Doveton volunteers recognised with Holt Australia Day Award

Volunteers at The Salvation Army’s Doveton Thrift Shop and Community Services Centre, in Melbourne’s south-east, were recognised with a prestigious local award on Australia Day.

The Holt Australia Day Award, presented by the Federal Member for Holt, Anthony Byrne, acknowledged the Doveton branch’s outstanding service to the community. 

The branch has provided more than $1 million in assistance to the Doveton community, offering material aid, counselling, advocacy, emergency relief and case management. In 2016 alone, the centre provided services to more than 5000 people – $235,000 in financial aid, $27,000 in Christmas and back-to-school assistance and $185,000 material aid, which includes food parcels. 

“This is recognition of the really important role that volunteers play in keeping the program functioning and bringing quality service to the people of the community that they serve,” said branch manager, Major John Farquharson. “Many of the volunteers are people who have been assisted in the past, so they are actually feeling that they can make a contribution back to their community.”

Mr Byrne nominated the branch after he toured the community services centre and thrift shop, which works with nearby Dandenong Corps.

“Mr Byrne was proud of the work we’re doing in Doveton, helping the community,” said thrift shop manager Jane Luxford. “He’s trying to get our name out there so people know we’re here.”

During the award ceremony, the branch was recognised as one of five local organisations contributing to the community. 

“I congratulate all those receiving a Holt Australia Day Award for their exemplary community spirit and endless hours of volunteer work making our community a better and safer place to live,” said Mr Byrne. “These people do not get the same accolades as celebrities in the media but, in their own quiet Australian way, they do tremendous work and make other people’s lives better.”

The award was accepted by Major Farquharson, Luxford and 2016 Eastern Victoria Division Volunteer of the Year Eileen Williams.

“We don’t have the employed staff to do all the things that are needed, but we have a large number of volunteers who are giving their time and energy to help others,” said Major Farquharson. 

“We work hard to be a primary service that meets the community’s needs, and that’s gradually being recognised by other community members, other services and programs, and by our government.”