A multi-million-dollar fundraiser, a creator of a men’s survival handbook and app, a café catering to people living with dementia and a local government committed to positive ageing were winners at the WA Seniors Awards 2018.

The WA Seniors Awards honour the important contribution of seniors, and local governments and businesses that support older people to stay connected and involved.
Vincenzo Garreffa, winner of the metropolitan Juniper 2018 WA Lifetime Achievement Award, devotes more than half his time to fundraising and has raised more than $3 million for Lifeline.

Regional winner of the award Grant Westthorp was honoured for his contribution to the health and wellbeing of men in the Great Southern region, including the development of a “survival handbook” and app to promote personal resilience.

The City of Fremantle was the inaugural winner of the Age Friendly Local Government Award for its work in promoting positive ageing and incorporating this ethos into its every day work.

The Age Friendly Business Award – also a first this year – was won by Coffea Fine Espresso Café for providing a safe and welcoming environment for people living with dementia and their carers through its memory café.
The WA Seniors Awards 2018 are presented by the Council on the Ageing (WA) in partnership with the Department of Communities.

Finalists and Winners

Juniper 2018 WA Lifetime Achievement Award Metropolitan Winner

Vincenzo Garreffa
Vincenzo Garreffa has a passion for food and giving. At age 67 he devotes more than half his time to raising money and offering his services for charity events to raise funds for Lifeline. For 21 years Mr Garreffa has held an annual brunch in his backyard and has raised more than $3 million for the charity. This year the event raised more than $400,000. Mr Garreffa believes if you are going to donate then you donate everything. His catch cry is: there is nothing better than food, hospitality and generosity.


Graeme Bland
Graeme Bland has provided a lifetime of service. He joined the Royal Australian Airforce in 1957 and served in Malaya, Thailand and Australia. After retirement Mr Bland joined the RAAF Association (WA Division) in 1991 and has contributed greatly to the Association, particularly to the Aviation Heritage Museum. He has been an active volunteer and fundraiser for the museum over many years. Mr Bland also works as a pension officer assisting veterans to access their full entitlements. He was awarded Life Membership of the Air Force Association for his extensive work in the WA division.

Nilda Eisen
Since settling in Perth in 1972 from Argentina, Nilda Eisen has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) communities. Ms Eisen has been a member of the Board of Umbrella Multicultural Community Care Services for 14 years and president since 2009. Ms Eisen has initiated programs, including raising awareness of elder abuse and encouraging breast screening services for CaLD communities. She volunteers for Books on Wheels, Stirling Silver Program and is a Justice of the Peace for the City of Stirling and the State Library.

Juniper 2018 WA Lifetime Achievement Award Regional Winner

Grant Westthorp
For more than 10 years Grant Westthorp has contributed significantly to the health and wellbeing of men in the Great Southern region. Mr Westthorp, now a senior himself, is the Chief Executive Officer of the Men’s Resource Centre in Albany. His aim is to help men develop personal resilience. He identified the need for a men’s survival handbook after fielding questions during 8000 wellness checks conducted by the Centre. The first book was released in 2013 and more than 18,000 copies have been distributed. Through the McCusker Citizenship Internship Program, Mr Westthorp developed the book into an app that has had 2000 downloads across Australia, New Zealand and the USA.


Faye Dean
Karajarri Elder Faye Dean lives in the Bidyadanga Community in the north west. Since 2014 she has been working with the Dementia Partnership Project for the Bidyadanga community in conjunction with Alzheimer’s WA. Ms Dean is the community care team leader and has driven the project through its two-year implementation period. The project assists stakeholders to interact with people living with dementia and better understand their needs to reduce negative stereotyping. This increased understanding has encouraged people in remote communities to age in place on their traditional country.

Mary Elizabeth Williams
About five years ago Mary Williams instigated the Stepping Out 2 Program in Denmark to connect community members who were isolated and lonely. Through the program she became aware of the impact of cancer treatment on people in regional areas. With the help of volunteers, Ms Williams has lobbied local, state and federal governments, clocked up 75,000km and raised more than $25,000 to establish a radiation facility in Albany. The federal government has announced it will fund up to $6.6 million towards the facility. Ms Williams is a wonderful example of what can be done to change and enhance rural communities.

Age Friendly Local Government Award Winner

The City of Fremantle
The City of Fremantle is committed to assisting people to age positively and actively. Its dedicated Positive Ageing Officer collaborates with many providers about seniors’ activities. The City is recognised by the World Health Organisation and is a member of the Global Network for Age Friendly Cities and Communities. The City runs a broad range of programs, including recreational, wellbeing and learning opportunities, to maintain and increase social participation of older people. It has a focus on ensuring older people have equal opportunity to access the City’s facilities and that housing is designed to meet the needs of older people now and in the future.


The City of Joondalup
The City of Joondalup offers a comprehensive program to promote a positive view of seniors and ageing. It contributes significantly to the lives of older residents through programs such as the Community Transport Program, the Platinum 50+ adventure program, Duncraig Seniors Centre, Books on Wheels and the Get on Board program which encourages and assists seniors to use public transport. The City has a draft Age Friendly Community Plan and offers age friendly training for businesses in the area. More than 32 per cent of the City’s population is made up of people aged 50 and over.

Age Friendly Business Award Winner

Coffea Fine Espresso Café
Located in the AMP Garden City Age Friendly Shopping Centre, Coffea Fine Espresso Café was one of the first businesses to join the Melville Age Friendly Accessible Business network established in 2016. After consultation with management and feedback from people in the area, owner Euro Lumb began a monthly memory café where people with dementia and their carers could come to a welcoming and safe space. More than 1000 people have attended the memory café. People who live with dementia and their families also visit the café more regularly as they feel safe, respected and well served by the trained staff.


Kings Tours and Travel
Kings Tours and Travel is a family business established more than 30 years ago to provide tours for older people. Now owned by second generation Jenny Franceschi, Kings is an age friendly business with team members aged from 25 to 75. Kings offers specialised travel services for older people and has many touch points with their clients. Recently Kings established a social club for solo travellers purely to allow single people to connect and make friends, with no promotion of holidays at events.

Mandurah Taxis Pty Ltd
Operating in the Peel region since 1959, Mandurah Taxis takes a two-pronged approach to being age friendly. Firstly, they provide 24/7 demand, door to door, capped price personalised transport including wheelchair access vehicles. The option of pink taxis with female only drivers has also proven popular with their older passengers. Secondly Mandurah Taxis assists older people with employment with a team of experienced drivers aged 70 and over who work part time and stay connected with their community.