Raised garden beds raise confidence

Small Grants for Rural Communities
Deloraine, Tas - $2,380

"The success of the project is measured by the happiness and pride the garden brings to clients and staff alike."

Giant Steps Tasmania is a not-for-profit, independent, specialist school for children and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) – the only one of its kind in Tasmania and the first to be established in Australia. More than 50 students access the services of the school, which is situated in the small town of Deloraine, Tasmania, around 35 minutes drive from Launceston.

Giant Steps applied to FRRR’s Small Grants for Rural Communities program to develop a sensory and vegetable garden in the backyard of their adult day support group building – the Next Step building. Clients were to be involved in hands-on gardening, growing vegetables for cooking programs and pre-vocational work activities.

Funding of $2,380 was awarded to kickstart the project, enabling them to purchase a greenhouse and install raised planter beds. The project has ended up even better than they had hoped, with a lot of volunteer time and donated plants and soil also provided by the local Bunnings.

Tim Chugg, Giant Steps Principal, said the transition of the garden into the winter season was enjoyable and educational.

“It has been a great activity for the students and the adult clients to see the growth and change between seasons. All members of our community have watered, dug, planted, weeded, tasted, smelled, touched and listened to our garden.”

"We have seen vast improvement in the concentration and effort that some clients put into our gardening sessions, incidents of negative behaviours are low in the sessions.”