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Parklea green thumbs win for fourth straight year

Parklea Correctional Centre has again been recognised in this year’s Blacktown City Garden Competition, receiving awards in two categories.

The winning team, led by Horticultural Overseers Sanjeev Kumar and Fetaitai Patiole, received the top gong for Best Edible Garden – Other and second place for Best Community Garden.

This is the fourth year Parklea has entered the competition and has received at least one award each time.

To create award-winning gardens and grow edible plants, Sanjeev and Fetaitai enlisted the help of about 18 inmates. The program is designed to teach inmates valuable skills and they can earn a Cert II in Horticulture to improve their chances of employment when they leave prison.

The inmates are also helping those in the community doing it tough by growing salad mix, which includes lettuces and rocket, for donation to Australian charity Foodbank.

Sanjeev said receiving the awards motivated the team to maintain their high standards and gave the inmates a sense of achievement and pride in their work. 

“The program helps with inmate rehabilitation and reduces re-offending through new skills they can take out into the community and put to good use,” Sanjeev said.

“We are going to reward the inmates with a barbecue to celebrate their success.”

Seventy-five properties entered this year’s Blacktown City Garden Competition. They were assessed on design, construction, maintenance and sustainability.