Boost for garden

A fence, new signage and wheelchair accessibility are some of the planned upgrades for the George Lay Park Community Garden. 

Volunteer Brian Butler and St Mary's Primary School students at the George Lay Park Community Garden. The youngsters have been visiting the garden as a part of their 'Reaching Out' religion unit studies. The garden has just received a $3000 grant from the Swan Hill Rural City Council. Picture: CAITLIN McARTHUR

Volunteer Brian Butler and St Mary's Primary School students at the George Lay Park Community Garden. The youngsters have been visiting the garden as a part of their 'Reaching Out' religion unit studies. The garden has just received a $3000 grant from the Swan Hill Rural City Council. Picture: CAITLIN McARTHUR

The garden group was awarded $3000 in funding by Council through the Community Development Fund late last week. 

The garden was one of 33 community groups to share $70,000 in funding to upgrade buildings, buy new equipment and support their volunteers. 

Swan Hill Neighbourhood House, Swan Hill Gymnastics Club each received $3000, while Swan Hill Motor Racing Club received $2500 to update disabled facilities. 

The Swan Hill Lions Club also received $2500. 

Community support for the garden has been high since vandals all but destroyed the patch in September and the group thanked council for the contribution.

The group was close to giving up after plants were pulled from beds and left them strewn around the park, leaving group members upset and out of pocket.

It was the twelfth time the garden had been vandalised in its four-year lifespan.

An unexpected offer of support from Bunnings and St Mary's Primary School has helped the garden to get back on its feet, but garden spokesperson Brian Butler said the planned upgrades would hopefully help to curb the incidents.

"We just hope it will enable the garden to grow, will help stop vandalism and help us to better manage the area," Mr Butler said.

The garden beds have already been shifted by council workers and Mr Butler said a fence would extend around the garden along the path to join with the existing one around the kindergarten.

A metre wide pathway will also be included, to make the area "as wheelchair friendly as possible." 

Mr Butler said there would be some changes to the signs around the garden. 

"We're also going to rejig the signage to better explain what we're about and spell out a few more rules," he said.

" We encourage anyone and everyone to come down here and have a look, but to pick or weed you're going to have to be a member of the garden group.

"It's unfortunate, but our idea of having everyone sharing produce just didn't work." 

To read more about this story, grab a copy of Wednesday's Guardian (November 29).

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