Mudgee TAFE students and teachers raise money for Barnardos Australia

Helen Doble and her Skills for Employment and Education (SEE) Program students raised $6800 to support Mudgee’s homeless at an art auction on Thursday.

A group of Mudgee TAFE students have eclipsed expectations, raising $6800 for the region’s homeless.

With their own first and second-hand experiences of sleeping rough, the Skills for Employment and Education (SEE) Program students launched a campaign last month to raise awareness and purchase swags through an art auction.

With the help of TAFE teacher Helen Doble, the group collected more than 60 works from local artists with all, bar two, selling at Thursday’s event.

“The students have learnt so much,” Ms Doble said.  

“It’s an event where we’ve learnt a lot about each other, it’s made our class closer and given and insight into each other’s backgrounds.

“They were gobsmacked ... for them to know they have been able to raise money for services they’ve used or may use in the future.”

Money raised will go directly to Mudgee’s Specialist Homeless Service for the purchase of swags and the remainder to assist with emergency and temporary accommodation.

“This campaign wasn’t about being critical, it was about ways to find a solution,” Ms Doble said.  

“In rural centres homelessness is very hush hush, people are embarrassed by it.”

Stigma still surrounds the issue and during set up for the event one passer-by commented that homelessness is a choice.

“A lot of other factors go into it,” Ms Doble said.

Barnardos Australia’s acting program manager for Mudgee, Kate Cormie said the money raised could buy almost 100 swags.

“It was a fantastic night it was so good, a huge credit to everyone involved,” Ms Cormie said.

“It will give the service a huge boost,” she said.   

In addition to money raised for the Mudgee Specialist Homeless Service $200 was collected at the door for the Nepal Earthquake appeal.

(This article first appeared in the Mudgee Guardian and was written by Elle Watson.)