Bega Valley's Sarah Bancroft has youth work recognised with 2021 Rotary Inspirational Woman award

HOW GOOD IS SARAH: Thrilled Rotarians Beth Moore and Lynn Koerbin celebrate the recognition of Sarah Bancroft's work with youth in the Bega Valley.
HOW GOOD IS SARAH: Thrilled Rotarians Beth Moore and Lynn Koerbin celebrate the recognition of Sarah Bancroft's work with youth in the Bega Valley.

Sarah Bancroft is well-known to the youth of the Bega Valley for the time she spends in preschools, primary and high schools and with Indigenous youth sporting programs.

Now she has been recognised for her work on a bigger stage after the Rotary Clubs of NSW named her not only, Rural Inspirational Woman of the Year, but also the overall winner, 2021 Rotary Inspirational Woman.

The award was announced by NSW Governor Margaret Beazley in an online ceremony.

Sarah was selected from 20 finalists from all parts of the state after supporting submissions were made by Beth Moore of Pambula Rotary and quite independently by Matt Wegert of Katungul.

Judging focuses on the level of commitment, dedication, perseverance and proactivity in improving the lives of others.

Lynne Koerbin from Pambula Rotary said they were "super excited when Sarah was announced as the winner of her rural category.

"But then she was announced as the overall winner. Such a fantastic achievement and wonderful recognition of Sarah's work in the community," Ms Koerbin said.

NSW Minister for Women Bronnie Taylor said the awards highlighted the incredible commitment, generosity and passion of women all across the state.

"This important event celebrates those women who give so much of their time and energy to enrich their communities and improve people's lives."

Sarah is a youth officer with the Youth and Crime Prevention Command of the NSW Police and is also attached to PCYC (Police Citizens Youth Clubs).

With the entire Bega Valley Shire to cover, Sarah has her work cut out but spends one morning every week at boxing brekkie clubs she has established in Eden and Bega.

Through PCYC, there is link with Rotary - who with NSW Police founded PCYC in 1937 - and local clubs have been quick to support Sarah with funds, donations and helping hands at the brekkie clubs.

Just recently, with help from Rotary, Sarah has been delivering 500 bags containing sports balls and art supplies to at risk youth to encourage them away from screens.

Sarah says the job is mainly about positive mentoring but points to a couple of major issues affecting the shire's youth.

"We don't have a youth refuge down here, the nearest is Moruya. There's also a three-month wait for an appointment at a mental health clinic," Sarah said, adding that Headspace did a wonderful job but needed more people.

"Also having a council that was a bit more proactive in the youth space would be helpful," she said.

This story Bega Valley's Sarah Bancroft has youth work recognised with 2021 Rotary Inspirational Woman award first appeared on Merimbula News Weekly.

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