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Fiona Mackenzie and Deb Johnstone, Tasmania

“The stability of being in a CHL property has really helped our health. It gives us peace of mind to know that this will always be our home and that we can enjoy and look after”

 


Deborah Johnstone (Deb) have been CHL residents in Tasmania for over 2 years now. Prior to this Deb and Fee were living in a private rental property for over four years but were forced to leave after they decided to get the medically trained dogs which was a must given their health needs.

“As we are both on pensions we were finding it very hard to find a rental property that we could afford” says Fee. They were registered on the Housing Tasmania waiting list but as they say “we did not expect any miracles as it was known how long the list is. Then one day we got a call from Leonnie. It couldn’t have come at a better time, for the last 7 weeks we had spent time living with Mum and Dad and then were living in a caravan”. What took Deb and Fee with a surprise was the rent they were asked to pay, “what we paid for a fortnight rent in our private rental property we pay over a whole month now”.

Both Deb and Fee suffer from anxiety and depression but Fee also suffers from Claustrophobia and Agoraphobia (fear of small and wide open spaces). Deb is a live-in carer for Fee and they live with their two medical alert dogs Sammy and Lucy. They were keen to get back into the workforce and so they set up a garden business to assist them with their health. “We like being able to work for ourselves because it helps us better manage our health and helps us to get out of the house”. For years Deb and Fee have been recyclers, “we find plants and save them – we are firm believers in recycling for ourselves and others”. They also take cuttings and grow new plants from the cuttings to then sell on to their customers. “This means we can sell plants to our customers a lot cheaper than a nursery”.

They have a beautiful award winning garden that is meticulously cared for and loved. “It’s hard to imagine that a garden can grow this much in this time. It’s our home and being in the garden is so therapeutic”. This year Fee and Deb won prizes in the ‘Best Garden’ and ‘Best Community Garden’ category. For this Fee and Deb got together with their neighbours to work on the shared spaces around the units such as the driveway.

“The stability of being in a CHL property has really helped our health. It gives us peace of mind to know that this will always be our home and that we can enjoy and look after”, says Fiona.

 

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