Heroes of the community honoured by WA

YEARS of dedication to helping families in Perth escape domestic violence was acknowledged at last week’s City of Bayswater’s Australia Day ceremony.

Starting Over Support (SOS) manager Debbie Mason was named City of Bayswater’s Australia Day WA Citizen of the Year, Terence Gaunt is Senior of the Year and the group Future Bayswater was awarded Active Citizenship of the Year.

Ms Mason approached Zonta House Refuge Association nearly three years ago to start a service to help families who had escaped domestic violence by providing furniture, household essentials and assistance to move into independent accommodation.

SOS became incorporated last March and is now based at a Bayswater warehouse.

The charity has helped more than 200 families with deliveries of furniture, cleaning products and other essential items.

Mayor Barry McKenna said since its inception, hundreds of families and individuals in Perth had been able to establish a home because of SOS.

“Debbie’s work in the community has been outstanding,” he said. “She has helped create a safe place for those facing domestic violence, assisting them in starting new lives.”

Mr Gaunt (84) was also acknowledged for his voluntary work spanning many years.

He is involved with the Maylands Yacht Club, Maylands Historical Society and the North of Perth Music Festival, and was a city councillor in the early 1990s.

Future Bayswater was recognised for its work to secure a better vision for Bayswater.

The group hosted a speaker series last year that included top urban designers, town planners, and environment and sustainability specialists.