“I launched my career from a small office at the Coffs Harbour Community Village on the 14th May 1996, with a desk, a phone, and a small amount of recurrent annual funding.

I was 32, still studying, yet feeling excited and a little overwhelmed from the immensity of what I had taken on. This became the start of Neighbour Aid.

Forced to fill many roles in those early days, I can now identify two major things that brought about the overall success and continued growth of the Neighbour Aid program.

The first was the strong local networking that occurred from the start. I was able to develop close working relationships with other aged, disability, and local health providers, many of whom continue to have partnerships with us to this day.

The second was my ability to identify gaps in services available at the time, and work on ways to improve this for our clients.

The social bus outings are a great example. The idea of taking some of our most socially isolated clients out to lunch together grew in demand, until I needed to move from individual cars to hiring a small bus.

In 2017 we rebranded to Linked to Life, as a means to modernise and improve our professional image in the local community. This change was created because we wanted a name that depicted exactly what we do and what we stand for.

What I have always loved about Linked to Life, and what makes us stand out to others, is our ability to be personal, and really understand and care about people.

This is a quality I look for in our team, and especially when employing new people. I believe the reason we have such high retention amongst our staff and volunteers is because we share these same values, which are then expressed and instilled in our clients.

Looking back I think what has given me the greatest work satisfaction is the change that growth has brought about, and with change comes new learning and the opportunity to adapt and grow personally and professionally.

Being involved in taking the service from its small beginnings into what it is today provides me with a great sense of pride and satisfaction.

True quality can only be measured by the level of satisfaction experienced by our clients, volunteers and team. Our solid reputation is built on our grassroots, hands-on approach to service provision, and I never want for that to change.”

Donna Kerr | November 2020

Linked to Life Founder Donna Kerr