August 15, 2011

Global Action Lived Locally: A Case Study from NSW Australia

Mamre programme in NSW Australia is an example of how the Sisters of Mercy are taking their vision on Cosmology and translating it into practical action to support marginalised sections of the community.

Mamre Homestead - St Marys NSW Australia

Mamre Plains Ltd is a community work programme of the Sisters of Mercy, Parramatta providing training and employment services to youth at risk, people with a disability, people returning to the workforce, and refugees.

Mamre Homestead, built c1820s, was the home of the colonial chaplain, magistrate and pastoralist, the Reverend Samuel Marsden. It was the working farmhouse of a busy rural property, a model farm which included orchards, exotic pasture and other crops.

Located on over 1,000 acres, Mamre was also home to the famous Merino flocks which made Marsden a pioneer in the Australian wool industry. See more about the History of Mamre.

Mamre Vision Statement

A place of promise where individuals are enabled to realize their potential and to participate in the community.“

Mamre Mission Statement

At Mamre Mercy values are embraced and an environment is created which:

  • Identifies and responds to emerging community needs
  • Encourages enterprise and innovation
  • Adopts holistic methods and approaches
  • Respects and values the contributions of staff and volunteers
  • Develops skills and expertise of staff
  • Foster partnerships

Mamre Supported Employment Programme

In 1992 Mamre began to provide a programme for people with a disability creating work crew employment opportunities in a supportive group atmosphere.

This supportive business service provides training and industry work skills experience in nursery and grounds maintenance services to Mamre Homestead and the wider community.

Mamre Garden Services

Mamre Garden project

Mamre Garden Service is a supported employment service funded by the Department of Family and Community Services. The service provides people with a disability employment and training opportunities in horticultural skills that are transferable within the industry.

The service began operating in 1992 and provides employment for up to twenty-one people. Employees maintain the grounds surrounding the lovely homestead for the community’s enjoyment.

A wide range of plants from the nursery are available for sale on-site during opening hours, at regular Plant Sales during the year and at the Mamre Festival held on the third Sunday each October.

The business offers a wide range of garden services to customers. These include mowing; removal of all clippings; edging; garden makeovers - weeding, planting, application of fertilizers, pruning and mulching of existing or new gardens.

The business also holds mowing and gardening contracts with local businesses and community organizations.

The business operates a plant nursery on the grounds producing plants from seedlings, cuttings and tube stock. When mature, these plants are:

  • Sold through sales outlets.
  • Used in beautification around the property.
  • Used to service gardening contracts.

Mamre Sudanese Refugee Programme

 Sudanese mother and child in Mamre programme

In response to an emerging need in the local area and at the request of a number of agencies, Mamre has engaged in a programme to assist in the resettlement of Sudanese refugee families.

The programme commenced in 2004 just one day a week. During 2006 the old "Shed" was refurbished with the assistance of Federal funding through GROW ACC and numerous other donations from Government, Business and Industry. The Beranga Ngurring Training Centre was opened on 4 April 2007 and classes are held for Sudanese women 4 days per week. In 2006/7 computer and cleaning courses were held in the evening for the Sudanese men.

Five catholic Parishes support the programme through members who volunteer as literacy tutors, creche workers and bus drivers.

Around 24 Sudanese women with approximately thirty four small children are currently participating in a special programme that runs four days a week at Mamre.

The programme for the women includes the following:

  • English literacy
  • Survival skills for living in Australia
  • Cooking
  • Gardening
  • Driver Safety
  • Child Care / Parenting
  • Health Issues
  • Vocational Training


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