Vinnies Star Receives Takes out the Top Volunteer Award

St Vincent de Paul Society NSW volunteer Beverly Kerr was recognised with two accolades at the 2017 NSW Volunteer Awards on 8 December. Mrs. Kerr was honoured as the pre-eminent overall Volunteer of the Year and Senior Volunteer of the Year 2017 for her work with Vinnies.

Beverly is both a state-wide and local Vinnies volunteer. She has been volunteering with the Society since 2001 and has held a number of leadership positions, including her current roles of Vice President of St Vincent de Paul Society NSW and President of Matthew Talbot Homeless Support Services.Earlier this year, Mrs Kerr received both the Senior 2017 Illawarra Region Volunteer of the Year and Overall Regional Volunteer awards.

This year, Mrs. Kerr has been instrumental in the revitalisation of the Freeman House in Armindale, an organization which provides residential and community-based programs for adults experiencing homelessness and/or addiction. Her work also includes coordinating emergency assistance to those affected by domestic violence, mental or physical health problems, and sudden poverty. Her campaigns for social justice have advanced the rights of people seeking asylum in Australia. In addition to her state-wide advocacy, Mrs Kerr remains a grassroots volunteer within her own local community of Corrimal in Woollongong.

In reaction to her awards, Mrs Kerr said “I’m a bit overwhelmed. Just very humbled, and very emotional. I get great self-satisfaction from helping people and seeing the end result in their lives.”

“I encourage everyone to consider volunteering. It doesn’t just give you purpose and make you feel great, it also makes a big difference to organisations such as Vinnies and the people they assist.”

Mrs. Kerr works seven days a week, and at 71 years of age has no interest in lessening her service. She is mother to seven children and has twenty grandchildren, and lives with her husband and their blind dog.

St Vincent de Paul Society NSW CEO, Jack de Groot congratulated Bev saying, “Bev is an incredible asset not just to St Vincent de Paul Society, but communities across NSW. We are very lucky to have such a dedicated member and are in awe of her achievements. Well done Bev.”

Media contact:  Felicity Moody | felicity.moody@vinnies.org.au | 0417 446 430