Illawarra resident Beverley Kerr named 2017 NSW Volunteer of the Year

Beverley Kerr pictured earlier this year. Mrs Kerr was recognised for her commitment to social justice through her work for the St Vincent de Paul Society. Picture: Adam McLean

Beverley Kerr pictured earlier this year. Mrs Kerr was recognised for her commitment to social justice through her work for the St Vincent de Paul Society. Picture: Adam McLean

An Illawarra leader with state-wide responsibilities by day and a grassroots community volunteer by night has been acknowledged for her efforts. 

The NSW Volunteer of the Year awards for 2017 were announced on Friday at Norths, Cammeray. 

The 2017 NSW Volunteer of the Year is Beverley Kerr from Corrimal, who won for her commitment to social justice through her work for the St Vincent de Paul Society. Mrs Kerr was also named Senior Volunteer of the Year. 

“I’m a bit overwhelmed,” she said. “Just very humbled, and very emotional.”

Mrs Kerr, 71, holds leadership roles in the running of the organisation, such as being president of Matthew Talbot Homeless Support Services.

She has also maintained a relationship with Vinnies’ grassroots level, being active in the Corrimal community as a local volunteer with the society.

“I don’t get much of a chance to be with the Corrimal conference because I’m so busy with the state-wide responsibilities,” she said. 

“But I enjoy participating there when I can.”

She often works seven days a week, offering emergency assistance to the homeless, those affected by addiction, domestic violence or mental health issues.

Mrs Kerr has championed large poverty-targeted projects with the society, such as the design and revitalisation of Freeman House in Armidale, to provide residential and community-based programs for adults experiencing homelessness and/or addiction.

Before retiring and commencing her volunteer role with the society in 2001, she worked for the Department of Community Services.

Earlier this year, Mrs Kerr received both the Senior 2017 Illawarra Region Volunteer of the Year Award and the overall regional winner’s award for her work with the St Vincent de Paul Society.

Meanwhile, Stephen Targett from Unanderra was a finalist in the NSW Young Volunteer of the Year awards, and Jaclyn Percy from Corrimal was a finalist in the Adult category of the awards. 

The IRT/DW Ambassador Program was also a finalist in the Volunteer Team award category.