Long serving volunteer and Manning local, Julie Ham knows a thing or two about helping hands and hearts of gold and has this week been named as Volunteer of the Year at the Southcare Annual Service Awards.

Julie was named this year’s recipient of the Helen Moore Leadership and Service Award for demonstrating leadership, trustworthiness, professionalism and being a team player in line with Helen Moore’s ethos.

CEO of Southcare Dr Nicky Howe said Helen Moore was one of the longest serving volunteers at Southcare and these awards honour her legacy.

“The gift is always in the giving and how wonderful that I get to give an award to one of our longest serving volunteers today particularly during National Volunteer Week where the theme is Changing Communities, Changing Lives,” Dr Howe said.

Julie served on the Southcare Board for 16 years (retiring in 2018) and continues to volunteer at Southcare as a driver taking seniors to medical appointments and offering important social connection, particularly in this time of increased isolation.

At her time on the Board, Julie was instrumental in the decision to purchase 51a Bickley Crescent, the house which was converted into a social centre and then named the ‘Bickley Club’ to meet the needs of people affected by early stages of dementia, as well as the decision to build the new premises that are today known as ‘Janet Elder House’, being a trustee on the Southcare Foundation and governing to ensure services were increased to seniors via successful tender submissions for Home and Community Care, Veterans Affairs and Home Care Packages.

“Volunteering my time has long been a highlight and I have met so many wonderful people over the years,” Julie said.

“Volunteering is incredibly rewarding – not just for me, but there is a ripple effect where little acts of kindness inspire others and they then reap the rewards and that momentum then keeps going in a circular fashion touching so many.

“To be recognised for something I love doing is extremely humbling.   I live locally and love this community and helping people thrive is naturally part of my calling.”

Julie joined the Southcare Board as the representative of Soroptimist International of South Perth in 2002.  At the time she was employed at the State Library of Western Australia. During her working career she undertook extensive voluntary work as a Board Member of Southcare, as well as part of the Executive Management Committee of Southcare and a Trustee of the Southcare Foundation.

She also continued to volunteer in the wider community with roles with the Western Australian Women’s Collaboration / WA Women’s Hall of Fame Inc (2011 – current), Place of Reflection Consortium (2005 – 2016) and International Women’s Day Breakfast Committee (for UN Women) (2009 – 2014).

“We currently have 40 volunteers at Southcare and all do a fantastic job helping senior members of our community,” Dr Howe said.

“Some are Board members, some are drivers, some help in the office, some offer social support and help with daily tasks, but they all have one thing in common: they are all cherished.

“It’s so rewarding to publicly celebrate those that embody the Southcare values and while this year’s event was a little different with the delivery in keeping with COVID-19 guidelines, it was certainly a great opportunity for some of us to come together in a time when we are required to stay apart.

If you have a heart of gold and helping hands and would like to volunteer at Southcare contact us on 9450 6233 or visit https://www.southcare.org.au/how-to-contribute/volunteer/