Funding to provide support for key community programs 

Councillor Tricia Hitchen (centre) with members of the Active Gardening Club and staff from the Active Care Network and Barnardos.

A non-profit community garden run by seniors and a local food pantry service will soon get a boost in resources thanks to funding from Penrith City Council.  

Following a recent visit to Barnardos at Cranebrook as one of her last Mayoral duties, Councillor Tricia Hitchen called on her councillor colleagues at the September Ordinary Meeting for their backing to give $3,000 to the organisation, to support two key community programs.  

“The Active Care Network has a community garden established by a number of elderly people that go to the garden with their carers – they were talking to me about the long, hot summer we’re expecting, and they had concerns about their ability to keep the garden alive,” Cr Hitchen explained.  

“While I was there, I was talking to the Barnardos case workers who were telling me that their case work has increased by 300 per cent, and they are turning people away without food parcels,” she said.  

The Active Gardening Club’s community garden is home to a range of herbs, spices, fruit and vegetables. 

Cr Hitchen asked that each of Council’s three wards donate $1,000. Of the $3,000, $1000 will support the community garden and $2,000 will assist with the delivery of Barnardos’ food hampers. Councillors voted in favour of the urgent motion.  

Penrith Mayor Todd Carney said Council was proud to help where possible as the cost of living rises means times are tough for many in the community.  

“Council cares deeply about our residents and we recognise that there are amazing organisations and community groups making a difference in our City,” Cr Carney said.  

“Council’s well-managed budget enables us to keep funds aside for urgent requests such as this, to improve these vital community programs and ensure that they continue to be offered to community members,” he said.  

An example of what residents in need receive in Barnardos’ food hampers. Image courtesy of Barnardos.  

The Active Gardening Club brings senior residents together to improve their well-being and decrease loneliness through opportunities to keep active and get their hands dirty.  

Penrith City Council has been a proud partner of the Club, with Council’s Nursery offering space for members to hold fortnightly meetings and partake in gardening sessions, activities, tours and demonstrations. 

Active Care Network’s Community Programs Manager, Coralie Griffiths, thanked Council for the donation which will fund items including a hose trigger nozzle, irrigation timer, compost materials, a greenhouse, shade cloth, vegetable wash bay, and more.  

Barnardos Cranebrook’s food parcels provide essential fruit, vegetables, bread, pies and other pantry staples for those in need.  

Program Manager for the Family Support Program, Melissa Cooke, said Barnardos was grateful for the $2,000 donation, which would enable the organisation to meet growing demand, with up to 700 food parcels handed out each month.  

“The support we provide is free to residents and while our fridge is filled every morning, it is empty by the end of the day so we have had to limit how many pantry items we offer – this donation will keep our fridge restocked.”