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John Curtin Medallists

Helen Dullard (2008)

Helen Dullard- 2008 John Curtin Medal recipient Helen Dullard -
2008 John Curtin Medal recipient

Helen Dullard's vision is for a better community. As the Chief Executive Officer of the Hills Community Support Group (HCSG), she has worked towards this vision and served her local community passionately over many years.

Helen has been described as a "social entrepreneur" using her considerable skills to better a community and the lives of individuals within it.

The HCSG was born some 25 years ago at a public meeting attended by people wanting to set up a support group in the Mundaring area. From these humble beginnings it has continued to grow and currently provides services to youth at risk, frail older people, people with disabilities and carers. It has more than 300 staff, a multi-million dollar budget and services thousands of people in the eastern metropolitan area. Helen has led HCSG from its beginnings in the 1980s and has successfully steered its growth, obtained funding for an increasing number of people and expanded its programs to meet changing social needs.

Helen recently became aware of the acute need for a safe house for young women and through her hard work and determination she forged partnerships to obtain land, funding and a building to cater for this need. It will be the first of its kind in WA.

With the support of a major local business that donated land and a building, Helen has also developed a program aimed at helping local Aboriginal youth in Midland gain and maintain employment. A group of older Aboriginal ladies (and often their daughters and babies) also come together twice a week to enjoy friendship, develop personal health plans and use their natural talents to produce artworks. Through careful and respectful sharing of ideas, this initiative led to building new and rewarding contacts with local Aboriginal families.

Helen puts an immense amount of time and energy into her role as HCSG CEO, and also maintains a strong commitment to her local community. She has been a Mundaring Shire Councillor since 2000 and was elected as President in October 2007. Helen has also been a ministerial appointment to the Local Government Advisory Board since 2002 and was recently appointed to the Racing and Gaming Commission.

Many hours of Helen's time have been dedicated to volunteering in the community. She works on local environmental issues and with a long standing interest in the arts has volunteered in the local arts community and has been a member of the Mundaring Community Arts Board since 2000.

Helen has only just retired from a 10-year membership on the Council of the Ageing Board where she chaired the Community Services and Health Committee.

She is a community member on the Swan Kalamunda Hospital Community Advisory Council which includes representation on both the Carers and Disability Access committees.

Helen is also one of 14 chief executive officers of a Round Table set up to build a solid relationship between the Director General of the Disability Services Commission and the not-for-profit sector. To support this, Helen is a state board member of the National Disability Services and she is an active member of the Mundaring Shire's Disability and Seniors Advisory Group.

Helen Dullard is indeed a most worthy recipient of the John Curtin Medal for 2008.

Work undertaken since receiving the John Curtin Medal

Since being awarded the John Curtin Medal in 2008, Helen Dullard joined The Smith Family as a volunteer, where she has been involved in assisting socially disadvantaged young children in Middle Swan Primary School in Stratton.

The child neglect and social and family dysfunction she has witnessed had a profound effect on Helen’s desire to remain involved in her community. Her commitment has led to Swan Alliance in the Midland district seeking her support to bring together a body of people to focus on research and advocacy for policy change in early-years services for vulnerable children and families.

Helen chairs the board of We The People WA Inc, which is made up key community players with expertise, capacity and local knowledge and operates in Perth’s north-east areas.

Through her involvement, Helen has accessed her valuable networks, and those of others, to build a significant partnership for the organisation with Telethon Kids Institute and Edith Cowan University which has resulted in funding success for We the People through a $20,000 grant from East Metro Health Service (Community and Population Health Services). The funding is managed through Telethon Kids and employs a part-time project officer.

More significantly, the arrangement has led to a solid commitment to work through Telethon Kids' newly formed Collaborative for Kids (CoLab), which will trial a program in Midland that will look to invest in culturally appropriate early childhood services including pre-natal support, universal and targeted parenting programs, child health and allied health services.

Helen is passionate about looking at gaps in service delivery and is keen to research how appropriate service access could build stronger, confident and resilient families.