Improving the lives of disadvantaged people

An innovative not-for-profit called Training Employment Accommodation Mentoring Inc. (TEAM) has begun works to activate such a sight, with a myriad of benefits to the community and surrounding landscape. TEAM is a not-for-profit Registered Training Organisation that assists people with a disability. In 2016, TEAM expressed interest in using an area of Melbourne Waters Sydenham pipe track in the municipality of Melton. The vision is to build a garden and nursery through a program offering job-ready horticultural training, developing skills in indigenous gardening and urban agriculture.

The municipality of Melton in Melbourne’s west has one lowest proportions of public open space of any municipality in Melbourne . Accessible public open space is an integral element of a liveable neighbourhood. It supports health and wellbeing by providing a platform for recreation and social meeting places. Public open space also enhances the resilience of our neighbourhoods by creating environments that cool the micro-climate and provide habitats for fauna.

Opening up underutilised land previously zoned off to utilities is a way that neighbourhoods can increase their proportion of public open space. Below Melbourne Waters Sydenham pipe track is an important water supply for the western suburbs. However above ground is an unused linear strip of land. With support of Melton City Council and careful planning between TEAM and Melbourne Water, water supplies will be protected while encouraging a sense of community.

TEAM have been granted a license to use the site for their social enterprise. Mat Mason, Training Manager at TEAM said “Thanks to this licensing agreement with Melbourne Water, TEAM will run a series of programs utilising a strip of otherwise idle land that will touch the lives of hundreds of disadvantaged people from Melbourne’s western suburbs. It is a place where people from a diverse range of community groups will come together to participate in and learn about urban horticulture and sustainability.”

TEAM expressed interest for this land using the web-based portal Our Place Your Space, through the Melbourne Water website. Our Place Your Space is designed to help people find details of available land and express their interest in using it for community benefit. As the custodian of over 33,000 hectares of land across greater Melbourne, the vision is for more groups just like TEAM to create healthy places across Melbourne Waters land.