2019 Local Heroes

Published: Wednesday, 18 December 2019 at 1:33:12 PM

“At Christmas time, we celebrate our community volunteers!

We recognize the people that give Vincent our people power, personality and passion.

Across our diverse community groups, these wonderful people all share a desire to making things happen and all play their part in building community connection.

This is so important to our community’s sense of wellbeing, identity and our love of life in Vincent.

All of these Vincent Volunteers have helped drive positive change in our community and we say ‘thank you!' " said Mayor Emma Cole.

As the year draws to a close we are celebrating a few wonderful volunteers who have contributed to our Vincent community in 2019.

Do you know a local hero? #localheroes2019

Trent Durward

Trent Durward, Chair of the Leederville Connect Town Team, is a strong advocate for Leederville and for people getting more involved in their local community.

Trent lives in Leederville with his wife and two young children and can often be found walking the dog down at Britannia Oval or photographing classic cars in the Leederville Town Centre.

He works for a local private property firm and was part business owner in the Henry Hiccups store, which operated in Leederville for the past 6 years. As Chair of the Leederville Connect Town Team, Trent is passionate about helping the local Leederville community meet its aspirations for the future.

“We’ve had some real highlights this year, including the opening of our Village Square back in May. This event taught me how a group of community members – all with different skills and world views – could work together to put on an awesome party.”

“I’ve also really enjoyed our Jane’s Walks – where a group of us walk through the local community and hear the background to the growth of our neighbourhood. There are always some interesting stories told!”

Trent is inspired by his fellow Leederville Connect Committee and community members.

“They consistently remind me how passionate and committed they are to making Leederville amazing.”


Elspeth Gonzalez-Skuja

Elspeth Gonzalez-Skuja from Mount Hawthorn is one of the co-founders of the Perth’s Repair Café in North Perth.

Contributing to community and community development have always been important to Elspeth. She is a mother of four, holds a degree in Community Studies and Youth and currently works for the Yamatji Marpla Aboriginal Corporation.

“I came across the concept of a ‘Repair Café’ when I was doing some consultancy work for a business in North Perth and the owner introduced me to the amazing Angie Kings-Lynne, who was keen to start a Repair Café.

“Together, we founded WA’s first Repair Café. That was two years ago and it is still going strong.”

“I love our team of volunteers; bringing the community together; keeping waste out of landfill; and the look on someone’s face when a well-loved but broken item is repaired.”

The Repair Café Perth meets on the third Saturday of the month from 10am to 12pm at North Perth Lesser Hall.


Sheena Cher

Sheena Cher is an East Perth local who, as well as being a mother to an 11-year old boy, is a professional caterer and Board Member of charity group – Manna Inc.; one of the largest providers of meals to homeless and disadvantaged people in Perth.

Sheena first began volunteering in the community about 5 years ago.

“I started volunteering for UnitingCare West’s Family Foundations, a family care center that provides assistance to vulnerable families at risk of homelessness. I really enjoyed the experience and it helped me get through a difficult time in my own life. It put a lot of things in perspective for me; that there were others going through far worse.”

“I decided that perhaps I could do a little more to help and that’s when I connected with Manna Kids in the hope of assisting with their breakfast program. I initially started off as a corporate sponsor and provided pro-bono consulting services and am now a member of their Board assisting with the daily operations.”

“I love that I am able to make a difference in the community I live in. As cliché as it sounds, every little bit counts. If I am able to make a difference to one person today, that alone counts.

“Over the last few years, I have met countless of people through my volunteering work that all share one thing in common, and that is their willingness and aspirations to help another.”

“At Manna, we have dedicated volunteers who have been with us through this journey over the past 23 years, and many of our current volunteers have been weekly regulars for years. Every one of these people inspire me to continue my personal journey.”


Mohammed Shakeeb

Originally born in Singapore, Mohammed and his family moved to Australia in 1974, where he spent time in Wickham in the Pilbara before moving to Perth. Mohammed is now a resident of Northbridge and the Imam of the Perth Mosque; a position he has held since 2014.

In his role as the leader of the Perth Mosque, Mohammed devotes a lot of his time to community work, including the Mosque’s weekly food delivery to Perth’s homeless and helping to address some of the misconceptions of Islam within the Perth community.

Earlier this year, Mohammed organised a special vigil outside the Perth Mosque to acknowledge those affected by the March Christchurch mosque shootings, bringing together Muslim, New Zealand and local community groups.

“As a teenager, life threw me some challenging experiences that propelled me to go on a truth-seeking path. I came to realise that true inner happiness and contentment could not be achieved by just plunging into a sea of dark desires. Rather, it has something to do with finding a sense of peace and greater purpose in life and feeling connected to something bigger than ourselves.”

“What I love most about what I do is seeing first-hand the compassion from the Perth community, particularly on occasions when Muslims are blamed for any traumatic tragedy globally, as well as the exceptional kindness shown to all by my fellow friends at the Perth Mosque.”

“I will continue to encourage fellow Muslims here to always do good to others and to exercise patience whenever they are misunderstood and I call on everyone to exercise kindness, and only kindness, to each other.”


Photo by Brian Osborne

Jon Denaro

Jon Denaro, the Chairman of our Pickle District Town Team, has a passion for Vincent’s progressive cultural infrastructure and its vibrant arts community.

He is a founding Director of arts company – Obscure View and a board member of ArtSource – the peak membership body for WA visual artists.

Jon has an extensive background in volunteering and, as Chair of the Pickle District, is excited about transforming a relatively new institution into something more influential in Vincent.

“While it’s still early days for this project, what I like is the potential to get artistic thinking through these emerging project opportunities. I believe getting artists into those early conversations and positions is vital.”

“The Town Team movement is a great vehicle for developing an inclusive conceptualisation of the future of our community spaces, with community input from professionals.”

“To be at the table with other professional energy and ambition; to be inside the banter and driving that, challenging that, is exciting.”


Theresa Youngs-Lachmund

Theresa Youngs-Lachmund is a 23-year old Mount Lawley resident who helped establish the Vincent Community Kitchen in 2018.

As well as being in the throes of completing her third degree, Theresa has many strings to her bow, including singing with the all-women acapella group - Mothersong Community Choir; playing cello with the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra; and volunteering with Transition Town Vincent.

“The idea for the Vincent Community Kitchen started on a trip to London in 2018, where I saw a poster for ‘The People’s Kitchen’ and went along to enjoy the best afternoon cooking and chatting with so many amazing people.”

“I knew this initiative would work well here in Vincent, so I pitched the idea at Transition Town Vincent and was successful in winning the seed money to start the idea.”

“We celebrated our first anniversary in November this year. Over this past year, we have hosted an average of 50 people and saved an estimated 150kg of food from landfill each month.”

“I love seeing how happy the Vincent Community Kitchen makes other people. It’s a joy to look out at this hall of people, sitting at long tables, chatting and sharing a meal together. This simple thing of bringing people together is often lost, and I’m so grateful that I get to be part of bringing it back.”


Ken McCabe

Ken McCabe is a long-standing resident of Vincent, having lived in Lawler Street in North Perth for the last 45 years.

An active community member, Ken has a long association with the Osborne Park Football Club as a player, former President and Life Member. He also holds the Club record for most goals in a season in a Reserves team, with his 85 goals for the 1982 season.

Now that he’s retired, Ken spends less time at the footy field and devotes more of his time to the North Perth Bowling Club. As well as enjoying getting out on the green to play, Ken is the current Vice President and former President of the Club.

This year, Ken and fellow Clubman, Domenic Pugliese, have worked hard to improve the greens surrounds and built a new patio for members and visitors to enjoy.

“The Club surrounds were in need of repair and maintenance and we have enjoyed the time spent on improving the facility, as it benefits not only the members but also the Community of North Perth.”

“I have made many friends at the Club and continue to enjoy what I do in making the Club look appealing.”


Janet McCallum

Janet McCallum was born in Mount Hawthorn in 1930. Her father owned the local wood yard, she grew up in Buxton Street and attended Mount Hawthorn Primary School.

She was born in the Depression and remembers her early years growing up during war time. “We were so innocent, we didn’t really realise what a war was.”

Her family was very close and as the eldest of eight children she was often put in charge of her younger siblings. She remembers Christmas being a very family oriented event. “On Christmas and Good Friday, that was always a family day to be spent at home and celebrate together, we never went out anywhere.”

She has helped Vincent this year by contributing her memoirs and a number of photos to our Local History Centre. She also went on radio recently with our Local History Librarian to reminisce about her childhood in Mount Hawthorn.

Janet loves history and is the Young Australian League historian. “I think it is so important to keep history alive in our community for without history, we have no future.”


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