HILTON’S Sasha Wray has won a Bethanie award for her voluntary work with the elderly.
Two years ago, Ms Wray established the Buds and Blooms program at the Hilton harvest community garden.
The program invites old people—some bussed in from local retirement homes—to come down and mingle with primary kids at the vegie patch.
“We have people in their 80s come down and their senses are awakened by just touching and smelling the plants,” says Ms Wray, an occupational therapist.
“They get such a kick out of interacting with the kids and watching them run around—it makes them feel young again.
“We try to make the garden as inclusive as possible and have a young adult in a wheelchair who tends the raised garden beds.
“It’s not just gardening and we do gentle exercise, make art, enjoy music, chat, and share food.
“It’s inter-generational and anyone, any age can come down.”
Ms Wray says the program wouldn’t have been possible without the help of local retired school teacher Fred Matthews, who diligently came down each week to supervise kids and share his “bad” jokes with the retirees.
“He was always by my side, making us laugh,” she says.
Buds and Blooms is held at the community garden, beside Hilton Primary School, every Wednesday from 9.30 to 11.30am.
by STEPHEN POLLOCK