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SEG working bee revamps community therapy garden

A day's hard work and some vibrant paint has brought new life to a children's therapy garden at the Historic Village.

On Saturday, 27 November 2021, SEG staff, family and volunteers from The Kollective enjoyed a working bee at Your Garden - a community garden that gives children with extra needs the opportunity to learn life skills outside of the classroom.

The team cut through dense overgrowth before building and painting a new staircase to provide access to the garden, which was established only four months ago by Jess Hubbard and Jo Easterby.

Before, during and after photos of the community therapy garden. Photos by SEG Ltd.

The garden aimed to help grow “confident, active and resilient” leaners who can thrive in a traditional classroom environment, said Hubbard, a special needs educator who with Esterby, has spent the past year working to set up the fully-equipped garden site at The Historic Village.

The garden is located near the The Kollective shared working space, where SEG Ltd is based.

SEG Director Richard Saunders said once he became aware of the community garden and the positive impact it would have, he was eager to offer support.

"We want to contribute to the community in a positive way and the work that Jess and Jo are doing is outstanding and we wanted to help."

On Saturday, Richard and his team together with Stu Thompson and Richard Dey of The Kollective, joined Hubbard and Esterby to clear the steep path and build a new staircase that provides new access to the garden.

The garden officially opened in July 2021, and during the following two school terms, primary-aged students will dig soil, harvest vegetables and grow flowers.

Hubbard and Easterby worked with Merivale and Matua Primary School students last year during the pilot programme at the Welcome Bay Community Garden.

The pair managed to fundraise $4600 for the programme, alongside receiving multiple donations of tools, plants and gazebos for the site. The plot of land was also given to them by Tauranga City Council.

The target students for the programme generally do not receive any funding for learning assistance at school, said Hubbard. These needs can include autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and high anxiety.

Both Hubbard and Esterby take two days a week off work to run the therapy garden, which they say can be tough at times but is very much worth their while.

“After completing this programme children manage themselves better – they will learn the required pre-skills of surviving and thriving in a modern classroom."

- Additional words by SunLive.



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