Chorus Voices Ep 51: Growing communities one garden at a time

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Chorus gardeners Paul and John

Chorus gardeners (left to right) Paul and John

What’s it like to be a Chorus gardener? Pretty special actually.

We hit the gardening trail with Chorus gardeners John and Paul to see what it was like helping people in their gardens. While gardening is at the heart of what they do, it is so much more than that.

“We have lovely connections with our customers,” says John.

“It makes us all, as our gardening team goes, dig in and it doesn’t feel like a job when you’re doing that.”

John and Paul agree that they enjoy having a chat with customers and seeing the customers come alive when they talk about their earlier lives.

“I’ve even been sitting down in the shopping centre and the client’s walked up and sat down and we’ve had a chat,” adds Paul.

When volunteers join in with the crew it’s particularly special.

“They come out, gain some skills, and we all have a good time. They look out for us, we look out for them,” says Paul.

Earlier in the month John did some work with volunteers from Cannington ESC for now retired volunteers Jim and Wanda (who talked on Ep 50: 50 years in the community).

“Wanda came out and gave, very generously, a whole tray of lollies and the kids were over the moon about that,” adds John.

John speaks with Chorus customer Margaret

John speaks with Chorus customer Margaret

Customers Margaret and Audrey are full of praise for John and Paul’s work in their garden.

Margaret’s neighbour saw Margaret struggling in the garden one day and suggested she give Chorus (then Volunteer Task Force) a call.

I think they’re brilliant,” says Margaret.

At Audrey’s house Paul gets stuck into the front garden – weeding between the vincas, roses and geraniums– and John fires up the leaf blower out the back.

Audrey has been in her home for an amazing 70 years and built up great community connections over the years, particularly through sporting activities.

“When the weather’s nice I’ll sit out the back here quite a lot and then I’ll go for walks around the garden,” she says.

“I loved hearing from Audrey and Margaret and…their hospitality, when Judith went out. that just speaks of community,” says Louise.

“Gardening is work – it’s manual work – but it was something a lot richer than that going on in the way that you could hear the guys talking about their day,“ says Dan.

“People have a smaller footprint that they work on. A smaller group of people that they get to know. And those connections that spring up when you work locally.”

Paul hard at work in the garden in front of Chorus ute

Paul hard at work in the garden

Credits

Podcast Hosts: Dan Minchin and Louise Forster

Opening Voiceover: Ryan Burke

Opening Music: “Wattlebird” by Dylan Hatton Music

Interviewees:

John Hatton – Support worker gardening and home maintenance

Paul Forster – Support worker gardening and home maintenance

Margaret

Audrey

Jane Wittenoom – Company Secretary

Producer/Interviewer: Judith Hatton

Executive Producer: Meaghan Ferries

Audio editing: Matthew Clark

Special thanks: Maddie Bull

Mentioned in this episode

Cannington Education Support Centre 

Ep 50: 50 years in the community