Tue, 06 Feb - 09:21
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Constituency Statement: Edgeworth David Community Garden

I rise to speak about the Edgeworth David Community Garden in Hornsby. A little over a year ago I had the chance to visit the garden, meet some of the volunteers and formally announce the grant of $13,782 that they had received under the Stronger Communities Program. Last weekend I had the chance to go and visit again to see the progress that they're making. I was extremely impressed at the amount that has been done and the rich array of plants that are being grown. I saw the pumpkins, the watermelons, the silverbeet, the zucchinis, the string beans, the passionfruit. I was particularly impressed with the worm farm and the amount of effort going into composting. But the thing that impressed me was the enthusiasm of the community volunteers who were present. There was quite an age range. The oldest volunteer there was, I think, aged 82, and she was so absorbed in her work that she was only prepared to stop and speak to me for just a few moments before she got back to the hard work of keeping the compost being processed.

It was interesting to speak with the volunteers, particularly some of the leaders of the group: Bronwyn O'Rourke, the secretary, Simon Kennedy, the community engagement coordinator, and Julian Baezavellaneda, who works with Catholic Care and has been involved in bringing a number of their residents to the Edgeworth David Community Garden to become involved in it. Speaking to all of them, the first point they made was that the grant they received under the Stronger Communities Program was very important in terms of the things it was able to fund, including the fact that the permaculture garden is now wheelchair accessibility. It also funded some of the work towards a shed, which has now been built, although I do want to commend all the volunteers, because the shed itself was found on a nearby housing site that was about to be demolished and they persuaded the demolition crew to give them the shed. They managed to cart the shed back to the site of the garden, and it looks terrific after a lot of volunteer labour to put it together, with the help of that excellent organisation, the Hornsby Men's Shed. Some of the people there helped them put the shed together.

I also want to acknowledge Hornsby council, who really supported the Edgeworth David Community Garden. The thing about the Stronger Communities Program is that it is designed to catalyse activities in our communities. It's not designed to fund the totality of a project; it's designed to encourage those involved in putting together a project to get funds from other sources as well. They've done this very successfully, and they emphasised to me how important the grant had been in building their credibility with other organisations like the council. Congratulations to all those involved with the Edgeworth David Community Garden. What you've achieved in just over 12 months is very, very impressive.