Community heroes recognised
2 December 2019 at 4:45 pm
The winners of the 2019 HESTA Community Sector Awards will receive $10,000 in prize money
A charity helping Victorians beat addiction through self-help programs, a program keeping young Aboriginal people out of prisons and an advocate for single mothers have taken out the top prizes at this year’s community sector awards.
The annual HESTA award night, held in Canberra on Friday, awarded the prizes across three categories; outstanding organisation, unsung hero, and social impact, with the three winners picked from a pool of 11 national finalists.
The Melbourne-based Self Help Addiction Resource Centre (SHARC) was named this year’s outstanding organisation for its programs that combine the lived experience of recovered addicts alongside successful self-help treatment programs.
Heather Pickard, SHARC’s CEO, said this approach to rehabilitation not only empowered people but was highly effective.
“Overcoming addiction can be a difficult and long journey for people, maintaining their recovery and rebuilding their lives is a long-term challenge that requires ongoing support,” Pickard said.
She said the organisation would invest the prize money into developing online and digital platforms to better reach people in rural and regional areas.
Therese Edwards was named as this year’s unsung hero for her advocacy work with the National Council of Single Mothers and their Children Inc, which connects single mothers to services and a support network of women using social media to help them overcome isolation, hardship, and violence.
Sydney-based group Just Reinvest was picked for the social impact award for its community-led justice reinvestment programs that invest resources into crime prevention rather than prisons.
HESTA CEO Debby Blakey said this year’s winners had developed services and programs that rose to the challenge of addressing some of the nation’s most pressing social justice issues.
“Through their dedication and professional excellence, they’ve supported so many people across the country, helping them to pave a pathway to a better future,” Blakey said.
“The work of our winners is truly inspiring. We’re immensely proud to be able to help shine a light on their achievements through the 2019 HESTA Community Sector Awards.”