YEARS of dedication to helping families in Perth escape domestic violence has been acknowledged at today’s City of Bayswater’s Australia Day citizenship.
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 Active Citizenship of the Year.
Ms Mason approached Zonta House Refuge Association nearly three years ago to start up a service to help families start over after escaping domestic violence by providing furniture, house essentials and assistance to move into independent accommodation.
Quickly outgrowing the space, SOS became incorporated last March and is now based at a Bayswater warehouse.
The charity has helped more than 200 families with deliveries of beds, couches, cleaning products, cutler, power boards and other items needed to start life over.
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; she has helped create a safe place for those facing domestic violence, assisting them in starting new lives,” he said.
Mr Gaunt, 84, was also acknowledged for his voluntary work spanning many years.
He is heavily involved with the Maylands Yacht Club, Maylands Historical Society and the North of Perth Music Festival and was also a City councillor in the early 90s.
Future Bayswater was recognised for their campaign work to secure a better future for Bayswater.
The group hosted a speaker series last year and brought together top urban designers, town planners, environment and sustainability specialists.