Dedicated vollie Jean Coles is Quintessentially Cockburn!

Age is no barrier.
That’s Jean Coles’ message for others in her community who can see a need but are not sure how to go about helping make a difference.
When Jean’s husband Richard passed away three years ago, she noticed the community-focused activities of local food charity Feed It Forward.
After many busy years caring for Richard, Jean also knew it would be important to again become involved in the community and make some new friends and connections.
Jean reached out to the food charity, and although her offer to volunteer was initially declined as the operation navigated the best way to expand its services, she didn’t give up.
“I kept asking. Now I spend every Saturday and Sunday at Feed It Forward helping up to 160 families who find it very hard to make ends meet, to put food on the table,” Jean said.      
In an inspiring act of generosity, Jean also purchased a van she makes available to the charity specifically so it can collect and deliver food donations from its various distribution locations every week.
In recognition of her big heart, the 77-year-old Hamilton Hill woman was named the City of Cockburn’s 2024 Volunteer of the Year at a ceremony on 26 May. She is undeniably Quintessentially Cockburn.
Jean and her husband spent several years volunteering for the Southwell Primary School Parents and Citizens Association when their grandchildren were students there, so joining in to help her community is something she knows the value of.
“I find if you help your own community, your own pride in where you live grows, and you can see it growing in other people too,” Jean said.
“I also help Hami Helps with their Hami Eats program. I meet a lot of people and it’s not just about helping them and the other volunteers, but having a natter, seeing how everyone is getting along. It’s the human connections.”
Jean has lived in Cockburn for more than 30 years, moving into social housing before she and her husband purchased the property in her beloved Southwell precinct in Hamilton Hill where she appreciates the beauty of its many parklands.
When asked what her favourite place in Cockburn was, Jean said she didn’t have one because she was ‘here, there and everywhere’ enjoying the City as a whole, with a focus on its welcoming neighbourhoods and the people who worked hard to make them that way.
Find out more about volunteering in the Cockburn community on the City's website.

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Cockburn Nyungar moort Beeliar boodja-k kaadadjiny. Koora, yeyi, benang baalap nidja boodja-k kaaradjiny.
Ngalak kaditj boodjar kep wer kaadidjiny kalyakool yoodaniny, wer koora wer yeyi ngalak Birdiya koota-djinanginy.

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.