Community Achievement Awards for NSW & the ACT

2023 Winners

Awards Australia Connecting Communities Award

Theresa Mitchell of Tweed Heads began as a small act of kindness in 2009, when she couldn't walk past those in need on the streets. Today, Agape, located in Tweed Heads, operates with the dedication of 240 volunteers and 4 employees, offering a wide range of services to vulnerable individuals. They provide over 1000 hot meals every week, shower and laundry access, food hampers, case management, and life skills classes—all for free. Agape's unique model rescues edible food, minimising waste, and operates on a 98% volunteer workforce, ensuring low overheads. Theresa's vision includes reintroducing a psychology department and building tiny housing estates for the homeless—a testament to her unwavering commitment to serving the community with "unconditional love" (Agape).


Konica Minolta Customer Service Award

The Administration Agency of Dubbo is empowering businesses and fostering sustainable growth. The Administration Agency, formerly Performance PA, was founded by Louise Mathieson. Starting as a Virtual Assistant in 2019, Louise's journey led to the creation of a one-stop shop for small business administration. Her commitment to exceptional customer service and collaboration, from initial interaction to off-boarding, sets her apart Louise and her team handle tasks efficiently, from archiving emails to raising over $80,000 for a not-for-profit. They prioritise client feedback, ensuring every interaction exceeds expectations. Beyond business success, Louise sponsors local events like the Vinnies CEO Winter Sleepout, embodying her dedication to the community.


NSW Government Council Crown Land Management Excellence Award

Tenterfield Shire Council manages the two-hectare Old Power House Reserve. The reserve has undergone a remarkable metamorphosis, emerging as a dynamic Youth Precinct nestled at the heart of the town. It now welcomes residents of all ages, offering a rich tapestry of recreational, social, and cultural activities. Its carefully designed infrastructure includes a skatepark, mountain bike skills track, yarning circle, and accessible pathways, fostering inclusivity and accessibility for all. Through community engagement and collaboration, the reserve has not only revitalised the town's spirit but also reinforced its sense of identity. The Council's visionary approach has truly transformed this space into a thriving community hub.


NSW Government Crown Land Management Excellence Award

Tingha Recreation Reserve Land Managers of Tingha is a passionate group of retirees who've breathed new life into Tingha Recreation Reserve. Through their dedication and resourcefulness, they've secured over $200,000 in grants, resulting in vital improvements to the club's infrastructure. This includes a new floor, enhanced lighting, security cameras, and gates, effectively mitigating safety and security risks. Beyond these physical enhancements, they commitment community engagement by actively promoting the reserve through hosting various events and activities. From ANZAC Day commemorations to family fun days, their efforts have revitalised the reserve as well as fostered a strong sense of community spirit and pride in the charming town of Tingha.

NSW Government Individual Excellence in Crown Land Management Award

Christine Adams at Broken Hill stands at the heart of the Sulphide Street Railway & Historical Museum. Christine’s tenure since 2008 includes being a secretary, treasurer, and curator. Through her adept grant applications, the museum underwent vital preservation assessments, birthing new museum spaces such as the Migrant Museum, Transport Pavilion, and more. Christine fosters community involvement with open days, inviting locals to embrace their museum and heritage. Her dedication extends beyond the walls, supporting volunteers' initiatives, like paving and maintenance. Her induction into the 2023 Nydia Edes Volunteer Hall of Fame cements her legacy as the driving force behind the Sulphide Street Railway & Historical Museum.

 Transgrid Leadership Award


Louise Azzopardi of Londonderry embodies leadership through resilience and determination. Louise is a trailblazing tradeswoman. From her initiation into a male-dominated trade at 15, she became a certified trainer and assessor, guiding over 100 apprentices. Louise's commitment extends to coaching tradeswomen through diverse challenges, from mental health issues to workplace dynamics. Her legacy transcends barriers, inspiring women to thrive in non-traditional trades. Louise's reach has extended globally, nurturing a supportive community for tradespeople. Her podcast and Facebook group empower the next generation, ensuring they navigate their path with confidence and resilience. In the realm of trade, she's a leader and a catalyst for cultural change.

The Career College Small Business Award


Community Cafe Incorporated of Sadleir has unwavering commitment to the community. They went from serving bread on a driveway during Covid-19 to operating a thriving outreach service store. In just 40 weeks, they've provided 67,000 homemade meals to 23,600 local individuals and families. The short-term goal is to create a welcoming space for immediate relief, support, and education. Their long-term vision includes a groundbreaking social enterprise cafe, offering an 'earn while you learn' opportunity for the disadvantaged, and a free childcare centre to remove barriers for parents. Facing challenges and securing their premises, Community Cafe Incorporated's impact is profound, fostering a stronger, more supportive community.

Synaco Safety Award

William Blakeman of Griegs Flat has transitioned his maritime career into an exemplary commitment to safety and community service. As Training Officer and Unit Commander at Marine Rescue NSW - Merimbula Unit, he relentlessly focuses on professional development, operational readiness, and emergency response preparedness. Bill's dedication has directly benefited the entire boating community, volunteers, and the broader public by ensuring highly trained crews are ready for any emergency. His efforts have resulted in successful rescues and instilled a culture of safety and collaboration. Bill's visionary leadership extends to fundraising and campaigning for essential resources. His impact on safety and community is immeasurable and enduring.