South West Counselling has been named as a finalist in the state’s Community Services Excellence Awards.
The organisation is one of four finalists in the Regional Organisation category.
Finalists in the biennial awards include family, legal, advocacy, Aboriginal, mental health, and youth organisations, which had made a significant contribution in the community services sector.
South West Counselling chief executive officer Karen Sommerville said the organisation was delighted to be a finalist for the third time in a row.
“It’s about the work we do being acknowledged,” she said.
“We work very hard and you don’t look for a reward but it is a nice feeling.”
South West Counselling’s recent work in supporting LGBTIQ youth helped earn them the finalist placing.
Ms Sommerville said they had worked to engage with youth through surveys and having a presence at community events such as Busselton Pride and Margi Gras.
“One of the outcomes to date from the survey is 90 per cent of LGBTIQ youth experience bullying of some form,” she said.
“Since marriage equality was successfully finalised and the first Pride event in Busselton, we do feel there has been a positive shift, however, if you are a young person struggling with issues around your sexuality – how do you know where to go for support.
“This project finishes in May, but we are committed to work on this. We want to establish a peer support group for young people and continue to work with Out South West and Spectrum who help guide us around LGBTIQ issues.”
Ms Sommerville said the team hoped to win but that wasn’t what the awards were about.
“It really is just recognising the staff in the community services sector and what they do, as recognition and praise doesn’t necessarily come often in this work,” she said.
“We are up against some really great services and what they do is fantastic.
“Being up for the award, and alongside other really amazing organisations, makes you feel as though you are doing something worthwhile.”
Community Services minister Simone McGurk said finalists demonstrated the high level of pride, commitment and sheer hard work that occurred in the community services sector.
“The range of projects and activities contained within these nominations is inspiring and great news for thousands of Western Australians who rely on the sector for so much guidance, support and life-affirming opportunities,” she said.
The winners will be announced on May 2 at the 2018 Western Australian Council of Social Service conference.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.