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Greenacres gardeners to transform unused block of land with IRT

12 September 2019

A group of Greenacres green thumbs kicked off the next stage of their gardening training with IRT this week at a soon-to-be transformed unused block of land next to IRT Facilities Management in Balgownie.

The group has been receiving gardening training from IRT Facilities Management employees since March 2019. Through learning basic gardening and land care skills, the group has been involved in garden design and planting at IRT Five Islands and Kemira at IRT Kanahooka.

Under IRT’s guidance, the Greenacres gardeners have excelled in their foundational training and quickly progressed to learning more advanced skills including garden design and plant propagation.

For the group’s next challenge they will train with IRT in the use of lawn mowing equipment, including ride on mowers and whipper snippers. They also plan to plant and grow their own vegetables in raised garden beds that have been installed on the site. The produce from this will be used in the Greenacres Kickstart Kitchen in North Wollongong.

While practicing their gardening and land care skills in the field, the Greenacres volunteers are also working towards a qualification through a course with WEA Illawarra.

As part of the partnership between the two organisations, IRT recently donated a bus to Greenacres for the gardening crew and other Greenacre Kickstart groups to use as transport.

IRT Group CEO Patrick Reid says it’s a great program of two community-based not-for-profits working together to benefit both organisations and the people of the Illawarra.

“We really enjoy it when the Greenacres gardeners come to IRT sites and work their magic on our gardens,” Mr Reid said.

“What’s most exciting is observing how much our residents enjoy the Greenacres crew. They have big warm personalities and our residents find a lot of joy in watching them work and having a chat while they do.

“Our residents also get the pleasure of having some truly beautiful gardens to spend time in, thanks to the work of our Greenacres friends.”

Greenacres General Manager Heather Marciano says the gardening group has not only learnt new skills but have developed meaningful friendships with employees and residents at IRT communities across the Illawarra.

“We hope this project will provide a space where IRT residents can come to mentor our young people and share their gardening knowledge, or just come to enjoy the gardens and pick some herbs or veggies to take home,” Ms Marciano said.

“We see this project as providing opportunities for young and old to connect, share ideas and create an inclusive space for all to share.”

The block of land to be transformed is located just down the road from IRT Tarrawanna Gardens Retirement Village.

Media enquiries: Hannah Ellson 0429 361 627

General enquiries: 134 478

About IRT Group:

IRT Group is one of Australia’s largest community-owned, not-for-profit providers of retirement living, residential aged care and home care. With 50 years’ experience and locations throughout NSW, the ACT and South East Queensland, we employ almost 2800 people and play a significant role in promoting seniors as dynamic, influential and valuable members of society.

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