Flourishing with life: Manning Valley Community Gardens volunteer co-ordinator Chelsea Hands has plans to create a vibrant community space. Picture: Julia DriscollManning Valley Community Gardens, in the backyard of Manning Valley Neighbourhood Services at the old courthouse in Wingham, has lain fallow for a few years.
But 23-year-old Chelsea Hands is bringing new life to the gardens in her recent appointment as volunteer co-ordinator of the project.Chelsea has reason to see her role, and the role of the garden itself, as giving rise to life, both botanical and human.
“You’re bringing something to life, you’re producing life, and that’s a really hard thing personally for me because of my endometriosis – I can’t have children,” Chelsea says.
“So for me growth and producing life is the most beautiful thing I could ever do.”
Chelsea’s illness means she is unable to work at paid employment as some days she is unable to get out of bed, and she has a lot of surgeryin her future.
She also suffers from debilitating anxiety and finds the serenity and quietness of the space therapeutic and life-affirming. What she gives to the garden she gets back in spades.
She is an experienced gardener so her mother Heather suggested to Chelsea the community gardens in Wingham could be a purposeful activity for her.
Chelsea met with Caron Watkins, manager of MVNS, who enlistedher to get the plot back to a working garden.Now, with the help of donations of mulch and plants, the garden is starting to grow.
But the biggest donation so far has been that of a cheque from Wingham Memorial Services Club for $716, which Chelsea says is an enormous help.
The garden’s main purpose has always been to support the MVNS Food from the Heart program, which provides free nutritious meals at lunchtime on Mondays to people in need in the community. Chelsea calls it “plot to pot”.In addition, produce raised in the garden can be used in food parcels given to clients.
Volunteer enquiries to Caron Watkins on 6553 5121, or drop into 4 Farquhar Streetbetween 9am and 3pm Monday to Thursday.For more information visit 梧桐夜网mvns.org419论坛 and click on the community gardens link.