Green thumb residents on TV

Long-running, landmark ABC program, Gardening Australia, last month filmed a segment featuring residents from Sorell Community, Ningana.

The Uniting AgeWell group was taking part in the DIGnity program at Okines Community Garden – a supported community garden initiative aimed at reducing isolation and improving health and wellbeing.

Gardening Australia filmed the residents working in the garden, sharing lunch and basket weaving alongside other community members, volunteers and DIGnity staff.

Chrissi Charles, from Gardening Australia, said the team heard about the DIGnity program when filming an unrelated segment and thought it would appeal to its audience.

“We liked the way DIGnity used an already existing community garden setting – rather than a separate garden site – but extended it to include marginalised groups within the community,” she said.

“It’s also the first time we have done a story about gardening involving people with dementia.”

During the warmer months, a group of six to 10 Ningana residents attend the DIGnity program each fortnight.

“They have the opportunity to plant and maintain the garden, feed the chooks, assist with the wood fired oven or go for the walk through the beautiful garden,” Lifestyle Coordinator Kylie Cooper said.

“They also cook lunch using fresh herbs and vegetables grown in the garden and eat it together.  Often a volunteer will bring in nice bread and they will make pizza out of it or serve it with soup.” 

Kylie said the program boosted residents’ motor skills, wellbeing and mobility.  Most importantly, however, Kylie said it enabled them to contribute to the community in a meaningful way.

While participating in the DIGnity program, residents have the opportunity to connect with its occupational therapist, mental health counsellor, fibre artist (art using natural or synthetic fibres), social researcher, garden coordinators and volunteers.

Chrissi said the Gardening Australia filming was “excellent” and the crew had a “great day” with the residents.

Broadcasting of the segment is yet to be scheduled, but Gardening Australia will notify Uniting AgeWell when it airs. 

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