Seeds of change planted 

A project providing support to those at social disadvantage is close to getting off the ground.

Growing Abilities Goulburn’s objective is to develop a social enterprise which will provide high quality employment and training to Goulburn Mulwaree and surrounding council area residents who experience social exclusion.

The enterprise and will propagate and sell plants, provide a setting for promoting social contribution and recognition.

The target group has now been identified as including anyone whose social inclusion could be enhanced through participation in the project.

On Friday, the steering committee hosted a site meeting with Member for Goulburn Pru Goward, Deputy Mayor Bob Kirk, Goulburn Soldiers Club Secretary Manager Toni Mitchell, local architect Garry Dutaillis and members of the committee.

During the meeting, the development of the program was highlighted, along with the invaluable contributions from the Goulburn community, both in-kind and financial.

Committee member Wilbur Clarke noted that currently the community had donated more than $80,000 in goods and services to the project.

On Tuesday the group met with Greening Australia with a view to develop a project on restoring the site to native vegetation.

The concept was initially presented at a public meeting at Goulburn Mulwaree Council Chambers in November 2007 by Challenge Southern Highlands, with approximately 50 people in attendance. The need was identified to establish a horticultural based enterprise which provides.

Challenge Southern Highlands currently operates Welby Garden Centre in Mittagong, a supported employment service.

Since November 2007, the steering committee has been working in Goulburn to bring this vision to reality. With the assistance of a Community Partnership Grant from the NSW Government to purchase two building kits and a lease of eight acres of land from Goulburn Mulwaree Council, the vision is being realised.

Currently Growing Abilities Goulburn is in the process of having the lease in Ross St reassigned to the new entity.

In early 2011, the Rotary Clubs of Goulburn, Goulburn Argyle and Goulburn Mulwaree, as well as the Lions Club of Goulburn, formed a Construction Committee to assist with the construction of the machinery shed and training rooms.

This dedicated group of people have held countless working bees to develop the site which is anticipated to be completed in the next two months with Soroptimist International Goulburn assisting in providing meals for the volunteers.

During the construction phase, the steering committee has been completing the organisational side of the project with the assistance of professional personnel in Goulburn and Goulburn Mulwaree Council.

The group’s next activity will be a car boot sale on site at 41 Ross St on Saturday, February 9, from 8am. For more information, email or phone 0418 257 069.

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