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THE MEANING OF 'family' goes beyond
the traditional family tree at Mercy
Community Services. For over thirty years,
the centre has been offering a wide range
of services to the community, resulting in
staff, clients and volunteers seeing each
other as more than just people working
together, but as a close family.
The compassionate organisation seeks
to promote the value and quality of
human life, offering a range of flexible
and responsive services to people in
Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and the Lower
The Sisters of Mercy estabilished Mercy
Community Care Service in 1976 at
Toronto. Initially the service provided
nursing care and support with a day
centre added when the service moved
to Tighes Hill. In serving the people
of the Hunter, the Sisters wanted to
respond to people's desire for more
support after hospitalisation and to
enable them to stay healthy and safe in
their own homes.
A lot has improved and developed in the
centre over the years but the mission
remains the same: "to provide holistic
and integrated care within the community
setting to the aged, people with disability,
individuals affected by drug and alcohol
abuse and the socially disadvantaged."
Services and operations have been
able to expand thanks to funding
from a number of Government and
Non-Government Organisations, including
NSW and Australian Governments and
the Sisters of Mercy, Singleton.
Mercy Community Services includes 117
staff members, 130 volunteers and many
clients varying in age and personality.
Workers, volunteers and clients agree
that each individual
at the centre enjoys a
close relationship with
one another regardless
of being a client,
volunteer or worker.
"They are like one of
the family," said client,
Jessie Price. "The
workers do eventually
become a part of
your routine and it
is the same helpers
that visit me each week, naturally we
become very close."
Ms Price is a valued client and close
friend to the people involved at Mercy
Community Services. Workers visit her
home twice weekly offering numerous
services such as transportation, grocery
shopping and the overall upkeep
of her home, including meals and
"When the helpers start to know you
better and what sort of things you like to
buy and how you like things done, it gets
better," affirms Ms Price.
"They become more familiar with who
Activities Officer Vina Staader says that
although some of the members of the
community need the staff, the workers
also depend on the
generous help of
"The volunteers are very
valuable. Some of them
are 86 years old, and
they still come. In fact
the place used to be
run solely by volunteers
until it became too big!"
said Ms Staader.
It would be very hard
for us to operate
without the volunteers."
Luckily there are some very committed
volunteers at Mercy Community Services,
some of them giving generously of their
time and efforts for over twenty years to
Volunteers Bobbie Fraser and Margot
Simmons have been volunteering together
every Thursday for more than ten years
and share a close friendship outside the
centre. Their friendship goes back to
when Bobbie knew Margot's mother who
used to come to the centre.
"They [Mercy] were very kind to my
mother when she was here. I started
volunteering because I wanted to
give back to the people here," said
It is apparent that through the
years, the generous hospitality of
Mercy Community Services has been
maintained. The caring and gentle nature
present within the centre is a quality
that separates Mercy's services from
Some of the other services that Mercy
offers include Parenting Support, Drug &
Alcohol Counselling, Community Nursing,
Foster Grandparents (at the Stockton
Centre), Social Support, Aged Care
Packages, Community Transport as well
as Food and Linen Services.
These diverse services operate from
four sites: Brooks Street West Wallsend;
Union Street, Tighes Hill, with additional
services now moved to the former
Catholic presbytery in Tighes Terrace,
Tighes Hill, and the Foster Grandparents
Program at the Stockton Centre.
For more information P Mercy Community
Services 4961 2686 or visit
By NATALEE MULTARI
Some of them are
86 years old, and
they still come."
Lena (left) and Margaret.
Steven (left)and Ken.
(back) Amy and Sandra
(around table, l-r) Margaret,
Lena, Alma, Andrew,
Shirley and Tyrone.
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