At the recent 2018 Boarding Australia (BA) Annual General Meeting long standing Board Director, former President and now life member, Jim Hopkins, tendered his resignation after 23 years of outstanding service.
‘Jim has made an exceptional voluntary contribution since the inauguration of Boarding Australia’s original organisation, the National Association for Rural Student Accommodation (NARSA),’ says BA President, Anthony Bennett.
As a founding member of the organisation Jim has served as President of both organisations during which time he helped shape and evolve NARSA/Boarding Australia to become a significant national body with capacity to make important contributions to the student boarding industry in Australia, particularly so in the areas of national standards, training, boarding policies and systems development as well as engagement with Indigenous communities.
His knowledge and understanding of boarding and residential care developed through his experience as teacher, principal, consultant and role as Director of WA Country High Schools Hostels Authority until his retirement in 2013.
The Childers Backpackers Hostel Fire in 2000 raised public awareness about safety in hostel accommodation and put the quality of boarding facilities onto the public agenda, a cause that Jim was determined to pursue.
In 2012 Boarding Australia received funding from the Australian Government to develop a set of boarding standards and assessment materials, involving support from a wide range of stakeholders including researchers, rural associations, educators, and those with housing and Indigenous affiliations. As the Working Party’s Chairperson, it was testament to the high regard in which Jim was held by others in the industry.
The subsequent publication of the ‘Boarding standard for Australian Schools and Hostels AS 5725’ through Standards Australia saw Jim as Boarding Australia’s representative using his boarding/residential knowledge and writing skills to contribute extensively to the process over a two-year period.
Colleague and Board Director, John Herd says, ‘In submitting his resignation Jim referred to the need to make way for new representatives, particularly Indigenous, on the Board but those of us who have worked with Jim know that his guidance, vision and passion will be missed.’
‘While stepping down from the Board, Jim has volunteered to contribute to BA’s work through committees, an offer we are very pleased to accept,’ says Herd.
Marie Wood, Boarding Australia Director