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nib celebrates funding grant for Bourke Community Garden

Group of representatives at the Bourke Community Garden Launch
  • nib, REDI.E and partners celebrate $300,000 nib foundation funding, at Bourke Community Garden

  • nib partnership with local organisations will result in two paid positions, including a Bourke-based graduate placement

nib foundation today announced a $300,000 grant to REDI.E, Bourke’s Aboriginal-led employment provider, to manage and revitalise the Bourke Community Garden. The grant anchors a three-year project that will provide two employment opportunities and turn a former commercial nursery into a thriving hub for Bourke’s community.

nib foundation is part of the nib Group (ASX: NHF). The foundation, which was established in 2008, provided $6.6 million in funding in FY23 to charity partners and community groups across Australia.

nib foundation Board member, Ros Toms, said: “At the heart of nib’s business is fostering healthy communities, which includes focusing on population health programs and enabling access and equity. We are very committed to having a community impact that aligns with better health and wellbeing for Australians and New Zealanders.” Ms Toms is responsible for Sustainability and Community at nib and is also nib Group’s Chief Executive, Legal and Chief Risk Officer.

Bourke’s Community Garden celebration is the culmination of consultation and collaboration with Bourke’s local residents and community groups. nib is working with REDI.E, and the Bourke Aboriginal Corporation Health Service (BACHS), Ms Toms said.

Apart from seasonal fruit and vegetable harvests, the garden will provide employment, including a graduate placement. It will host the continued involvement of the University of Sydney architecture and dietitian students, as part of their University placements, and advisers from Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens, who spend time in the garden annually, and who have provided advice on increasing yield, pest control, soil enrichment and the structure of garden beds. Recently, Bourke’s local fishing club donated inedible carp, caught during the town’s 2023 river fishing competition, which established test mounds for fish fertiliser for the vegetable beds. Landcare and Greening Australia have held community workshops at the garden that have been well-attended.

“Over time, we hope to see a broad range of outcomes from the garden,” Ms Toms said. “Community engagement, better understanding of nutrition and the value of fresh food and vegetables, and health literacy, which can come from workshops held at the garden. We’d be delighted to see school children come and visit the garden during holidays or after-school cooking or gardening classes. All of this is possible and we hope will have a positive impact on the Bourke community.”

Garden site manager, Gavin Gibbs, said: “Employing a full-time garden coordinator will help us lift yield. We hope to be able to offer fresh food and vegetables to more than 20 families, on a regular, seasonal basis. Other goals include inviting local groups to visit the garden – senior citizens, people with a disability, children, anyone who wants that connection and learning. Community members are also welcome to come along to the garden and work their own plot.”

The funding and operation of the Bourke Community Garden is collaborative, with contributions from a range of sources. nib foundation Executive Officer, Amy Tribe, said wide community support for the garden made the decision to provide funding an easy one.

“The garden has already enjoyed the support of local organisations including BACHS, North West Academic Centre, (NWAC) and Landcare Western NSW, in the form of skills, expertise, in-kind resources and donations of garden materials.”

NWAC enables university allied health students to deliver community education programs as part of their placement in Bourke.

About nib foundation

nib’s funding commitment will run from June 2023 to June 2026 and is part of the Aboriginal Health Partnerships program, which supports community-owned health initiatives.

The foundation’s partnerships focus on long and short- term projects that have at their core prevention and better health outcomes. Linking the foundation with nib Group’s sustainability charter, which includes nib’s vision for the better health and wellbeing of all Australians and New Zealanders, helps guide nib’s giving.

The foundation’s other work includes Prevention Partnerships that invest in programs to tackle risky health behaviour like vaping or excessive drinking; poor diet or lack of exercise. nib foundation has also provided funds to organisations that support mental health programs, and medical research.

Guests at the garden celebration on October 25, include: nib’s Ms Toms and Mrs Tribe; Mr Gavin Gibbs and Mr Peter Gibbs – CEO, REDI.E; Mr John Fetuani - CEO, BACHS; Prof Brendan McCormack – Head of School and Dean, University of Sydney; Ms Charlene Noye, NWAC.

Visit nib foundation at

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