Monday, 16 May 2022

I warmly welcome you all to Government House for the presentation of the 2022 Hutt Street Centre Service Awards.

In December last year, your staff and volunteers kindly welcomed Rod and I to the Centre, where we toured your premises and lent a hand in the kitchen.

It is our pleasure to now host you this evening.

Today marks the first day of National Volunteer Week, an opportune time to celebrate the contribution of volunteers to the Centre and to other organisations across our state.

In South Australia there are almost one million volunteers, whose work is worth approximately $5 billion each year.

This year the theme of National Volunteer Week is “Better Together”, and I think South Australians understand this very well.

As Governor, I am extremely proud of our state’s strong history and spirit of volunteering, which is embodied in the more than 290 volunteers who donate their time and energy to the Hutt Street Centre.

During our visit, Rod and I saw first-hand not only how crucial volunteers are to keeping the Centre running, but the immense value you bring to every interaction and activity in which you take part.

There was a strong sense of camaraderie and dedication among the volunteers we met, as well as clear skill and knowledge.

It was obvious to us that you, as volunteers, play a key role in building trust and connection with clients, which is so important in empowering people facing homelessness to rebuild their lives.

I am impressed by the diversity of skills you bring to your roles, working across meal preparation and services, laundry and locker facilities, material aid, Pastoral Care, the Creative Hub and Pathways programs, the Walk a Mile in My Boots challenge, and even engaging with donors to support the Advocacy team.

This evening I will be presenting awards to a number of volunteers who have reached 5-year milestones in their service.

In particular, I commend the volunteers here tonight who have completed 25 or more years of service, such as Mr Mario de Ionno and Mrs Lena Cavill, who will shortly receive awards; as well as Mrs Dulcie Boag, who at 42 years is the longest-serving volunteer in the room this evening.

This level of commitment is truly outstanding and I sincerely thank you all for your contribution to addressing homelessness in our community.

I also thank the Hutt Street Centre Board and staff for the vision and passion they bring to their work.

Of the roughly 6,000 people experiencing homelessness in South Australia, 2,688 walked through Hutt St Centre’s doors in search of support last financial year.

That’s almost half the state’s homeless population being given a fresh start thanks to the Hutt Street Centre, which would not be possible without the dedicated work of everyone in the room this evening.

Friends, during our recent visit to the Centre, Rod and I saw the purple wings you have painted on the wall of your building.

We posed for a photo with your client, Eugen, who stood in front of them.

It’s one of my favourite photos on the Governor of South Australia Instagram account, because it captures Eugen in an image of dignity and hope.

And that’s what the Hutt Street Centre does – it offers dignity and hope to people during some of the toughest times of their lives.

May you continue your good work and offer wings to those who need them, for a long time to come.