Bardi Jawi woman Maureen Angus who championed the need for services in her small town of 300 people has been named Western Australia’s highest achieving senior at the WA Seniors Awards.
Seniors and Volunteering Minister Tony Simpson said Maureen Angus, a Bardi Jawi woman from Ardyaloon, was a tireless advocate for the remote Kimberley town’s older people, founding its first community care service.
Previously lacking access to vital support services, Ardyaloon’s seniors can now receive help with organised care, transport, shopping, domestic duties and paying bills. They attend outings and the centre established by Maureen has become a hub of activity.
Presenting Ms Angus with the 2014 Juniper WA Seniors Champion Award, Mr Simpson said her determination had a lasting impact on the small Aboriginal community, beyond the establishment of a care service.
“Maureen’s outstanding work has meant the town’s older people no longer have to travel hundreds of kilometres to access care services, which is vital for their health and wellbeing. Most importantly, Maureen’s commitment has ensured that seniors’ voices are heard and they can now contribute to the decisions affecting them,” he said.
The other winners are:
Bendigo Bank Community Senior Award
Val Firmin, 71, from Jurien Bay
An instructor of low-impact fitness classes for more than 20 years, Jurien Bay resident
Val Firmin encourages seniors to stay healthy, active and socially engaged. Her aerobics classes bring fun and fitness to seniors in the community. She showed incredible dedication to her role. When Val recently retired from her fitness role, she provided a replacement instructor for her classes, and helped establish a walking group. Val is a much-loved member of the community. She has gained the respect of not only the seniors, but also the many local sporting and recreation groups.
Intergenerational Senior Award
Dr Janet Fletcher, 68, from Subiaco
Dr Fletcher is a volunteer coaching convener with Orienteering WA and has had a tremendous impact on the organisation, showing the skill and wisdom seniors can contribute to a sporting community. She has drawn on her professional qualifications in psychology and coaching to develop an intergenerational coaching approach, pairing senior coaches with junior competitors. The idea helped older orienteers develop their coaching skills and addressed the challenge of encouraging more juniors to get involved in the sport. Coaches have risen to the intergenerational challenge thanks to Jan’s inspiring leadership, support and strategic thinking.
Age Friendly Communities Local Government Award
City of Cockburn
The City of Cockburn has a long standing commitment to involve seniors in planning an age-friendly community. Over 10 years, the city has developed an age-friendly strategic plan and consulted seniors for its Seniors Strategic Planning Framework. It founded a regional seniors group made up of local seniors groups and clubs and, in 2009, opened a seniors’ centre. The city has supported seniors to remain living in their community for longer with projects that allow smaller and more affordable dwellings.
Age Friendly Organisation Award
Seniors Social Space Ellenbrook Seniors Inc
Established in 2011 with help from the City of Swan, the Social Space provides a safe welcoming place that seniors can call their own. Run by seniors, for seniors, the space provides information about services, events and activities and connects seniors with local interest and hobby groups. It organises intergenerational activities, runs workshops and hosts guest speakers. The space has brought friendship, fun and hope into the lives of many seniors who might otherwise feel lonely and isolated.