BRIGHTON municipality’s Helen Manser has dedicated her working life to the Bridgewater and Gagebrook community.
The 60-year-old founder and manager of the Jordan River Service has been named a Member of the Order of Australia in the general division (AM) for significant service to the community of Tasmania, particularly through the establishment and management of regional development initiatives.
Over 30 years, Ms Manser has transformed Bridgewater and Gagebrook Neighbourhood House services into “one-stop shop” community centres that offer a range of educational programs and support services.
She co-founded the Bridgewater Urban Renewal Project in 1992 with Cris Fitzpatrick. “When I came to Bridgewater from Glenorchy as a young mother in 1981, it was a desolate place,” Ms Manser said.
“There were no services — not even a decent bus service. There was no support for young families. There was a Bridgewater Neighbourhood House but that didn’t cut it for me.
“We designed the service we wanted, sitting around the barbecue in my backyard. There’s now a whole lot more that happens in the centres.
“They are still places where you can drop in and have a coffee and a chat, but there’s now a lot more services and you can get involved in community events and activities.”
She said she was “overwhelmed” by the Queen’s Birthday honour. “It’s my award, but it’s also wonderful for the community and organisation I work for,” she said.
The Brighton community and Brighton Community News congratulate Helen on her well-deserved award.
*Words from the Mercury newspaper following the announcement of the awards last month