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Clucky new residents settle in at Linwood Resource Centre

A long-overdue upgrade at a Christchurch community centre will mean the end of hit-and-miss garden watering – and the welcoming of seven clucky new residents.


Linwood Resource Centre operates a large community garden, a toy library, and a workshop, with dozens of volunteers chipping in to grow healthy produce, engage in a bit of DIY, or just meet up with others for a chat.


Community Gardens Coordinator Victoria Nebbeling described the Centre as “a place where people can learn new things and be lifted up to do something for themselves, and where they can feel like they are part of a community.


“I think, with Covid, everyone’s feeling a bit isolated – so having the Centre here where people can come together is great,” Vic said.


“We have preschool groups that come in to grow veges, as well as students from Linwood Ave Primary School, and people with mental and physical disabilities, so we do a lot of good for a lot of people.”

Vic with a group of volunteers.


Vic said that, after starting work at the Centre about a year ago, she knew the garden irrigation system was badly in need of replacement.


“It was a long time coming,” she said. “There was a sprinkler system put in about ten years ago, but it was hardly working, there were leaking pipes and broken bits everywhere and it was missing big patches of the garden.”


The Centre receives funding from various organisations and authorities to take care of their everyday run costs - but for projects above and beyond that, they need extra help.

The gardens of the Linwood Resource Centre.


Vic’s mother, who works for ANZ in Pukekohe, suggested that she apply for funding from the ANZ Staff Foundation.


“We weren’t even sure if we would get it, to be honest,” Vic said, “but we ended up getting $7000 to install the coop and watering system, which was amazing”.


The new sprinkler system is fully automated, turning on in all the right zones at the right time of day, which gives Vic more time to spend on other things – like caring for the centre’s newest residents.

A few of Linwood Resource Centre's new chickens.


The grant helped pay for a chicken coop, which is now home to seven rescue hens adopted from North Canterbury Chicken Rescue – Lolly, Dolly, Dusty, Tory, Tina, Minnie and Nuggets.


“If you’re raising an eyebrow at ‘Nuggets’ – some of the names were chosen by local students,” Vic laughs.


 “The chickens are such a good addition to the garden, because they produce natural fertiliser, as well as eggs.


“They’re still settling in, and we’ve had a few eggs, but we think they’ll start producing more once they get more comfortable in their surroundings.”


Vic says places like the Resource Centre give Linwood an alternative gathering spot, rather than the nearby shopping centre, which is home to multiple fast food outlets.


“It’s definitely a lower socio-economic area, and the sense of community we try to provide here, I think, makes a big difference in people’s lives,” Vic said.


The fresh food produced at the centre is distributed among volunteers, as well as being used to stock a well-used ‘free kai’ box for the local community.

The ever-popular free kai box outside Linwood Resource Centre.


Many of the people who visit the centre are retirees, but Vic says they are working on ways to attract younger generations as well.


“On the last Saturday of every month, we either do a working bee or a workshop, and we find they tend to bring in different people, and younger people, because they’re coming in for a purpose and to learn something new,” she said.


“We’ve got new workshops coming up on compost making and mushroom growing – so there’s a bit of something for everyone.”



Arts for health and friendship

Arts For Health which runs creative workshops and wellness sessions has received a grant from the ANZ Staff Foundation.