the satisfaction of building this beneficial garden,” she said.
The Glenbawn Street complex has 15 tenants.
Compass is a Hunter-based, Tier 1, not for profit community housing provider. It manages almost 7,000 properties across NSW and Queensland.