Helping to nurture green thumbs at Westside Playcentre


The families of Westside Playcentre in Masterton are slowly finding their green thumbs thanks to the help of the Fonterra Grass Roots fund.

Using the first part of their grant the centre purchased native shrubs and grasses as well as mulch and bark to create gardens around the building which would be easy to care for and help educate the children about New Zealand plants.

The planting was done by families from the centre during a weekend working bee and Playcentre spokesperson Anna Baird said it was lovely to see everyone getting involved.

“The kids especially got super involved. We had tiny wee ones pushing wheelbarrows and pulling mulch out of bags.”

The Playcentre then used the second part of their grant to buy wood and seeds to create several low veggie beds to encourage the kids to get involved in growing their own food.

Anna says the two projects have been a real learning curve not just for the children but also for their families.

“At the beginning no one wanted to take charge of the project because people said they didn’t know anything about gardening, but then everyone got stuck in and, along with the planting, people started sharing their knowledge.  It’s been a real learning for the community and we hope that now our families will be less afraid to try growing things at home.”

Anna says it’s not just the planting which will benefit the families.

“The vegetables we grow will be used during our Playcentre cooking sessions so the kids will be able to see the whole process from seeds to plate.”

Fonterra’s Global Sponsorship Manager Kane Silcock says the Grass Roots Fund supports initiatives like the one at Westside Playcentre that enrich people’s lives and benefit their community.

“It’s our way of supporting projects and ideas that bring our communities together and make them better, safer and more vibrant places to be. It’s a way to say thanks to the people of New Zealand.”