When Angela was asked what she thought of the community garden at a Willmot Community Hub breakfast, she replied true to her straight-talking nature: “It’s looking pretty shabby”.
Back then, the lawn was dried out with rough and bare patches. Angela envisioned a lush space where community could gather and kids could play — a place Willmot could take pride in.
Monique Perusco, Manager of Jesuit Social Services’ Western Sydney programs, says the way Angela led Willmot staff and volunteers has had an impact beyond a tidier-looking garden. “One day, a few of us were moving huge collections of dried leaves and stalks when we heard Angela yell ‘Drop that now!’. Turns out Angela had been collecting and drying out these bunches for months, after speaking with local women who wanted to use them to weave baskets.” Monique says Angela is a committed volunteer and natural leader: “She has everyone’s deep respect”.
Angela’s greatest joy as a volunteer was reseeding the lawn, watching it grow and maintaining it. In recent months, the Willmot Community Hub has used the garden to gather for community breakfasts, and to run games and activities on the lawn outside children’s vaccination clinics. The Western Sydney team expect the welcoming feel will support greater community engagement as COVID-19 restrictions ease and community programs and events ramp up again.
Angela believes that creating a beautiful space will encourage people to connect with and protect the nature around us. “The Willmot Community Hub and garden is a place that’s ours. That we can be proud of, and that values our local people, bushland and wildlife.”