Project to protect seniors wins
IT STARTED as a response to a community need and blossomed into one week’s worth of activities across the Southern Downs.
When Senior Constable Sarah Ellis began to coordinate ways to make Warwick senior citizens feel safe from crime, she had no idea how well it would catch on.
Now, the Who’s Missing – Seniors Project has won a state award, being recognised among the best policing projects from across Queensland.
Snr Cnst Ellis and Senior Sergeant Stewart Day went to Brisbane for the Queensland Police Service Awards for Excellence on Thursday, hoping to come back with a highly commended.
They didn’t expect to take out gold.
“We did a lot better than we thought,” Snr Cnst Ellis laughed.
“But the project certainly couldn’t have been something we could have done on our own.
“We have to acknowledge the community groups and organisations that helped pull it all together.”
Some of those include Crime Stoppers, Warwick Senior Citizens, WIRAC, Southern Downs Regional Council and Queensland Health.
Last year, Snr Cnst Ellis realised more needed to be done to help reduce the fear of crime among older people in Warwick.
“If someone in a pensioners’ home had $15 stolen from their wallet, they would bar up the windows and not trust many people,” she said.
“That results in isolation and a restricted lifestyle as a result of the fear of crime.”
Snr Cnst Ellis began to put together activities to lure older people out to become more involved in the community.
The activities, which go hand in hand with National Seniors Week next week, include a 1950s film showing, tai chi class, music in the park and much more.
This year, the activities will spread from Warwick to Killarney and as far south as Stanthorpe.
The Who’s Missing – Senior’s Project beat finalists such as Fiscal the Fraud Fighting Ferret and Brisbane-based police project SOS – Seniors Online Security.
Snr Sgt Day said he was “very proud” of Snr Cnst Ellis’s achievements.
“It’s a credit to her fine, outstanding work in Warwick and district,” he said.