Com­mu­nity nurs­ery should get more sup­port

South Western Times - - News - Billy Kerr

YOU do not have to scratch too far be­low the sur­face to find re­ally good peo­ple do­ing re­ally good things for lit­tle or no re­ward and the Leschenault Com­mu­nity Nurs­ery is one of those places.

Con­no­ta­tions of a few of life’s des­per­ates hang­ing around a beat up old tin shed, pot­ting a few gera­ni­ums knocked off from some­one’s back­yard is what springs to mind when you talk com­mu­nity nurs­eries, but you could not be fur­ther from the truth.

The Leschenault Com­mu­nity Nurs­ery is a very so­phis­ti­cated out­fit and for ex­per­tise, knowl­edge and or­gan­i­sa­tion, it runs rings around many other well-funded busi­nesses.

There is much said in the hal­lowed halls of govern­ment about pro­vid­ing the op­por­tu­nity for those a bit less for­tu­nate than oth­ers and those who some­times feel that age may have passed them by.

This nurs­ery pro­vides that op­por­tu­nity and in fact its busi­ness model and its busi­ness prac­tices, both from a train­ing and a staff-sup­port point of view, are an ab­so­lute eye opener.

With­out any fan­fare or fuss they have put to­gether an op­er­at­ing plan that em­braces a very strong and pow­er­ful com­mu­nity obli­ga­tion. It has a char­ter that says it will pro­vide train­ing and op­por­tu­ni­ties for those who may have fallen on hard times, who may have a dis­abil­ity that does dis­crim­i­nate against them or maybe it’s just a bunch of school kids who want to learn more about the won­der­ful world of na­tive plants.

They have a so­cial con­science and very high lev­els of busi­ness acu­men. They are lo­cal, they are not-for-profit, they have ac­cess to high lev­els of ex­pe­ri­ence with na­tive plants and they do it right here on our door step.

We should be show­ing groups like this a per­cent­age of bias and they should get pref­er­en­tial treat­ment when ma­jor environmental jobs like the Koom­bana Bay fore­shore reveg­e­ta­tion comes up.

In fact, a per­cent­age of all govern­ment jobs should go their way and while the com­mer­cial providers will whinge, the long-term com­mu­nity ben­e­fits to be de­rived from this com­mer­cial bias will far out­weigh any neg­a­tives.

The Leschenault Com­mu­nity Nurs­ery does not nec­es­sar­ily need or want to get all its work over the top of the big com­mer­cial nurs­eries. They just want enough work to en­sure they are able to con­tinue to pro­vide a vi­able com­mer­cial op­er­a­tion and on top of that to be able to value add to the im­por­tant work of en­rich­ing the lives of the peo­ple.

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