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Awarded for service to the Community
Entered on roll: 2005
Born at Franklin, Linda Johnson was educated at the Huonville District School. She married in 1970 and had two daughters. She completed a TAFE Diploma of Welfare Studies and in the late 1990s, she completed a postgraduate course in counselling with the Faculty of Education at the University of Tasmania.
Linda has been coordinator of Early Support for Parents (ESP) since its establishment in 1989. The philosophy of ESP is to strengthen Tasmanian communities by supporting families under stress. Trained volunteers achieve this objective through home visits to the families. Linda is responsible for the recruitment, training and supervision of volunteers, assessment of the needs of families and matching them with an appropriate volunteer. Linda’s position is funded for 25 hours a week, however, her dedication is such that she works many more unpaid hours to ensure the successful operation of the ESP program.
In 2000, Linda established a satellite ESP service in Cygnet, known as the Huon Valley Parent Support Network, training a core group of volunteers and providing ongoing supervision and mentoring. She also supervised the establishment of a second ESP satellite at Triabunna in 2003. Over the years, Linda has also conducted training sessions with other groups of volunteers in areas such as Burnie, Lauderdale and Bruny Island.
Linda was a foundation member of Volunteering Tasmania and the Tasmanian Association of Family Support Services. She was a member of the Relationships Australia Board for several years.
In recent years, Linda has been increasingly involved in supporting the growing group of grandparents who find themselves responsible for the full-time care of their grandchildren. In 1999, she set up a support group for custodial grandparents and became the volunteer coordinator. Linda has played a key role in publicising the social, emotional, legal and financial stresses placed on custodial grandparents.
In 2004, Linda received a Local Hero Award and was a finalist in the State section of the Australian of the Year award.