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Meet Zoe Ryan and Anne Pratt

17 May 2023

In this edition of the ‘Meet our Partners’, we’re getting two for the price of one with Zoe Ryan, Assistant Manager and Anne Pratt, Manager, from HOME in Queanbeyan (HOME). HOME provides long-term accommodation in a loving and caring environment for people living with an enduring mental illness who are at risk of homelessness.

Zoe and Anne are both long-time Queanbeyan locals and pillars of the community with the work they do, and we’re privileged to be part of this initiative. So, without further ado, let’s meet the two.

What is your name?

Zoe Ryan (Assistant Manager) and Anne Pratt (Manager).

How long have you been in Queanbeyan and what do you love about it?

Anne I have been in Queanbeyan for 36 years. Queanbeyan has a caring community which I love being a part of.

Zoe I have lived in the Queanbeyan area for 25 years. I love the country feel that Queanbeyan has and always running into someone you know when you are out and about.

How would you describe HOME in Queanbeyan?

HOME provides a long-term home for 20 people living with an enduring mental illness. Each resident lives in a self-contained unit in a safe, loving, and non-institutional setting. HOME provides lunch each day cooked by volunteers. Residents come together to enjoy a meal, good conversation, and friendship. We encourage residents to have active and fulfilling lives within their community.

Why did you get into it?

Anne My husband Bernie lived with a mental illness for many years. Caring for him gave me a great understanding of the struggles people face each day. At the same time, I was working for a local GP who had a great heart for the most vulnerable, many who were living with a mental illness. Within this role, I realized that working with people like this was where my passion lay. When HOME was first mentioned to me by the Founder Fr. Peter Day, I jumped at the opportunity to be involved, and I am still here 19 years later feeling privileged every day.

Zoe I was working in the public service and not really enjoying the role, it lacked meaning to me. After volunteering in the community and realizing working with people was more aligned with my values, I started studying community services. I had some great jobs before coming to HOME, and within one of those roles, I worked with people at HOME in a psychosocial support capacity. HOME made sense in so many ways, and I could see the benefit to the community, residents, and their families. I feel very privileged to have joined the HOME family 3 years ago.

What do you love about it?

HOME is first and foremost a loving place and a place of friendship. We love the residents, the team of staff and volunteers, and building relationships within the community. No day is the same working at HOME; we get to walk alongside residents through their highs and lows.

What would you tell someone who has a family member or close friend with a serious mental illness?

Mental illness exists and can affect anyone, and it is no one’s fault. Support them to find the right supports, which may take many phone calls and lots of time. Keep in touch and let them know that you care.

What would you tell someone who doesn’t know anyone with a serious mental illness?

They probably do but may not know! However, it is likely that they will come across someone within their lifetime that they care about and who will be diagnosed with a serious mental illness. Being prepared by doing a Mental Health First Aid Course and suicide prevention training would be beneficial.

For anyone thinking about donating or volunteering with HOME in Queanbeyan, what would you say to them?

HOME does not receive any recurrent government funding; once rents are received, a further $350,000+ p/a is required. HOME relies on the community to provide both practical and financial support. If anyone is interested, contact us either by phone or email, and we will make a time for you to see HOME, meet residents, and talk about what we do.

Next Article

Meet Robyn Martin