Wheelchair accessible sensory garden at specialist disability accommodation

Alfred Oduro, Compass resident Wayne Ashe, Brenden Moore and Jandy McCandless working in the garden Photo: Kathleen Mackay

Compass Housing has teamed up with the Royal Botanic Gardens and Cerebral Palsy Alliance to build and plant-out a wheelchair accessible sensory garden at one of its new specialist disability accommodation (SDA) properties at Long Jetty.

Residents of the new group home on Archbold St will soon be enjoying home grown lettuce, tomatoes, and herbs, with the sensory gardens allowing them to connect with nature by touching, rubbing, smelling and of course eating their produce.

The garden incorporates matting, stones, and wind pipes to invoke the senses of sight and sound and was funded by Compass Housing as part of its sustainability program.

It is the first of its kind to be installed in a Compass Housing property on the Central Coast.

Compass Housing’s Sustainability Manager, Jandy McCandless, said community gardens are increasingly being used in public spaces, schools, in public housing, and for people with special needs, to develop a range of new skills.

McCandless said community gardens are an important part of Compass’ tenant and resident engagement programs.

She said that in other community gardens installed in our properties, there have been positive results above and beyond the expected improvements in nutrition and social interaction,” McCandless said.

Compass Housing Group Managing Director, Greg Budworth, said residents of the home used to live at Newcastle’s Stockton Centre and all use wheelchairs.

The new group home is one of 65 built across the region by Home4Life, a joint venture between Compass and BlueCHP.

The homes will eventually house approximately 300 people.

There are five such homes on the Central Coast.

Budworth said that the NSW Government has selected six Supported Independent Living (SIL) organisations to provide highly specialised 24-hour support at the homes.

Cerebral Palsy Alliance manages this home and its staff will help residents care for and enjoy the garden.

“This is a new way of delivering modern, quality, specialist disability accommodation,” Budworth said.

This garden is a small but important aspect of how we are working with the SILs to create homes for life,” he said.

Cerebral Palsy Alliance House Manager, Alfred Oduro, said that throughout COVID resident outings were limited, so we needed to be resourceful and find activities that could be done in and around the house.

“Activities such as this community garden, mean that residents can find enjoyment and purpose in the safety of their home,” Oduro said.

Brenden Moore from the Royal Botanic Gardens has helped Compass to create other gardens for tenants in other parts of NSW.

The Royal Botanic Gardens donates Brenden’s time and he brings the hardware for building gardens, the plants and trees, and the knowledge to help residents to enjoy and make the most of their garden.

Press release, Dec 3
Craig Eardley, PR Consultant