Bunnings management staff from across the country helped build new facilities at the Ngaruawahia Community Garden.

Progress to Health chief executive Karen Covell said staff at the organisation were "beaming" about the gesture.


"It's just amazing the resources, the plants, the equipment, the raised gardens is all stuff that was on the wishlist and is now a reality, so very special."

The work carried out in a few hours would have taken them about six months, she said, and the cost saved could be put back into its services. 


Based in Hamilton, the mental health service provides activities that enhance mental and physical wellbeing to individuals and groups. 


Clients of the organisation who chose to work in the garden had a general interest, wanted to learn some new skills or gain a qualification in horticulture, Covell said. 


"We have had a couple who have got a level 2 or level 3 and have been picked up by working crews from the council...  the biggest thing is the achievement though."


And it's a stepping stone for them to continue on progressing, she said. 


Covell said on average around 10 people were working on the gardens during the week. 

"It's a different environment and a bit of sunshine makes all the difference.


"Some of these people haven't worked for a long time because of their mental state, [so] it's about guiding them through, setting their alarm, having a shower, having breakfast."


The gardens has been situated in the north Waikato town for more than a decade.


It started at the Waikato-Tainui Endowed College as a partnership with Tainui but moved to land on Duke St about four years ago.


Last year it produced about 6000 pieces of produce, she said, and the clients working on the gardens were able to take home those vegetables.


Part of the activity also involves learning how to prepare healthy foods. 


Anything that is surplus goes to the Ngaruawahia Community House for local residents as well as other services in Hamilton. 


"We've found a little goes a long way."


Image & article source: Caitlin Wallace/Fairfax Media. Pictured: Tania Wansteker, left, Jeff Hirawani, Clare Taylor, Progress to Health community support worker Henrietta Cassidy and Nic Wren.

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