Waverley local heroes of the year 2021

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On Monday 17 May 2021, Waverley Council hosted the Local Hero Awards at the North Bondi SLSC. The ceremony was held to recognise and celebrate the incredible work Waverley's volunteers do for our community. Mayor of Waverley, Paula Masselos, announced the winners of this year's awards. Details of each award winner are outlined below.

Category: Strengthening Community

Winner: Louise Mulroney

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Louise is one of the original founding members and volunteer board members of the Beaches Outreach Project (BOP – formerly Bondi Outreach Project). She has volunteered for 43 years, benefiting generations of young people and families in the Waverley LGA. Louise sources funding and grants, recruits, keeps policies and procedures updated, liaises with Councils and funders, supports and guides the workers, and rarely misses a board meeting (held monthly). She is also a child and family social worker who is highly regarded in her field.

Certificate of Commendation: Sondra Beram

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Sondra is the owner of bRU café in North Bondi. She is a community minded business owner who is warm, friendly, humble, selfless and compassionate. She collaborated with other business owners organising the ‘Bondi Gives Back’ initiative in February 2020, raising $40k for bushfire victims. She has also raised funds for Wayside through donations at the café and organising an 80km walk. Sondra uses the café to promote and fundraise for many charitable endeavours, matching the amount raised with her own money. All packaging used at the café is compostable and the ‘mug library’ was created to minimise waste.

Category: Community Life

Winner: Lynette Smith

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Lynette has been the dedicated secretary of the local historical society for a decade and has a strong interest in researching and talking about local history. She has also volunteered more recently Volunteer at Waverley War Memorial Hospital. She is currently assisting with preparations for the centenary of Waverley War Memorial Hospital in 2022. She has lived in the area for 60 years and Lyn has been recognised with an OAM and by Council in 1980 for her contribution to community and sport.

Community Volunteer

Winner: Belinda Head

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Belinda has been a dedicated, passionate caring and inclusive member/treasurer of WIRES East Branch (which covers the Waverley area), for the past three years. She is an active rescuer and carer taking a leadership role in the branch mentoring many members to help save and rehabilitate local wildlife. She has rescued over 100 animals in need in the Waverley area and cares for animals in her North Bondi home, before successfully releasing them back into the wild. She is also a passionate advocate at Woollahra Public School and facilitated a group of year 5 students to form an environmental group to raise funds for wildlife protection.

Certificate of Commendation: Robin Queenan

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Robin has been described as the most valuable volunteer at COA, and has provided assistance 2 – 3 times each week for 15 years. She is selfless and has a genuine long-standing interest in helping people. During COVID-19 Robin packed 200 – 300 fruit and vegetable parcels weekly. Regularly she serves lunch on activity days, plays games with members, packs quarterly newsletters, helps with special events and takes members on outings.

Category: Young Local Hero Award

Certificate of Commendation: Alice Lee and David Lee

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Alice is a 16 year old student at St Catherine’s in Waverley, and David is an 18 year old former student of Reddam House (now at UNSW). Alice and David are siblings, who raised funds and donated their own pocket money to provide surgical masks to help people in their community, including those at aged-care centres, community centres and sports clubs during Covid-19. They have also supported different schools table tennis clubs and events since 2015. They are role models for others and demonstrate the positive impact young people can have in their community, and have shown generosity, determination and persistence to support others while completing their high school studies.

Category: Working Together

Winner: WIRES Eastern Branch

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The WIRES Eastern Branch is one of 28 WIRES branches in NSW who work to actively rehabilitate and preserve Australian native wildlife and have done so for nearly 35 years. The Eastern Branch currently have 183 valued volunteers who are available 24/7 to receive calls to help sick or injured wildlife in their local community. By working together, between January – December 2020, the Eastern Branch rescued over 4,600 animals in need. Over 40,000 animals have been attended to since the branch was established. They also offer to assist external WIRES branches by travelling great distances to help with animals affected by habitat loss caused by the 2019/2020 bushfires and work closely with emergency services for more challenging rescues.

Certificate of Commendation: Eastside Community Group Wilderness Society

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The Eastside Community Group has had a significant impact as part of a broad network of Wilderness Society community groups across the country. They have been active as a Wilderness Society group since 2016 (5 years of service). In 2020 they looked out for each other, collaborated to make change, moved all their actions online and developed new leadership skills.

Category: Second Nature Champion

Winner: Kit Shepherd

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Kit has been the convenor of Transition Bondi since 2012, which is a local community group that is part of Transition Australia that has the vision to build a localised, sustainable and just future. Kit has worked tirelessly for 10 years managing the Film & Feast, Farmers market stall, Community Garden, Inner Transition event and Transition Streets program in Bondi with online programs during 2020. Kit also recruits volunteers. She leads with passion, humility and hard work, empowering, inspiring and motivating those that she is in contact with. She creates opportunities for people to come together to create community programs and events to highlight local environmental and sustainability issues.

Certificate of Commendation: Maddie Ross

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Maddie has been involved with Council’s Collaboration for Impact Program, including contributing to Summerama 2019, 2020 and 2021 and to Plastic Free July in 2019 and 2021. Since 2018 she has volunteered countless hours to improve the local environment and is a dedicated and passionate advocate for sustainability with a ‘can-do’ attitude. She is an inspiring example of leadership in sustainability and an advocate for collaboration between organisations to drive change. Maddie also volunteers for and runs the Sydney Eastern Suburbs Boomerang Bags group, helping people in the Eastern Suburbs reduce fabric waste going to landfill. Maddie has participated in the development of 20 activities around environmental education for the local community.  These activities have attracted over 2,703 people.