Music, law and disadvantage feature in community services awards for excellence
An inclusive music network run by volunteers, a legal service for disadvantaged people and a leadership program for young Indigenous people are among the winners at this year’s Community Services Excellence Awards.
The winners of the biennial awards were announced last night at a gala ceremony in Perth, the broadest gathering of community services representatives in Western Australia.
The Department for Communities in partnership with the Western Australian Council of Social Service (WACOSS) proudly co-present the Awards.
The winners included Catch Music, which promotes music among Perth’s disadvantaged people and Midland Information, Debt and Legal Advocacy Service, which offers free services to people in the north eastern metropolitan region.
Community Services Minister Robyn McSweeney said the standard of nominations for the awards were among the highest she had seen.
“These awards are an opportunity to pay tribute to the community services sector for its outstanding contribution to improving the lives of Western Australia’s most vulnerable people,” Mrs McSweeney said.
“They also demonstrate the successful way the State Government works in partnership with the not-for-profit sector to deliver innovative and effective programs for disadvantaged Western Australians.
“I congratulate everyone who entered this year’s awards and for making a contribution to supporting the community services sector. Your achievements are making a significant difference to the lives of people in your communities,” Mrs McSweeney said.
The Community Services Sector Choice Award was won by The Halo Leadership Development Agency for its work with young Indigenous people, providing advocacy, programs and networking opportunities. The award provides an opportunity for finalists to be recognised by peers through online voting.
The 2012 Community Services Excellence Awards winners are:
CATEGORY 1 – ORGANISATIONS
Community Services Excellence Award – Volunteer-Based Organisation
At the heart of Catch Music’s philosophy is the belief that making music as a group brings people together, creates social opportunities and builds an inclusive and friendly community. Catch Music encourages participation from people of all backgrounds and abilities, including people with a disability, their families and carers. The group values the unique contributions of its participants and provides an opportunity for them to develop their love of music in a supportive and positive environment. Since it was established in 2007, the organisation now runs eight community jam sessions across Perth each week.
Community Services Excellence Awards – Small Organisation
KALGOORLIE BOULDER URBAN LANDCARE GROUP – BETTER ENVIRONMENT – BETTER LIFESTYLE PROGRAM
The Kalgoorlie Boulder Urban Landcare Group has helped to establish and conserve the local environment in the Goldfields for over 40 years. With a focus on sustainability, public awareness and action, the group engages the Kalgoorlie community to produce meaningful, worthwhile community projects that rehabilitate and enhance the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder’s environment while fostering community spirit. Activities include junior land care, water wise education, bush walks and recycling programs. Since 2000, more than 110 000 trees and shrubs have been planted as part of the group’s activities. With more than 500 members, the group is well positioned to continue its active contribution to the community for years to come.
Community Services Excellence Awards – Medium Organisation
SIDS AND KIDS WESTERN AUSTRALIA – REDUCING THE RISK OF SIDS IN ABORIGINAL COMMUNITIES PROGAM
SIDS and Kids Western Australia's Reducing the Risk of SIDS in Aboriginal Communities (RROSIAC) program seeks to educate Aboriginal families about reducing the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and sleep accidents.
The program has been successfully operating throughout Western Australia since 2005. It is the first program of its kind in Australia, offering culturally appropriate information to Indigenous people. SIDS and Kids Western Australia operates online and social networking services, school programs, community events and counselling support.
Community Services Excellence Award – Large Organisation
Anglicare WA works to make a difference in three main areas: relationships, housing and financial stress. Anglicare provides 57 services in 35 locations across the state from as far north as Kununurra to as far south as Albany, and is taking a lead role in the establishment of the Foyer, Australia’s first purpose built facility providing 98 young people with support as they transition to independent living. It also offers a children’s domestic violence service, and Stepping Stones – a school-based program for young people whose parents have separated. In the past year alone, Anglicare has provided assistance to around 35 000 Western Australians.
CATEGORY 2 – REGIONAL
Community Services Excellence Award – Regional Organisation
YMCA OF PERTH – SWIM FOR LIFE: FIRST TIME JOBS PROGRAM
The YMCA delivers an Aboriginal youth employment program known as “Swim for Life – First time Jobs” in the Pilbara. The program is designed to create ‘first-time’ employment opportunities by qualifying Aboriginal young people as professional lifeguards. As well as providing a qualification and employment, Swim for Life encourages the development of positive role models, and improves the social and emotional wellbeing of participants. To date, 40 young people have been employed as lifeguards, over half of them young women.
CATEGORY 3 – PARTNERSHIPS AND STRATEGIC ALLIANCES
Community Services Excellence Award – Partnerships and Strategic Alliances
YMCA OF PERTH – SWIM FOR LIFE: FIRST TIME JOBS PROGRAM
The YMCA delivers an Aboriginal youth employment program known as Swim for Life – First time Jobs in Hedland located in the Pilbara. The program creates
‘first-time’ employment opportunities by enabling Aboriginal young people to qualify as professional lifeguards. As well as providing a qualification and employment, Swim for Life encourages positive role models and improves the social and emotional wellbeing of participants. To date, 40 young people have been employed as lifeguards, over half of them young women. The program is funded through partnership agreements with BHP Billiton Iron Ore, Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, Pindan Industrial College, Hedland Senior High School and Department of Corrective Services.
CATEGORY 4 – MEDIA AND PROMOTION
Community Services Excellence Award – Outstanding Achievement in Raising the Profile of Community Services to Western Australians
MIDLAS - MIDLAND INFORMATION, DEBT AND LEGAL ADVOCACY SERVICE INC. – MIDLAS SOCIAL INNOVATION PROGRAM
The Midland Debt and Legal Service offers six free services to disadvantaged and vulnerable people within their community. The work undertaken by MIDLAS is fundamental in reducing the levels of poverty and crime in the northern eastern metropolitan region of Perth. As part of its work, MIDLAS has implemented a highly effective social media campaign to disseminate relevant and up-to-date information and advocacy options to clients, raise awareness about the plight of the disadvantaged, and to collectively inform and build stronger connections with their wider networks. MIDLAS currently has six dedicated and integrated social media platforms.
CATEGORY 5 – INDIVIDUAL
Community Services Excellence Award – Outstanding Commitment by an Individual
DR GRAHAM FISHER
Trained as a general surgeon in South Africa, Dr Graham Fisher emigrated to Australia in 1977, and spent the next 22 years working in a Bunbury practice and across smaller hospitals in the South West region of Western Australia. In his retirement, Graham founded the Val Lishman Health Research Foundation, believing that a health research organisation would help to attract more health professionals to the region. He has worked in a voluntary capacity as Honorary Executive Officer, developing governance structures, educating the community, identifying, promoting and managing research projects, raising funds and developing partnerships. His work has enabled local research to be conducted into such areas as Ross River Virus, and suicide and road trauma management.
COMMUNITY SERVICES SECTOR PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD
The Halo Leadership Development Agency Inc
The Halo Leadership Development Agency is one of a kind – a unique, not-for-profit youth led organisation, driven by Aboriginal young men for Aboriginal young men. Using a unique peer mentoring model the agency listens to the needs of Aboriginal young people and their families, provides advocacy, programs and networking opportunities that enable individuals to discover who they are, design their own futures and make a difference in their community. All Halo youth workers are under 25 and have a strong commitment to breaking the cycle of offending within the Aboriginal community, advancing hopes, aspirations and leadership opportunities.