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Preparing the soil for a new church at Nelson

Preparing the soil for a new church at Nelson

Preparing the soil for a new church at Nelson

5 September 2017

Biopharmaceutical company, AbbVie, recently sent a team to Nelson in north-west Sydney for a corporate volunteering day to help develop a community garden on the site for the new Rouse Hill Region Corps.

By Lauren Martin

A corporate volunteer day recently assisted with the development of a community garden at Nelson, a new suburb of Sydney’s expanding north-west, where The Salvation Army has plans to relocate its Rouse Hill Region Corps.

Not content to sit and wait until their development application for a church building is approved, Rouse Hill Region Corps Leaders, San Holland and son Liam Holland, have begun development of a community garden on the site which sits opposite a greenfields housing estate.

“San and I have always said ... we don’t wait for the church to be built, we’re the church already and we just move the church into where the building is eventually,” says Liam. “We want to create opportunities for people in the community to get together. We’re in one of the fastest growing corridors in Sydney now. Within five kilometres of where we are there are 12 to 15,000 new dwellings.”

With such an influx of people and residential density, Rouse Hill Region Corps’ five-acre rurally-zoned land will be a welcome patch of green and, it’s hoped, a hive of community activity. The community garden is being designed for people of all abilities and is wheelchair friendly. It’s hoped school groups and pre-schools will use it, as well as retired folk, new migrants and anyone with a green thumb or who just wants to connect.

“Part of it is to get people engaged and meeting each other and I think a big key is to remove social isolation from people,” says Liam. “It’s a huge area around our area in the Hills District for domestic violence so it’s also about creating opportunities where our site is a place people will feel secure and safe to come and do things.”

Recently, biopharmaceutical company, AbbVie, sent a team to Nelson for a corporate volunteering day. The corps wanted help to begin creating a series of garden beds. After a day of hard work, the entire project was finished! 

“We had a great day, everyone enjoyed it,” says the AbbVie team leader for the day, Shane Jeffrey, whose skills as a carpenter were a huge asset.

“I was sore for three days! I hadn’t worked that hard for a long time because I’ve been out of the building trade for 10 years,” he says. “But for me, I got a real sense of satisfaction in actually getting it done rather than half-done. Looking back and seeing everyone at the end of the day, we all enjoyed it and loved being able to support you guys and help you guys build your mission and what you’re trying to do.”

The Salvation Army works with companies across Australia, enabling them to offer employees outside-the-norm experiences and challenges, while making a difference.

“The activities and projects that our corporate volunteers undertake assist us in transforming local communities. Likewise, our corporate volunteers tell us that their experience volunteering with us is transformative. By volunteering, they develop greater awareness of social justice issues, and deeper empathy for those experiencing hardship. I see our mission being achieved – both to and through our corporate volunteers,” says Rebecca Hill, Corporate Volunteer Coordinator.

For Shane, being able to partner with the mission of The Salvation Army, even for one day in the year, was hugely uplifting. “One of the things that I really like working for AbbVie is that they give us the opportunity to do this stuff,” he says. “It’s really nice to have the opportunity to go and work with organisations like [The Salvation Army] ... so I’m thankful that we get that opportunity because we probably wouldn’t do these types of things without it.”

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