Benjamin Cooper Trust- SYFS

Why Do I Do It?

Benjamin was my only child who died in 2020 aged 46. When he was younger I was the Chairperson of the Wollongong Youth Refuge which has since grown to become Southern Youth and Family Services (SYFS). They are a well-respected registered charitable organisation providing support and care for young people and families who are homeless or at risk of being homeless and supporting them to be able to maintain secure accommodation.

Ben was supportive of what they did so I have set up a Trust Fund in his name and the first two Awards have gone to worthy recipients. To be eligible they must be young men who have progressed through the service but have no other support for them to undertake further study, or need support to establish themselves in Independent living situations.

All donations go directly to SYFS who will receipt the donation which is tax deductible.

Account Name Southern Youth and Family Services

BSB 062-609

A/C No. 00902337

The inaugural recipient of the Benjamin Cooper Award was Zayne a young man working in the community sector currently after a tumultuous few years and who wanted to go back to study and become a qualified worker in the Disability sector. The Award will pay his tuition fees as well as purchasing books. He also received an additional Award for his contribution to SYFS during the year which was a new computer to assist with his studies.

I had the honour of presenting Zayne with the Award which was not known to him in advance. His grandmother with whom he now lives and cares for was in the audience at the presentation and she was thrilled for her grandson as well.

NB Zayne decided to start his own business instead and has been working with Business support to do that. He now has clients of his own.

The 2022 recipient of the Benjamin Cooper Award was a younger Aboriginal boy, Lincoln, who has been assisting at Welcome to Country ceremonies with his Elders but has not had a didgeridoo of his own to play on those occasions. I was able to present him with his own “didge” which will enable him to continue to develop his cultural understanding and participation as he attends and works at cultural ceremonies.

Lincoln was also unaware that he would receive the Award and was overwhelmed that he would now not have to borrow an instrument when he was asked to assist. I have since received a lovely thank you card from Lincoln telling me how much he has appreciated the Award.

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