An advocate for seniors from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, a Bibbulmun Track Foundation volunteer and a Meals on Wheels volunteer are among this year’s Western Australian Seniors Awards winners.
The annual WA Seniors Awards celebrate and recognise the valued contributions of seniors, businesses and local governments within our community.
Kalamunda’s Norma Walsh is WA Senior of the Year – Metropolitan.
Norma has been recognised for her contribution to the community including her long term volunteer service to Meals on Wheels at the Jack Healey Centre in Kalamunda, and for her contributions to several local history books.
James Freeman, formerly of Merredin and now living in Mandurah, is the WA Senior of the Year – Regional.
James is recognised for his 23 years of dedication and volunteer service to the Bibbulmun Track Foundation since its inception in 1997.
In a new Seniors Award category, Theresa Kwok was recognised as WA Seniors Advocate of the Year for her significant contribution to the seniors sector, to seniors policy and to seniors from culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) backgrounds.
Theresa’s advocacy has raised awareness of the unique challenges and strengths of CaLD seniors with government, service providers and the broader community, contributing to more equitable access to services, and culturally appropriate service delivery for seniors in WA.
The Darling Range Seniors Hub received the WA Age Friendly Business Award for its support of the local business community.
The ‘Hub’ is a grassroots movement designed to connect ageing residents with a local ‘mutual support’ network, other age groups, community groups and the local community. It provides members with access to trusted and vetted business referrals, volunteer support, social and neighbourhood connection and friendship.
The City of Greater Geraldton’s QEII Seniors and Community Centre earned the WA Age Friendly Local Government award.
The Centre has operated since 1986 as the central hub and primary point of contact for seniors in Geraldton and the Mid-West region. It averages 2,800 monthly participants across 41 social, physical and mental wellbeing programs, and provides many seniors with their only point of social contact in a safe, supportive, inclusive and welcoming environment.
The 2021 WA Seniors Awards were presented by the Council on the Ageing (WA) in partnership with the State Government.
As stated by Seniors and Ageing Minister Don Punch:
“The WA Seniors Awards have again recognised the very best individuals, local governments and businesses who contribute to an age-friendly Western Australia.
“Norma Walsh and James Freeman are thoroughly deserving winners in the individual categories of this year’s WA Seniors Awards.
“Norma’s long service to Meals on Wheels, as well as her love of her local environment and history, make her a deserving winner.
“James has maintained parts of the Bibbulmun Track for 20 years, which involved walking sections of the track four times per year, often involving eight-hour return drives from his home in Merredin.
“I am also especially pleased that the importance of advocacy for seniors is being recognised through a new Seniors Award category, and Theresa Kwok’s work with seniors from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds makes her an outstanding winner.
“Her work has also ensured that CaLD seniors are heard and empowered through information, services and support.
“In the organisational categories, the Darling Range Seniors Hub is a great example of how local organisations can integrate seniors into their business model, with commercial and social benefits flowing both ways.
“The City of Greater Geraldton’s QEII Seniors and Community Centre shows just how important local government can be in enabling seniors to live their best lives, particularly by harnessing the dedication and value of more than 25 volunteers.
“All this year’s Seniors Awards winners are to be congratulated on their work in their various fields, and on continuing to make Western Australia age-friendly.
“Recognising and celebrating the great value older people bring to community life is so important and the WA Seniors Awards are a great way to celebrate older peoples’ contributions to the Western Australian community.”