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Offenders pick up tools to build new garden and better future 

Published date: Wednesday 17 July 2019 

[PDF version of this media release]

A new green space, Kempsey Community Garden, is ready for the community to enjoy thanks to a group of offenders who have spent around 140 working days constructing the impressive site next to the railway station.  

More than $21,000 worth of work has gone into building the 16-bed garden, carried out in a joint effort by inmates from Mid North Coast Correctional Centre, and offenders completing community-based orders under the supervision of Kempsey Community Corrections.  

Corrective Services NSW Commissioner Peter Severin said the garden is a wonderful achievement that the offenders can be proud of.  

“For the past six months, staff and offenders have delivered high quality craftsmanship to transform a vacant block of land into a tranquil garden area for commuters and all Kempsey residents to enjoy,” Mr Severin said.  

“The community can come together to relax, eat their lunch, contribute to the garden if they wish, or in due course, enjoy the various fruits, vegetables and herbs that will grow. 

“This project has helped the participants to gain a strong work ethic, and new skills and certificates, such as a White Card, which is required to carry out construction work.” 

Community Corrections Northern District Director, Rod Chenhall, said the garden came to fruition thanks to the help of Transport for NSW and community businesses.  

“This project would not have been possible without Transport for NSW’s generous donation of the land on which the garden was built, as well as two CSNSW employees, Don Wade and Lance Burns,” Mr Chenhall said.  

“These offenders are now better prepared to find employment and reintegrate into the community, while our Kempsey residents have gained a beautiful new outdoor space to enjoy – it’s a win win for everyone.” 

Kempsey Community Corrections will continue to maintain the garden and Manager Damian Baker is hoping the Mid North Coast community will be able to assist with the upkeep.  

“We will also be adding a sensory garden and growing local produce to support various charities across the region and we welcome local groups to get involved,” Mr Baker said.  

Around 50 men constructed the garden beds, pathways, irrigation and landscaping, using 1,400 wheelbarrows of soil, 96 bags of cement, 36 tonnes of road base and 720 bolts and screws.  

The garden on Kemp Street commenced in November and opened to the public last month. 

Offenders supervised by Kempsey Community Corrections provide maintenance and project work to over 15 community-based agencies and more than 20 public sites between Kempsey and Nambucca.