Bamboo Projects: Cultivating community mental health and environmental initiatives

5 min
08 August 2023

Held in August each year, Landcare Week (7-13 August) is an annual celebration acknowledging Australians that are actively restoring, enhancing and protecting the natural environment in their community.

This week, Stockland Aura is therefore proud to shine a light on the important work that local charity Bamboo Projects does through delivery of its environmental initiatives and outdoor therapy activities.

As a registered mental health and disability support charity, run entirely by volunteers, Bamboo Projects provides opportunities for people with mental illness and disabilities to work together to clean up our local waterways, resulting in a wonderful win-win for our community.

Kristy and Chris Paterson, founders of Bamboo Projects.

Thanks to a Stockland CARE Grant, Bamboo Projects was able to deliver a “Cleaning up the Waterways” event, targeting areas around Bokarina Beach, where locals assisted with the clean-up and learned more about the natural environment.

Stockland Aura Senior Environment and Community Development Manager, Mark Stephens said he was delighted that Stockland was able to assist Bamboo Projects to expand the valuable service they deliver.

“At Stockland we know how important it is to look after our waterways, which are the lifeblood of our region,” said Mr Stephens.

“We are proud to support a local charity like Bamboo Projects that helps deliver this essential environmental role, while delivering an invaluable service that has such a positive impact on so many people.”

Kristy Paterson, Bamboo Projects Director said that as a grassroots charity, receiving a Stockland CARE Grant has allowed the organisation to continue to deliver activities and work with the local community to create action to support better mental health.

“The event in Bokarina Beach allowed locals to enjoy being outdoors, connect with others and play their part in enhancing the natural environment by removing marine debris from both the still water and ocean-side areas, as well as cleaning up around the local park,” said Ms Paterson.

“We had our environmental scientist visit the groups during the event to educate them on ways they can recycle the debris they collected and what potential harm these items could do to the environment.

“Stockland’s support has allowed us to expand our activities to new areas, to reach new people and to broaden our clean-up efforts along our beautiful waterways.

“Our events have a real impact on people. One particular story that warmed our hearts at this event was that of a local gentleman who had a stroke 10 years ago and has been too scared to walk on the beach since.

“He really wanted to participate in the clean-up, so our mentors supported him to walk on sand for the first time in a decade to clean up Bokarina Beach. He had very limited speech but continued to pat his chest saying “proud”. Such a heart-warming moment for us all, and a true testament as to how powerful these projects can be.

“Outdoor therapies can be beneficial for not only those struggling with mental illness or physical disabilities, but also anyone in the community who is socially or emotionally isolated.

“Our programs aim to promote social inclusion, community participation and help people to get back in the workforce.
“It’s about helping people with disabilities have access and inclusion to outdoor activities and empowering people with realistic strategies and tools to improve their mental health and build self-confidence too.”

Find out more about Bamboo Projects and how to get involved in their events visit the website or follow them on Facebook @Bambooprojects.