Alister Henskens portrait
Alister Henskens portrait

Wahroonga Electorate Seniors Volunteers

Seniors Local Achievement Awards

9 May 2024


Mr ALISTER HENSKENS (Wahroonga) (16:59): Our local seniors make an invaluable contribution to our community. In the Wahroonga electorate, we are fortunate to have many active seniors in the volunteering space. Seniors give their time and energy each week to help many different organisations across the community. Recently I recognised some of those seniors with a 2024 Local Achievement Award. They have all been volunteers in great community organisations in my electorate that I am very familiar with. Two of the seniors recognised at that ceremony were Frank Bradley and Marie Gately. Both have served Hornsby Cathedral Parish for a long time, with Frank joining the parish in 1973. He has served the parish for over 50 years. The parish does incredible outreach in our community, especially helping to feed people living rough on the streets of Hornsby.

Another person who was recognised with a Local Achievement Award was Rosanne Petters. Rosanne volunteers for Lifeline Harbour to Hawkesbury Sydney, which has many volunteers from the Wahroonga electorate in the local call centre at Gordon. Rosanne initially joined Lifeline Harbour to Hawkesbury Sydney as a volunteer telephone crisis supporter, before being appointed as a training manager in 2006. Rosanne has trained and mentored hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of crisis supporters. She is described as dedicated, committed and warm, with much experience and knowledge that she passes on to other wonderful, selfless volunteers.

William "Bill" Soper was recognised for his dedicated volunteering at Computer Pals for Seniors, which has offices in Turramurra that I have attended on a number of occasions. Bill is the current vice president and treasurer, was club president for seven years and has been committed to educating seniors in our community on the use of their electronic devices. He was also a very handy cricketer in his younger years. Bill is described as passionate, enthusiastic and as having unquestionable dedication to the group.

Another volunteer who was recognised with a Local Achievement Award from Computer Pals was Dorothy Soper. Dorothy joined the club as a volunteer teacher all the way back in 2007. She has continued to work enthusiastically with seniors, helping them become more confident in the use of mobile phones and tablets. She has been a member of the committee and the club secretary, while being responsible for the organisation of classes, tutorial staff and specialised sessions targeting students with learning difficulties. Both Dorothy and Bill have served our local seniors so generously and have enabled them to learn new skills for many years.

Ian Stuart from Easy Care Gardening received a Local Achievement Award for volunteering for 1,442 hours—or 450 days—in the gardens of older clients. Easy Care Gardening assists the elderly and other people with disability to live independently within their own homes, and offers friendly company while they do it. Ian has also been volunteering at Lifeline since 2006. He joined Rotary in 2013 and has helped with numerous fundraisers, including the Bobbin Head Cycle Classic and Joey Joy Flight, which provides life‑changing flight experiences for children living with disabilities and children from less privileged backgrounds. He also hosts a local program on community radio called Rotary Matters. Ian has been a wonderful volunteer within our community for many years, and I am incredibly grateful for the way he has generously served the area.

An organisation that was recognised for its ongoing support for vulnerable members of the community was KNC, formerly known as the Ku-ring-gai Neighbourhood Centre. I had the privilege of working closely with KNC during the pandemic, as the need for volunteer services grew during that time. KNC has grown and expanded over time with the help of its incredible CEO, Michele Bell. Michele Bell is the 2024 Ku-ring-gai Citizen of the Year, which was announced at this year's Australia Day ceremony. KNC works with a number of other organisations such as the Women's Shed, Meals on Wheels, Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Multicultural Network and Hills Domestic Violence Prevention Network. Robert Morley from KNC has also been a dedicated volunteer and received a Local Achievement Award. Robert has been described as respectful, kind, empathetic and always ready to help the community.

Anna Struthers received a Local Achievement Award for serving the community for over 30 years at KNC. Anna assists with driving and working with KNC's social group programs. Anna has also been working with multicultural communities and coordinating English as a second language classes. She is a member of the KNC board and is described as compassionate and thoughtful. I am thankful for each and every one of the volunteers at KNC who have provided support to the vulnerable members of our community, particularly during the challenging pandemic. I thank everyone who volunteers in the many local organisations in the Wahroonga electorate. We have such a wonderful community of people who are always willing to put their hands up to help others in need, and I was incredibly happy to recognise some of them recently.