Beryl Nielsen OAM

picture of Beryl wearing dark jacket with Certificate
Certificate of Appreciation

Beryl Nielsen established the John and Beryl Nielson Winchester Foundation in 2011 to assist rural and remote children with educational expenses. Since starting the foundation, Mrs Nielsen has provided almost $1.1 million in bursary’s to over 160 students living in rural and remote Queensland. This financial generosity is to be commended in selflessness and genuine good spirit in providing support to rural and remote students. Mrs Nielsen’s bursaries help to ease the financial burden of families who have children boarding away from home to access education or attending university away from their regions.
Beryl and her late husband John lived at Winchester Downs situated via Moranbah where Beryl still resides. The foundation started when following Johns death Beryl wanted to give something back to rural communities and so the Winchester Foundation was established. Mrs Nielson was motivated by a feeling that bush children’s education both secondary and tertiary can suffer due to location, which should not be a barrier to equal access to education.
Her support allows families to provide equal access to education where the financial burden is great, alleviating stress to families through her generous bursaries. Mrs Nielsen’s Winchester Foundation not only supports individual families with schooling and university costs but also supports events where country children gather such as the Whitsunday Voices Youth Literature Festival at the Whitsunday Anglican School.
What started off with a group of 93 students from the Brigalow Schools west of Mackay in 2013, has now developed into an event where over 400 students from the Brigalow Schools, Pioneer Valley Schools, Country Schools north and south of Mackay and also students from Capricornia School of Distance Education Rockhampton and Charters Towers School of Distance Education Clermont Outreach Group attended. The Winchester Foundation pays for all expenses for the children travelling to and attending the sessions, the Brigalow students and their teachers and aids are accommodated for two nights at the Kinchant Dam Education Camp. Students and staff are also provided with morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea, together with a Winchester Foundation shirt.
Along with financial support Beryl offers an opportunity for families to connect by hosting an event, that has become known as “Winchester Day”, on her property. Past and present recipients and their families are invited to the luncheon, which gives recipients on opportunity to say thank You to Beryl and her team in person. Due to the ongoing drought throughout Western Queensland, the many families that Beryl has helped now covers a large part of Queensland. Some families travel for several days to attend and show their appreciation to Beryl in person.
Her support does not stop there, she also provides support to ICPA state conferences in the form of sponsorship where she can network with current and prospective families while helping to further equal access to education for rural and remote students. The Winchester Foundation has been supporters of ICPA for the last 5 years being a major yearly sponsor. The final personal touch that Mrs Nielsen adds to the support offered to families is via her personal and genuine interest in following our children’s progress via regular individual correspondence with bursary recipients. She enjoys celebrating the success and growth of recipients. It is a privilege for families to share their successes with her and foster her connection to rural and remote children. Beryl Nielsen - Qld Certificate of Appreciation presentation 5-06-2019 Charters Towers