Dreaming project in the Bega Valley

Article image - Dreaming project in the Bega Valley Community members enjoy the Children’s Dreaming Garden.

The new Children’s Dreaming Garden in Bega Valley Shire Council, on the south coast of NSW, has been delivered thanks to thorough community consultation and collaboration.

Responding to a community desire for an upgrade to the Endeavour Park in the Eden social housing estate, the project is a powerful example of what can be achieved when a community works together towards a common goal.

Just months ago the ageing and uninspiring Endeavour Park playground sat as an underutilised Council asset.

Now, it is an activated space that features new play equipment, a small basketball court, new paths, a water tank and drinking fountain, food forest and a modified bus shelter.

Driven by Bega Valley Shire Council’s Eden Place Based Officer, Sarah Davis, alongside local residents, the Children’s Dreaming Garden project was funded through a NSW Department of Family and Community Services grant and involved the local primary and secondary schools, Eden Local Aboriginal Land Council, Twofold Bay Aboriginal Corporation, Aboriginal Education Consultative Committee and many other companies and groups.

“The children and young people who would be using the space played a significant role in the design. Their desires were the catalyst for the vision,” said Ms Davis.

“Our place for playing, exploring, performing, growing, tasting caring, sharing, healing, resting, making art and craft and gathering together really sums up what the project is all about.”

The involvement of the town’s youth continued through the development and construction phase.

The Eden Marine High School incorporated the Children’s Dreaming Garden into the 2017 curriculum for Agriculture and Design and Technology.

Many other community members were involved in the construction phase, with the Eden Local Land Council work crew chipping in to help build pathways and garden beds.

The park is now being enjoyed by young and old alike, with local artists working with children and families on murals, the next stage in the design.

Feedback from the community has been overwhelmingly positive.
Similar examples of best practice community engagement have occurred across the Shire and have resulted in the strengthening of local leadership and the increased success of community driven projects.