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Finalists Announced for National Community Sector Awards


Tuesday, 18th October 2016 at 2:58 pm
Lina Caneva, Editor
Australia’s top community sector organisations and professionals have been recognised, with 12 finalists announced in the 2016 HESTA Community Sector Awards.


Tuesday, 18th October 2016
at 2:58 pm
Lina Caneva, Editor


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Finalists Announced for National Community Sector Awards
Tuesday, 18th October 2016 at 2:58 pm

Australia’s top community sector organisations and professionals have been recognised, with 12 finalists announced in the 2016 HESTA Community Sector Awards.

The finalists range from organisations assisting homeless youth, supporting artists with an intellectual disabilities, providing free legal information and delivering job support for women experiencing social disadvantage.

The awards acknowledge outstanding contributions to social justice in Australia, through the provision of high-quality services, programs and initiatives across the categories of Unsung Hero, Outstanding Organisation and Social Impact.

HESTA CEO Debby Blakey said the finalists were selected from an exceptional field of nominations.

“These organisations and individuals demonstrate outstanding leadership in developing community programs and initiatives that promote greater equity and social justice for those facing disadvantage,” Blakey said.

“This important work has a lasting impact and significantly improves the lives of others by advocating for social change and giving a voice to those who otherwise may not be heard. We are proud to acknowledge the contribution they make and help provide the recognition they deserve.”

The 2016 finalists are:

Unsung Hero Award

  • Anne Mitchell from Concern Australia for leading the homelessness outreach program Steps. Steps engage with homeless youth, helping them develop a sense of self-worth and equipping them to create a more positive future for themselves.
  • Dr Claire Jones from Australian Care and Trauma Services. Jones was nominated for developing and implementing a unique service model to help refugees and their health care providers overcome the many barriers they face in achieving health equality.
  • Janne Bidenko from DeafBlind Association (NSW) Inc. Bidenko has demonstrated commitment and made an outstanding contribution to promoting social inclusion and awareness of the unique needs of people who are Deafblind.
  • Ronald Briggs from Children’s Protection Society for leading a number of community initiatives and programs that provide culturally appropriate support services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men, fostering better connections with their community and families.  

Outstanding Organisation Award

  • Arts Project Australia for supporting artists with an intellectual disability by providing sustained and individualised pathways into the professional visual arts.
  • Communicare Inc. for developing Communicare Breathing Space, which aims to build safety for women and children by providing unique interventions to protect them against family violence.
  • Youth Involvement Council for its Deadly Hearts outreach program developed by the Youth Involvement Council of South Hedland, providing structured activities and care for children aged five to 10 years who have been identified as at risk of social exclusion and family violence.
  • SHINE for Kids Cooperative Ltd for developing the Colourful Dreaming program to support children of incarcerated Aboriginal men by facilitating a community support network for those affected.

Social Impact Award

  • Advocare Incorporated for supporting older people and people with disabilities, by offering independent information, education and advocacy services that deal with aged care issues and elder abuse.
  • Fitted for Work for providing a range of programs to help women experiencing social disadvantage, by assisting them in finding rewarding jobs. The program focuses on building their knowledge, job-finding skills, confidence and self worth.
  • Justice Connect Not-for-profit Law for providing high-quality, free and low-cost legal information, advice and training to community organisations across Australia.
  • Women with Disabilities Victoria for contributing to the review and formation of government policy and services, including giving evidence and research to the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence.

The winner of each category will share in a $30,000 prize pool, courtesy of awards sponsor ME Bank. The Unsung Hero and the Social Impact Award winners will each receive $10,000 in a ME EveryDay Transaction Account with the Outstanding Organisation Award winner receiving a $10,000 development grant to further implement their program or initiative.

Winners will be announced at the 2016 HESTA Community Sector Awards on 17 November 2016.


Lina Caneva  |  Editor |  @ProBonoNews

Lina Caneva has been a journalist for more than 35 years, and Editor of Pro Bono Australia News since it was founded in 2000.

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