Amanda's Camellia Cottage work gets reward
FOR years, South Grafton community worker Amanda Stacey has worked tirelessly to support and help improve the lives of some of the Clarence Valley's most vulnerable people through her work at Camellia Cottage.
She was more than happy to stay under the radar, but it's a bit harder to do that now she has been named the Clarence Electorate Woman of the Year.
Ms Stacey said she was starting to feel more comfortable with the accolade as it all sunk in.
"I'm not used to this at all, but I'm so humbled by this experience," she said.
The announcement this week comes as the valued community worker is in the process of stepping into the role of coordinator at the South Grafton community centre, which supports local children and families in need through a range of programs.
"The past two years here have been really exciting," she said.
"I tried to resign from here (once), and it lasted two days. My heart just lies here because I see it's a very disadvantaged community."
Ms Stacey said that having grown up in a similar demographic in Western Sydney she understood the issues experienced by the South Grafton community.
"South Grafton does get such negative press, however there is a really beautiful, vibrant community in this area.
"There is a part that needs to be nurtured and supported to rise above the not-so-good things that happen. Plus, the children here are just beautiful."
Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis said it was clear Ms Stacey was the inspiration and driving force behind many programs introduced at Camellia Cottage.
"Amanda is our unsung hero," he said. "She has made incredible inroads into improving people's lives through the work that she does.
"The programs she has implemented are terrific because they are born in South Grafton and tailored to address the specific issues faced by the local community.
"I feel she richly deserves to be recognised for the wonderful job she does helping the less fortunate in our local community."
As Woman of the Year, Amanda will travel to Sydney next week to attend the statewide Women of the Year Awards ceremony at Darling Harbour.
The event will be attended by the Premier and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs.
"I feel really honoured to that Chris would nominate me," she said.
"It's something I never would have considered in a million years."