Cockburn volunteers honoured for community dedication

Outstanding residents and organisations that contribute hours to improving our local community every week – if not every day – have again been recognised at the City of Cockburn’s annual volunteer awards.

At the 2021 awards, three accolades recognise a Volunteer of the Year, a Cockburn Volunteer Organisation of the Year, plus a Mayor’s Volunteer Award, with 53 organisations represented among the 104 nominations.

The title of Volunteer of the Year was awarded to tireless community volunteer Nicola Bagley, member and past chair of South Beach Community Group (SBCG), who also dedicates time to Friends of Hollis Park, Fremantle Animal Hospital, Pet Friendly Freo and Beaconsfield Primary School.

With more than six years spent working hard in the community, Nicola has lobbied hard for many improvements, the least of which is the Barrow Park Playground pump track which was named Australia’s Best Play Space 2020.

As a SBCG member and past chair, she has initiated and overseen dozens of projects to help the new suburb establish a sense of community, safety and belonging.

Some of her projects include improving road safety by instigating solar streetlights along Rollinson Road, helping establish a 40km/h speed limit in her coastal estate, and improved road marking and signage across South Beach.

She continues to lobby for traffic safety upgrades at the Cockburn Road intersection, improved signage and lighting for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders and campaigns for public transport upgrades across the wider Cockburn Coast corridor.

She also helped expedite the installation of the large “sunken ship” playground, beachside toilet and shower block and stationary outdoor exercise equipment at the beach end of Rollinson Road.

Second place was awarded to Maggie Zentner, President of Yangebup Progress Association and Coordinator of central ward Neighbourhood Watch.

Third place went to Jane Armstrong, Chairperson of Homelessness We Care Perth.

City of Cockburn Mayor Logan Howlett said the category recognised an individual volunteer of any age who had made an exceptional contribution over the past year and created a significant impact in the community.

“This category attracted 66 nominations, a true indication of the passion and dedication of Cockburn’s skilled volunteer community,” Mayor Howlett said.

The Cockburn Volunteer Organisation of the Year award was presented to Jandakot Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade whose members have been active in the community since 1967.

Its 70 volunteer members respond to 000 emergency calls 24/7 365 days a year. Even during essential COVID restrictions, the brigade attended multiple City of Cockburn call-outs including more than 60 incidents in the past 12 months most of which were long-duration fires, like those at Thomas Rd, King Road, Wooroloo and Red Gully.

It conducts bush fire mitigation works for the City (including private landowners) such as hazard reduction burns, and provides community engagement and awareness at local events, plus bush fire preparedness workshops for local residents.

As part of responding to incidents around WA and the nation, the brigade holds a minimum of two monthly training sessions for members and monthly station maintenance and appliance (vehicle) checks to ensure they are ready to respond to any incident.

Mayor Howlett said the award category was designed to recognise a remarkable community group, club or not-for-profit organisation that collectively strived to bring positive change to the Cockburn community. This category received 29 nominations from the community.

Friends of the Community Inc was awarded second place, followed by Repair Café Cockburn in third place.

The winner of this year’s Mayor’s Volunteer Award is Norm Dale, the co-founder and President of Friends of the Community Inc (FoC), a volunteer-run food vendor that specialises in providing low cost food at special/community events, and returns the profits back into the community.

Mayor Howlett said the category, which attracted nine nominations, was presented to an individual who had volunteered for a minimum of 10 years and had made an outstanding contribution to volunteering in the Cockburn community.

Norm, along with Serena Anderson, co-founded FoC in 2006 with a vision to create a benevolent fund to meet the gaps in social service funding.

Described as the ‘heartbeat of the organisation’ Norm’s role as FoC President goes above the call of duty, including rebuilding caravans to transform them into food vans that comply with food and road safety standards, and nurturing volunteers to improve their lives through social aid.

Second place was awarded to Shane Harris, a member of Jandakot Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade. Third place was awarded posthumously to WA Wildlife volunteer Sue Moore.

Learn more about this year’s deserving winners –

Volunteer of the Year, 2nd place, Maggie Zentner, President Yangebup Progress Association:
Maggie is also an active volunteer at Yangebup Family Centre (YFC), hamper packing for Coolbellup Cares, shopping centre Christmas gift wrapping for Jandakot Lions Club, and at St John of God Hospital Murdoch.
Every quarter, the dedicated recycler collects aerosols, printer cartridges, light globes and batteries from residents and delivers them to the City of Cockburn for recycling.
Sharing her Italian heritage and appreciation for food, Maggie is a volunteer chef for the YFC’s monthly Cultural Cooking program, volunteers monthly with the Community Eats program, and picks up unsold bread from a nearby bakery for delivery to the YFC for donation.

Volunteer of the Year, 3rd place, Jane Armstrong, Homelessness We Care Perth:
Jane coordinates a volunteer food service supplying 300+ weekly meals for the homeless community in the City of Perth, along with coordinating care packs and putting her background in mental health to work offering an ear to our Street Community.
For more than 15 years, Jane has been striving to provide dignity for people who live on the street, also helping the wider community understand the causes and needs of people experiencing homelessness.

Cockburn Volunteer Organisation of the Year, 2nd place Friends of the Community Inc:
Formed in 2006 by Norm Dale and Serena Anderson, FoC is a small food organisation that specialises in healthy low-cost food at special events, which returns 100 per cent of it profits back into the community.
In the past 15 years, it has distributed more than $170,629, or $11,375 pa, to community projects and causes. 
It recruits about 45 volunteers from diverse backgrounds, including people with disability, providing them with an opportunity to interact with their community in a way that would otherwise be unavailable.
Volunteers perform essential tasks including legal, moral, ethical, and fiscal compliance, management, training, site set up/pack down, food preparation, serving, cleaning and maintenance.
FOC supplies a range of services to the community including licensed food and coffee vans selling a variety of fresh healthy food, cold drinks and barista coffee, using locally produced ingredients.
Volunteers are Food Safety and AHA COVID-19 trained and FoC’s Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) certified custom food truck attends about 40 events annually.
Some of the causes FoC has supported include 25 scholarships for Year 11 & 12 Lakeland Senior High School students, Cockburn Navy Cadets, Phoenix Little Athletics, funding a commercial stove for St Pats Day Centre for daily meal preparation, Share the Dignity hygiene packs and COVID food hamper delivery in partnership with Coogee Beach Surf Life Saving Club, People with Disability Guide Dogs Australia, Motor Neurone Disease Association WA, Cancer Foundation WA and Starlight Children’s Foundation.

Cockburn Volunteer Organisation of the Year, 3rd place Repair Cafe Cockburn:
The Repair Café was established in August 2019 to encourage community members to give broken items that would ordinarily go straight into the rubbish bin, a second chance.
Every month, and despite the impact of the pandemic, there is a gradual increase in the number of customers trying to help the environment by recycling items such as clocks, lawnmowers, bikes, items of clothing and toys, by reducing the waste that goes to landfill.
Between 10am-midday on the second Sunday of the month, the café is held at the Ottey Family and Neighbourhood Centre, South Lake Drive, 2 South Lake.
By repairing items for reuse and reducing waste going to landfill, it builds social capital for the community and is an inclusive opportunity for volunteers and clients to feel valued and included.

Mayor’s Volunteer Award, 2nd place, Shane Harris, Jandakot Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade:
Shane has been active in the community since 2008 and has attended more than 150 incidents at Jandakot, some running for days, even weeks.
Known as the brigade’s ‘rock’, Shane has fulfilled ranks in its management committee such as Lieutenant and Captain and is currently Deputy Chief Bush Fire Control Officer for the City of Cockburn.
Demonstrating a legacy of volunteering in his family, Shane’s father is a Captain in the Country Fire Authority in Victoria where he has volunteered for more than 40 years.

Mayor’s Volunteer Award, 3rd place, Sue Moore, WA Wildlife:
The late Sue Moore was a volunteer at WA Wildlife (formerly Native ARC) from 2006 until she died suddenly in March this year.
She was on the Board of Native ARC 2007-2009 and for more than a decade, volunteered 7am-8pm every Tuesday. Prior to Native ARC's restructure in 2009, Sue was often responsible for looking after all animals on-site, taking phone calls, admitting new animals and preparing meals.
In addition to her weekly shift, she covered other shifts as needed, collected fruit and veg weekly from nearby suppliers, attended meetings and training workshops, and helped with fundraisers.
The award was accepted by Sue’s daughter Nicole Dwyer who said her mum was WA Wildlife’s second longest serving volunteer and had left a lasting impact and legacy, especially on fellow volunteers who had benefitted from her mentoring and support.

Winners were announced at a special circus-themed awards evening at the City’s Administration Centre on 21 November.
All nominations were submitted by members of the community.

Find out more about volunteering in the Cockburn community at the City's website.

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Cockburn Nyungar moort Beeliar boodja-k kaadadjiny. Koora, yeyi, benang baalap nidja boodja-k kaaradjiny.
Ngalak kaadatj dayin boodja, kep wer malayin. Ngalak kaadatj koora koora wer yeyi ngalang birdiya.

City of Cockburn acknowledges the Nyungar people of Beeliar boodja. Long ago, now and in the future they care for Country.
We acknowledge a continuing connection to land, waters and culture and pay our respects to the Elders, past and present.