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Gardening has many calming effects and is a constructive coping mechanism for Thomas, 50, who attends our Connections Centre in Tweed.


Growing up in Western Sydney, Thomas has always felt compelled to work outdoors in nature.
“I used to work in council parks in North Sydney, and every day my office was outdoors by the Harbour. I would listen to all the unique birds and feel relaxed from the nature sounds. I stopped working outdoors when I was diagnosed with Schizo-effective disorder”, says Thomas.


Life tossed a few hurdles at Thomas as he learned to navigate his new diagnosis and figure out what support he needed to assist with his mental health journey. After spending some time in a hospital in Sydney, he decided to get in contact with his relative in Tweed Heads who encouraged him to make a move up north in 2016.

After a short time, Tom became unwell again and returned to the hospital. The outdoors’ passionate man was referred to Momentum’s Connection Centre by his case manager at the Tweed hospital in 2017.

The moment he started coming to the Connections Centre, his desire and passion for gardening returned!

“When I joined Connections, we didn’t have a veggie garden, and until recently, Wayne Moore, Momentum’s Senior Coordinator at Connections built wooden garden beds. I helped put the soil in, and planting the different vegetables was a communal effort.”

“Every week, a new vegetable is popping up. We have eggplants, lettuce, beetroots, broccoli, snow peas, celery, and other herbs. The garden is like a little treasure. You find something and eat it.”

Thomas used to love growing his own vegetables in his younger years and dedicated time to learning the art of horticulture. This found hobby keeps him busy and has given Thomas a renewed sense of purpose!

“Some days, when I feel more relaxed, I participate in a meditation group or have a coffee and catch up with others. On other days, when I am not feeling overly social, I spend time in the garden. For me, gardening is my therapy.”

Since finding his love for gardening again, Thomas’ motivation to wake up and attend our Connections Centre has changed from stopping by once in a fortnight, to twice a week! Focusing his energy on staying outdoors and in the garden has improved his outlook and overall well-being.

“I get joy seeing others at the Connections Centre water the vegetable patch and flowers. I want to encourage my peers to participate more in the communal outdoor area, as frequent gardening profoundly affects your emotional and physical health.”

“I look forward to coming to the Connections Centre every week and seeing a new flower or vegetable has grown. It brightens my week.” – Momentum Collective Client, Tom
If you like to participate in therapeutic social and community activities, our tailored Day-to-Day Living program is perfect for you.