Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Local community action case study - Christ Church Community Centre

Classified as: project updates - case study

Vegies at Community Centre

One aim in writing this blog is to provide case studies of projects promoting both equity and environmental sustainability. Previously I've mentioned Pass the Parcel. This week I'm highlighting the Community Kitchen Garden project at Christ Church Community Centre.

Christ Church Community Centre is a small organisation, managed by about two equivalent full time staff members with the help of lots of volunteers. It's located in the beautiful grounds of Christ Church St Kilda.

The Community Centre provides activities and a point of contact for local people who are experiencing loneliness and complex health issues. Many have disabilities, particularly mental illness; many are homeless or live in rooming houses, and have very low income. Programs also aim to bring different members of the community together and create a more inclusive and connected community.

Current programs include: the Open House Meal program, a weekly evening 3 course meal for up to 100 people; Yoga; iPad training; Patchwork & Quilting group; Gardening support program for frail community members and a regular Seniors Social Group.  

All programs are health promoting and provide the opportunity for participants to learn new skills. Participants are invited and encouraged to be involved in the running of these programs.

The Centre aims to be environmentally sustainable as well as socially inclusive. One program addressing both aims is the Community Kitchen Garden, described below by staff member Elaine:

"The Community Kitchen Garden Project

Kitchen Garden site - Before
The community kitchen garden is designed for growing fresh food for the Open House community meals program and to create opportunities for developing and sharing skills among local community members and work in partnership with other local groups.  The local community includes people of mixed backgrounds, age groups and incomes, and this is an opportunity to allow all these people to work together and get to know each other better.

The Open House Meals program utilises up to 500kg of good quality, fresh ingredients through SecondBite and Foodbank Victoria each month. This not only provides free weekly meals for 100 people but also prevents that food from going to landfill and being wasted.

How other groups have participated this year includes:
Participants at the planting workshop
  • PPUFFN – (Port Phillip Urban Fresh Food Network) ran an introductory vegetable planting workshop
  • Christ Church Community Centre is registered as a participant in the City of Port Phillip’s  GreenBusiness Environmental Leadership Program – Sustainability Business Leader.  This program is intended to support businesses in Acland Street in developing more sustainable practices within their business. The Community Centre utilises up to 500kg of fresh food per month that would otherwise be sent to landfill, we fill two to three recycling bins of cardboard and other recyclables each week, and we have completed a lighting audit and are using low energy light bulbs throughout the building.  We have installed timers on our fridges and where possible reduce running the fridges when unnecessary. 
Kitchen garden - After
Sandra Pullman, Horticultural Consultant and Garden Writer referred to our community kitchen garden in her new book A Gardening Guide for Schools and Community Groups starting a Vegetable Garden or Orchard."


jules said...

Are you part of that group val?

Whether you are or not they are doing great stuff.

My family in Melbourne are involved with something called CERES in Brunswick.

Valerie Kay said...

Hi Jules
No I'm not involved with it, but I used to work as a health promotion coordinator in that area and I've had a fair bit to do with Christ Church Community Centre. They work so hard and do great stuff.
I started doing my PhD when I was working in that area, but for the for the last year I've mainly been focusing on the PhD. I'm hoping to develop a framework that supports people in bringing the social justice and environmental agendas together.
Thanks for your comment and I'll make sure everyone at the community centre sees it.
I live not far from CERES and I love it!

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