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Bruce Simmons Centralian of the Year

Bruce Simmons, our spirited Alice Springs Community Garden convenor, has been awarded Centralian of the Year. A wonderful acknowledgement of Bruce’s leadership and commitment to the Garden and community.

Words by Sue Rogers, Communications Manager at Volunteering SA&NT

The Alice Springs Community Garden (the Garden), a project of the Arid Lands Environment Centre, is located at Frances Smith Memorial Park in Alice Springs. The garden is a thriving hub of activity with community gardening, workshops, events and working bees and is run by a volunteer committee under the auspices of the Arid Lands Environment Centre (ALEC).

In semi-retirement, Bruce started volunteering with the Garden, which has been established for seven years. He felt that he could offer both his time and expertise, after nearly forty years of extensive home gardening experience in Alice Springs. He learnt to manage the challenges to make the best of the local weather conditions and resources.

Through volunteering Bruce enjoys meeting new people and developing friendships whilst spreading and encouraging good will. Through his efforts, he is rewarded by seeing the enjoyment it brings to others. The Garden contributes to the health and wellbeing of those that volunteer and those that visit through the sharing of ideas and of course, the fresh, organic and healthy garden produce. “There is such a rich diversity of its members who all foster an interest in gardens and gardening and it is so nice to see younger people getting involved,” said Bruce.

 A long-term volunteer, Bruce said that he felt valued and warmly appreciated for his leadership and commitment to the Garden, so he has stuck at it. “I love the beauty, physicality and natural cycles inherent in gardening and there’s always much to share and learn,” Bruce said.

Bruce utilises his knowledge and skills by expanding individual and community opportunities and capacity. “I like to encourage more organic and sustainable practices, self-reliance and I’m committed to a fairer, sustainable community and a better world,” said Bruce. Bruce’s parents were both active volunteers and his Dad often said ‘if you aren’t a part of the solution, you are a part of the problem!’ – and from that Bruce has always desired a kind and caring world.

“Volunteering expands my scope for taking action and influencing individual and community attitudes, policies and practices, as well as making a practical difference. “I believe that my commitment to inclusive and consensus leadership is well suited to building the relationships, shared commitment and sustainable development critical in volunteer involving organisations,” Bruce said.

This article was first published in Vitality Magazine 2019.

Image credit: Emma Murray, NT News 

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