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Endeavour Foundation supported employees in Toowoomba are hoping community groups and other locals will be inspired to help them pick a field of flowers ahead of Mother’s Day.
Toowoomba’s Girl Guides are already planning to lend a hand, when the chrysanthemums are in full flower and ready for harvest in the coming weeks.
Damien Stower, a supported employee at Endeavour Foundation Industries Toowoomba, helped to plant the 2000 chrysanthemum bulbs last November and has been involved in looking after the crop.
“They’re growing so fast,” Damien said.
They’re growing at such a rate in fact that General Manager of Commercial Operations Andrew Donne said Endeavour Foundation may have to start the harvest early.
“The bulbs were planted to harvest for sale on Mother’s Day, but depending on when the blooms open we may have to start the harvest a few weeks ahead of schedule,” Mr Donne said.
“The supported employees have done an excellent job of raising the plants from bulbs, but it’s our first time growing flowers here for Mother’s Day, so it’s hard for us to predict when flowering will begin. We’ll just have to wait and see,” he said.
Endeavour Foundation has managed crops of chrysanthemums in Bundaberg for 25 years but this is the first time the organisation has brought the project to Toowoomba.
“Growing and harvesting chrysanthemums is one of the many ways we have been able to involve the local community – and offer meaningful employment for people with a disability – in Bundaberg, and we are excited about bringing the project to Toowoomba,” he said.
Mr Donne said community involvement would be crucial for success, and this was an important reason Endeavour Foundation had decided to grow chrysanthemums locally.
“Any profits we make will help us to provide services and support for more than 3350 people with a disability throughout Queensland and in Sydney.
“We rely on innovative commercial enterprises like the chrysanthemum harvest to continue our services, but there will also be a unique chance for schools and community groups to work alongside people with a disability at harvest time,” Mr Donne said.
For many years Endeavour Foundation has enjoyed wonderful support from generous private donors and businesses in the Darling Downs region. Mr Donne hopes local businesses will also consider allowing staff to volunteer a day to join the harvest, providing them the opportunity to “walk a mile in the shoes of someone with a disability”.
“It’s definitely a large community event in Bundaberg, and we want to develop the same level of involvement here in Toowoomba,” Mr Donne said.
For more information on volunteering for the chrysanthemum harvest call Endeavour Foundation on 3908 7257 or visit www.endeavour.com.au
Patrick Pollock, Media and Communications Officer
T: 0429 065440