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Rokeby community garden a haven for all abilities

THE first sod has been turned on a new community garden that will enable people with a disability to harvest their own produce.

The garden, which is situated at a supported accommodation house managed by Mosaic Support Services at Rokeby, will provide fresh vegetables to the organisation’s clients and not-for-profit organisations.

Its design will incorporate access for people in wheelchairs, along with the expansion of an existing paved area to encourage local green thumbs to engage in activities in a safe environment.

A joint initiative between the Lions Club of Clarence and Mosaic, the garden is being brought to fruition with the help of a grant from the Tasmanian Community Fund and federal government funding.

Lions Club of Clarence member Stephen Smith said the project, which was expected to be completed by mid-2017, was “desperately needed” for those with a disability in southern Tasmania.

“Other than the community garden area at the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, there is no place where people with disabilities can undertake activities which teach practical and social interaction skills, as well as the ability to see the outcome of their gardening efforts by enjoying the food that they produce,” he said.

“This garden will not only broaden their experiences, but will also eventually enable all the participants to reduce the cost of buying fresh vegetables and enable the sharing of food resources with others.

“This project has the potential to create an enormous amount of community goodwill and wellbeing and we believe that it will enable those with a disability in southern Tasmania to be the beginning of an enterprise that is only going to become bigger over time.”

Federal Member for Franklin, Julie Collins, who recommended the project for funding, said she was “very pleased” that construction had already begun.

“I know how much difference this garden is going to make and it’s wonderful to see the Lions Club of Clarence working with Mosaic to make this happen,” she said.

“The Lions Club is also working closely with Rokeby High School so that young people in the area will have the opportunity to be a part of this project.

“I was so pleased to help this project with federal funding and it’s great to see the community coming together to make something like this possible.

“The Lions Club of Clarence should be immensely proud of making this happen.”

Caption: Federal Member for Franklin Julie Collins and Lions Club of Clarence member Byron Nicol discuss the construction of a new garden for people with a disability in Rokeby.