A priority at Hope Street Youth and Family Services is that young people using our services are given opportunities for both skills and personal development. Tending a vegetable garden bed with others is an example of this, being a fun activity that promotes healthy living and builds self-esteem, social connections and problem-solving skills.
Spring 2022 has seen a focus on renewing some veggie patches across a few of Hope Street’s sites. Young people and staff have come together to do some weeding, turning soil and planting new crops. We are grateful for the wonderful community support with a special thanks to Bunnings for donating seedlings, soil, mulch and new gloves.
It was on a sunny day at the end of August that the Hope Street in Whittlesea team dug in. With eleven one and two-bedroom units, Hope Street in Whittlesea offers a home to young people and their children for up to two years while they set goals regarding education, employment and community connection. All the activities aim to increase independence, knowledge confidence and skills. The two garden beds were overgrown with vigorous rosemary and stubborn weeds however some hard work saw the beds ready for new seedlings.
The following week saw the First Response Youth Service in Melton team refresh their garden beds. There are ten young people, including their children, who call the refuge home for up to six weeks. Kylie, a Support worker, has tended the veggie patch for a few seasons now said, “We have grown heaps of lettuce, some small pumpkins, heaps of tomatoes and a huge zucchini. Young people love seeing food from the garden onto the plate”. One of the young people engaged in the planting had previously worked in a nursery so her expertise was invaluable. Everyone is excited to see what the crop will yield.
While there was great participation in both of these gardening activities, the significant engagement was with the post planting morning tea.
It is worth noting that this winter saw Lions Club of Melton start planting the orchard at the back of the refuge. Granny Smith apples went in along with pears and other fruit trees.
Photography Credit: Katie Hooper, Business Development and Partnerships Manager, Hope Street