The idea for the Sunshine Community Garden came about as a result of discussions between Westcare and Sunshine Youth Housing. The discussions focused on the benefits of what such a project could produce and how a sense of community could be built in the process.
According to Westcare program manager, Ralph Salera, the goal of the project was to "transform an empty block of land next to the Westcare building into a place of beauty, activity and community".
To develop the project, Westcare has been working in partnership with Sunshine Salvation Army Corps (church), SASHS (housing), Victoria University and the aforementioned, Sunshine Youth Housing.
So far, there have been plenty of fruit and vegetables harvested, including cabbages, carrots, cucumbers, pumpkins, strawberries, eggplants, lettuce and tomatoes.
The next phase of the garden project will be the creation of a learning centre which Ralph considers as being a focal point of the project, one which will allow schools, kindergartens, community groups and programs an opportunity to use the space.
Although planning and work has been ongoing for over two years, Westcare's plans for an official unveiling are in their final stages. Westcare hopes that the 'secret garden' will soon be no longer a secret when it opens to promote strong community connections - especially for those who are disengaged from the community.