Growing hope for struggling community garden

June 12, 2017

Growing hope for struggling community garden

An inner city garden needs more funding to thrive. Photo: Sophie Baird

A community garden at the top of Symonds St may receive a desperately needed funding boost, if local board plans are approved.

Auckland Council’s 21 local boards are seeking feedback from community members on their draft plans for the year.

The Waitematā Local Board draft plan aims to create an inclusive community that is vibrant, healthy and connected, and this includes plans to help fund community gardens.

Alex Guthrie, facilitator of the Symonds St community garden, said local board support for the green space would be beneficial to everyone involved.

“Funding for the garden would boost the morale of everyone already involved even higher and provide further incentive to promote the garden, as well as getting more people talking.”

The Symonds St community garden was established in 2014, and without funding from the Waitematā Local Board progress has been slow.

“There’s a few people interested in the garden, but it’s overlooked a bit because not much work is done on it. If the local board say they’ll help funding community gardens, that will help out the garden and the community a lot,” said Mr Guthrie.

Rob Thomas, leader of the infrastructure and environment portfolio for the Waitematā Local Board said he had been a part of the garden for four years now and helped make the planter boxes out of his old campaign signs.

“We reached out to the community and asked what they wanted, and community-led initiatives such as community gardens were suggested.”

Mr Thomas said he was aware of the problems currently facing the Symonds St community garden and was working with Mr Guthrie to help address them.

“There is knowledge and support within the council that will help them with the current problem, such as the growing rat population.”

Mr Thomas said community groups could apply for funding online. Grants ranged from $500 to $5000.

“The process has a quick turnaround if groups are applying for the smaller amounts, but it will take a bit longer for bigger amounts as they have to be considered by the board first.”

Mr Thomas said the local board rarely receives applications for environmental projects so encourages any community groups to get in touch and apply for funding if they need it.

Local board plans are developed every three years and include a number of outcomes that range from managing local parks to building new sport facilities.

Local residents are encouraged to go the Shape Auckland website to contribute their feedback on the draft plans which help guide decisions made by board members.

Submissions for feedback close on June 30.

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