Garden City roots for garden-party grants

Garden City roots for garden-party grants
A garden gathering at Sky Garden at Jurong Central yesterday. The garden is designed to be elder- and wheelchair-friendly.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

It is a year to party, so a one-time grant of $50,000 will be given out to 50 community gardens here to host garden parties for residents.

Launched by the South West Community Development Council (CDC) and its partners yesterday, the SG50 Garden Parties initiative wants these funds to go to gatherings for 5,000 pioneer generation citizens and vulnerable residents such as wheelchair users.

The programme, which is also supported by the National Parks Board and Sumitomo Chemicals Asia, is to mark Singapore's 50th birthday and honour its pioneers.

To be held from now till September, the parties will be hosted at community gardens for residents to meet over food and gardening activities. A total of 1,500 mini potted plants will be given away as tokens of appreciation.

More than 100 residents were also invited to the launch yesterday at Sky Garden at Jurong Central, where they could harvest crops such as lady's finger and kailan grown in the 200 sq m rooftop garden. South West District mayor Low Yen Ling, the guest of honour, said the parties would celebrate Singapore's green culture and heritage.

"Singapore is known as a garden city and more recently, our Botanic Gardens won the status of a Unesco World Heritage site... We are fortunate to inherit a wonderful green legacy from the foresight of Lee Kuan Yew and our pioneers," she said.

The Sky Garden at Jurong Central - in Jurong East Street 32 - opened in 2012 and is the first community garden built on top of a HDB multi-storey carpark with a design that is elder- and wheelchair-friendly.

About 35 volunteers are actively involved in maintaining the garden, which has raised planter beds for better access to plants.

They grow sunflowers, watermelons and long beans. Volunteers usually split the harvest among themselves, donate it to low-income neighbours or, in yesterday's case, cook it for community events.

Volunteer Hamidah Bujang, 57, helps out there every day, and she has seen the fruits of her labour in more than one way. "I used to keep to myself and I didn't know many people living near me, but taking part in community gardening has helped me to know many people staying in my block."

Jurong East resident Madam Kwoh Toh, 87, said she was happy to be one of the pioneers invited to the garden party yesterday.

"I hope that I can come back more often," she said. "Seeing the sunflowers in the garden makes me happy."


This article was first published on July 13, 2015.
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