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A community garden project in Kadina has won the annual SA Healthy Towns Challenge award for their outstanding efforts in promoting health and wellbeing within the community.

Led by Kadina Memorial School in partnership with SOS Copper Coast Suicide Prevention Network and Copper Coast Council, the Sowing the Seeds of Resilience project was awarded funding as part of the third round of Wellbeing SA’s Healthy Towns Challenge.

The space offers a natural garden environment with vegetable beds, an area for native bush foods and meeting spaces to encourage social connection and support, both of which are key protective factors against suicide.

Lyn Dean, Chief Executive Wellbeing SA said, “I congratulate Kadina Memorial School and the wider Kadina community on their achievement as part of the third round of the SA Healthy Towns Challenge.

“In regional areas, community organisations play a vital role in supporting their residents to engage with and support each other, be active and eat well.

“It’s very encouraging to see the positive impact the garden has had on the local community, so far we’ve heard visitors describe it as a ‘peace park’ and ‘an ideal space for people to reflect, talk, grieve, and just ‘be’.”

Strong partnerships were forged through the project, with more than 400 people contributing across the community to design, develop, and sustain the garden, including from local organisations, community groups, and Nharangga Elders.

The garden has also been incorporated into the school’s curriculum with students using the garden as a ‘reset’ space, learning to grow vegetables and prepare healthy meals, and reporting a greater sense of purpose since being involved.

Kadina Memorial School Principal, Alistair Williams said “We’re delighted that our garden has been recognised for its contributions to mental health and social connection in the community.

“As a school, the garden is an important outdoor learning environment for our students and creates a space for quiet reflection and wellbeing.

“The development of the area has become a positive and valued asset for our school community and is a place where all students feel a real sense of achievement by contributing to a bigger community project.”

The SA Healthy Towns Challenge is a grants program for regional and rural towns to develop projects that contribute to preventing chronic disease and creating healthy environments within their community. As part of each funding round, one project that supported the greatest improvements in healthier living within their local community based on the criteria is selected as the winner.

Five projects were funded up to $50,000 in the third round of the SA Healthy Towns Challenge, with a total of $249,800 provided to projects across the third round of the program.

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