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Bright Smile tops the NZ Gardener Awards

Thames Community Gardners win the country's top gardening prize

Two gardeners who strived to create the most inclusive community garden in New Zealand have been named Gardena Gardeners of the Year 2017.

Rebekah Manley-Campbell and Samantha Claire work at the Bright Smile Community Garden in the Coromandel town, which is managed and run by the Supported Lifestyle Hauraki Trust, an organisation set up to care for people with a wide range of physical and mental challenges. 

As the duo are keen to ensure the garden is a welcoming place for everyone, they make sure that there is something here for everyone – whatever their interest or ability, young or old.

Lifestyle clients who come to the garden for working sessions and social occasions are able to learn about gardening, harvest food they have helped to grow, and interact with other community members. "Instead of being marginalised and ostracised as happened in the past, they are welcomed and valued by the gardening community," Samantha explains. 

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