Local hero recognition for Vinnies Support Centre Coordinator

Jane Marsh is a Support Centre Coordinator working at the Hurstville Vinnies Support Centre and a finalist to be named one of this year’s Westfield Local Heroes.

“It was a huge surprise!” Jane says.

“I actually received an email from one of the persons I’ve been assisting through her difficult times and she said to me, ‘Oh Jane, I just thought I’d let you know that I’ve nominated you as a Westfield Local Hero, I hope that’s ok.’

“And I thought, oh, ok, that’s fine but not really knowing at that time what it meant or what it entails.

“So, I sat on it for a while and then I contacted my team leader and said I’ve just got this email from one of my clients and she said, ‘Oh that’s amazing!’”

Over 11 months, Jane helped the lady who nominated her leave a rental property she could no longer afford due to a horror run of bad luck and find a new home.

“Your life can change in a moment – it can happen to any of us,” Jane says.

From a starting point of being in arrears, Jane helped the woman find long-term, affordable housing for herself and her children.

“So, we just supported her through that period and then, when she got her own Department of Housing property, she was able to manage the rent herself and just become independent which really meant a lot to her.

“It’s much easier, in my opinion, to assist someone who isn’t homeless.

“Especially when they have young children.

“So, as long as they can maintain that roof over their head, we know that they’re safe and secure.

“It’s much easier to assist with food, school items, you know, things like that, rather than trying to find accommodation for a family,” Jane says.

Like just about everyone nominated for recognition as a local hero, Jane says she doesn’t see herself that way.

“Absolutely not. Absolutely not!

“I am just one person in a huge organisation with people with the same drive and commitment and love to want to help other people.

“And I’m sure that there’s plenty of other people out there doing exactly the same thing that I’m doing and the only difference is that I had a client that nominated me – that’s the only difference.

“So, I’m not a hero, I’m doing what I love to do,” Jane says.

“I really find it a privilege.

“It’s a privilege to be able to work for St Vincent de Paul because their vision and mission aligns with some of my personal visions and missions in life.

“And I just think I’ve been given a great opportunity in this position to help people,” Jane says.

Being a finalist means Jane has already “won” $5,000 that will be provided by Westfield to the St Vincent de Paul Society.

If she is named the Westfield Local Hero for Hurstville, the Society will receive $20,000.

“That funding, we can do so much with that funding in this area,” Jane says.

You can vote for Jane as the Westfield Local Hero in Hurstville until the 22nd of August 2022.