‘We want to offer a place of belonging so people feel at home.’ We are talking to Jaki Tidmas of Urban Seed, a community development organisation that operates in Norlane. Urban Seed is focused on the idea that everybody needs a place to belong, no matter what their circumstances. It has existed for over 20 years and also operates in Melbourne.
‘A lot of people experience disadvantage in our neighbourhood, but we want to tell the most positive stories to bring hope and transformation. Our staff all live locally, we are part of the community and we share resources with other great organisations in the area. It’s all about working together and connectedness.’
Urban Seed facilitates ‘The Longroom Community’ where people come to create a sense of belonging. The Longroom community offers many great programs, including The Monday Night Meal. This is open to all neighbours, kids and all. We also run the Men’s Breakfast, as well as a community garden which is great for horticultural therapy.
‘We also have the People’s Pantry which is a food bank cooperative. This is where we are helping to feed each other. There is a $10 admin fee to be a member for six months then all the food is free. We ask that members volunteer twice a month so they are also contributing to the neighbourhood.
We hold monthly family nights where we meet at local parks. This is an opportunity to support each other and have fun as families. We promote safety, peaceful parenting, inclusion and understanding. We’re starting up a playgroup called Bookworms which will have a pop up library and be literacy-based. This will be held in the Longroom on Thursdays from 11-12.
‘We also run the Unearth Training Program where we train neighbourhood leaders. We’re really proud of what we do. We have four live-in residential volunteers who work for three days a week and in return we pay their rent and bills so everyone benefits. Volunteering is so good for the soul.’
Another volunteer, Stuart Downie, tells us, ‘I began volunteering with Urban Seed just after the Chapel burnt down. The Community response to this action was one of grace and humanity. They responded with forgiveness and love which I really admired. At Urban Seed we are at the very core of the neighbourhood, where community starts to happen. We had a local resident who came in with lots of bread, so much that we couldn’t take it all. She took up the initiative to deliver it locally to those in need within her neighbourhood’
www.urbanseed.com/norlane making a difference in our community. Join us for a meal Monday nights, come volunteer and participate with us, become part of the change.