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RehabCare’s Community Gardening Gives Access For All

24/07/2013

The Dunboyne Garden Project, organised by RehabCare is a Community Inclusion Project with social, educational and recreational themes. The project supports people with physical health issues who attend RehabCare’s resource centre in Dunboyne, to create and sustain a garden with a garden crop rotations system and growing plan. The garden will also provide a a relaxation area for clients attending the Dunboyne Clinic. It also aims to link in with other community garden projects within the area. Sean Boylan owner of Dunboyne Herbs and former Meath football manager has very generously given some of the grounds surrounding his home for the development of the garden project. He says “It has been wonderful for Dunboyne Herbs to get involved with the Dunboyne Garden Project. This partnership has resulted in the creation of a beautiful garden that has been built within our grounds that the clients can enjoy. Key to the success has been the involvement of the local community and the outstanding design by Sinead Drew, Therapy and Horticultural Tutor. I would like to thank all the people involved in the construction of the garden and we hope everyone will enjoy the tranquillity of such a beautiful garden."


The project which began in March this year involves six people with a physical and sensory disability aged between 31 and 68, all of whom attend RehabCare Resource Centre. It is envisaged that the number of people participating in this project will increase with time. The garden is fully accessible for wheelchair users, giving everyone the opportunity to take part in the project.

The new 700 square-foot garden will provide educational opportunities for those involved and will also allow them to reap the rewards of growing their own fresh food. The garden was built from scratch, using tonnes of soil, sleepers and sand which were kindly funded by Sean Boylan. The crops were chosen taking into account a few important criteria: ability to adapt to local conditions; easy to cultivate; will be easy to prepare; and have a high nutritional value. All the vegetables grown are organic which cuts the cost of fertilisers and insecticides and giver a healthier product. 

The process of growing things in the garden is as important as the things produced at the end. The garden gives those involved opportunities to take responsibility, to make decisions, to plan, to organise work, to work as a team, to evaluate and to publicise. Service users are supported by a horticultural therapist and programme supervisor.

Julia Mumford who attends RehabCare in Dunboyne and has been involved in the project since the start said, “The garden project has been very educational, it’s teaching us how to grow different vegetables and how to separate the root from the soil. It’s enjoyable and everyone helps each other with different things that need to be done. The garden project has helped to increase my confidence and I am now more out-spoken as a result.”


Last month the people involved were able to see the first rewards of growing their own fresh food. The vegetables were a big hit with everyone! This coincided with the centre’s Health Eating Project, which is delivered by the people who use the service themselves. Each Thursday, they cook and eat a variety of healthy meals. It was great to be able to use their own vegetables for the first time!


Ann Moran, Community Service Manager, RehabCare in Dunboyne says, “There is a real commitment and interest from all those involved to  promote the whole ethos surrounding social and community inclusion. Some of the people involved have a long tradition of home gardening so they have a real passion for this project.”

For more information contact: Ann Moran, Community Services Manager, RehabCare  086 8090690 / ann.moran@rehabcare.ie

 

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