Queensland Community Achievement Awards

2023 Finalists 


Australia Pacific LNG Community Hero Award

Angelique Hallett is the heart behind Loving Hope Bears, an initiative that has gifted 1012+ teddy bears to children in domestic violence shelters throughout Queensland. These significantly impact the children's lives, giving them something to love and to hold. Teddy bears have a proven positive developmental impact on children, helps reduce anxiety, strengthen their ability to express themselves and form relationships. Angelique's goal is to give hope to these children in difficult situations and spread a powerful and positive message. She strives to give back to the community by supporting the emotional needs of children affected by domestic violence

Nick Steiner is leading the charge against food insecurity in Queensland. Nick is the visionary Founder of The Mini Farm Project. His Project is sowing the seeds of change with initiatives like their farm at Loganlea State High School. Over 50,000 Logan residents grappling with daily food shortages find relief in the Project. Nick unites communities, businesses, and youth to tackle this pressing issue. His efforts have also reshaped the educational landscape, breaking down misconceptions about university life for high school students. Nick's remarkable work, now supported by the AMP Tomorrow Maker 2022 Grant, is revolutionising food security in communities.

Super Max & Bryce (SMB) of Burleigh Heads was started in 2016 by Bryce U'Ren when he was nine. Supported by his dedicated mum, Amy Kenworthy, Bryce took action to share love, hope, happiness and comfort with every child in treatment for cancer in Australia and New Zealand. By the end of 2023, with the help of his mum and the community around him, Bryce will have gifted specially designed Super Max the Turtle night lights to over 6,800 young superheroes to connect them together with love through the stars. In 2018, Bryce extended his project to gift star-covered scarves and socks to parents and carers so they could also feel connected and loved.

Toby Peter Robinson overcame personal loss and health struggles, transforming his pain into boundless compassion. 12-year-old Toby volunteers with Sleepbus and local organisations, providing safe sleep spaces and meals for the homeless. His selflessness extends further; Toby spends his pocket money on food for the less fortunate and brightens strangers' days with chocolates and flowers. He understands the power of a smile and spreads joy relentlessly. Toby's journey is a testament to his resilience and the kindness he bestows upon others. This remarkable young soul embodies the spirit of a true community hero, making his corner of the world a better place for all.


Awards Australia Charitable Foundation Mental Health and Wellbeing Award

Bamboo Projects on the Sunshine Coast is offering a unique blend of community connection, personal purpose, and environmental conservation. Bamboo Projects was founded by Chris and Kristy Paterson as a transformative force in the realm of mental health and disability support. Their journey began with a simple yet profound idea: combining ocean clean-up initiatives with mental health advocacy. Chris, a mental health survivor, recognised the power of nature and camaraderie in healing. Their all-abilities accessible boat has already removed 27 tonnes of marine debris while providing a safe haven for individuals with disabilities and mental health challenges. They provide a lifeline for those at risk of marginalisation.

Inclusee is a not-for-profit charity dedicated to alleviating isolation and loneliness among older Australians by fostering meaningful connections and empowering them to engage with a virtual community centre. Through its Digital Programs and Virtual Community, trained volunteers provide companionship, support, and learning experiences that promote social engagement and personal growth for participants. Inclusee believes that everyone should be able to build lasting connections and enjoy a rich social life, regardless of their location or circumstances. The dynamic virtual community of Inclusee serves as a lifeline, significantly reducing social isolation and positively impacting the physical and mental health of older Australians.

The Yoga Partnership is forging connections and promoting mental, physical and social wellbeing. Amy Booth is changing lives across Queensland, co-founded this charity making yoga accessible, affordable and inclusive for all. Amy's relentless drive transcends yoga instruction, managing operations, website, social media, securing funding, client relationships and teacher mentoring, all outside of her own small business. Their free or low cost programs support seniors, refugees, cancer patients, disabled, rural, multicultural, homeless and Deaf communities, they have sponsored the training of a teacher in the remote town of Begonia and recently taught over 65 classes on an 11 day rural roadshow.

WYLD Projects, provides customised mentoring for Aboriginal Torres Striate Islander youths through integrated real-world projects. WYLD go beyond education and skills development, emphasising self-actualisation and personal growth as the core of their legacy-based learning projects. By instilling our “Better to Give “ethos, our youth become the best version of themselves, and find their role in community. WYLD Projects was birthed out of crisis travelling long distances to support Primary producers and community in crisis from natural disaster events. Our Better to Give mentoring camps provide our youth the opportunity to give back to community and country. “Meeting Needs with Seeds”.


Bendigo Bank Community Group of the Year Award

Baby Give Back- Volunteers of Varsity Lakes are committed to breaking the cycle of poverty for vulnerable families. Baby Give Back’s unsung heroes are its passionate volunteers who embody the spirit of compassion. These 300+ volunteers collect, clean, and carefully package essential baby items. They aim to give every child, regardless of their circumstances, a safe start to life. Since 2015, they have supported over 25,000 children facing poverty, domestic violence, and homelessness. Their dedication transcends material aid, fostering dignity and community connections. By working hand in hand with support workers, these volunteers help create a brighter future for disadvantaged families, one lovingly packaged item at a time.

Broken to Brilliant Charity was born in 2015 from the experiences of domestic violence survivors. With a dedicated team of around 70 volunteers, they provide transformative post-crisis and trauma-informed programs to empower survivors. From Equine, Art and Narrative Therapy and Financial Superwomen workshops to Rise to Rebuild and mentoring programs, they've transformed the lives of countless survivors. Broken to Brilliant's impact is a testament to the strength and resilience of survivors. They've opened two Op Shops to fund their mission: domestic violence survivors mentoring fellow survivors to recover, heal and rebuild. Creating a future for all who've experienced domestic abuse.

Care Kits for Kids Qld Inc of Camp Hill has been a beacon of hope for Queensland's children in crisis since 2018. Powered by compassionate senior volunteers and a supportive community, they have distributed over 7,500 Care Kits filled with essentials, warmth, and love to youngsters aged 0 to 17, instilling a sense of belonging and care. Operating without regular funding, they rely on grants, fundraising, and the generosity of donors. Their short-term goals include expanding their facilities to accommodate growing demand. Their unwavering mission is to ensure every child in need in Queensland receives a Care Kit, creating a lasting positive impact and sense of community support.

Domestic Violence Action Centre (DVAC) is a lifeline for individuals affected by domestic and sexual violence in the Ipswich and Toowoomba regions. With 26 years of unwavering service, DVAC offers counselling, advocacy, safety upgrades, and professional training. In the past year, they've interacted with over 9,000 clients, providing essential support. DVAC's mission transcends services; they strive to reduce the prevalence and impact of gender-based violence in our communities. Through partnerships, workshops, and systemic advocacy, DVAC leaves no stone unturned. Their holistic approach has achieved remarkable results, with over 96% of clients reporting feeling safer after their involvement. DVAC stands as a symbol of resilience and healing.

Queensland Association of School Tuckshops of Coorparoo (QAST) has been a beacon of hope for over 120 migrant and refugee women through their "Connections through Cooking" program. By connecting these women to volunteer roles in school tuckshops, they've broken down language and cultural barriers, fostering social inclusion and community bonds. The impact extends beyond the tuckshop, as participants gain English language skills and open doors to employment in catering and hospitality. Survey results show 100% reporting enjoyment, 80% practicing English, and 80% feeling better equipped for future employment. QAST's commitment to the social determinants of health and cultural competence training exemplifies their dedication to a brighter future for all.


The Career College Small Business Award

2 Bent Rods of Victoria Point is a standout in the fishing industry, redefining how people learn to fish. Established in 2004, 2 Bent Rods focuses on teaching fishing skills, particularly to children, bridging the generational gap. Their dedication to education, fun, and sustainability has won them national and local awards, including recognition for environmental excellence. Despite facing adversity, from weather-related cancellations to local council challenges, they have persevered, ensuring that everyone, from kids to families, can enjoy fishing while respecting nature. Beyond their fishing programs, they contribute significantly to reducing feral fish populations through pest fishing events, showcasing their commitment to environmental stewardship and community engagement.

Bee All Natural of Flagstone is on a mission to harness the power of bees and their gifts. Established in 2016, they are committed to bee conservation and sustainability. Bee All Natural has been recognised as State Government honey ambassadors. Their innovative infused creamed honey, using seconds fruit to reduce food waste, has captured the industry's imagination. Bee All Natural's extensive educational workshops and partnerships with schools and environmental organisations empower communities to understand bees' vital role. They've overcome supply chain challenges with diversified sourcing and navigated complex regulations to ensure quality. Their dedication to fostering environmental stewardship and bee well-being has earned them accolades.

Ellie Degraeve of Bokarina has revolutionised the landscape of sustainable online retail. Ellie is the visionary founder of Go For Zero. Her unwavering commitment to sustainability led to Go For Zero earning the esteemed B-corp status and redefining industry standards. Ellie's holistic approach encompasses sourcing, warehousing, and logistics, minimising the brand's environmental footprint. Beyond their eco-conscious practices, Go For Zero actively engages the community by partnering with Terracycle, empowering customers to recycle challenging waste and providing guidance for responsible choices. Ellie's dedication shines through charitable donations with each order and significant environmental contributions, making Go For Zero a powerful advocate for sustainable living.

Kelly Willmott and Amanda Shepherd are on a mission to empower disadvantaged people with digital literacy skills training and social support to Make Time Count. The duo founded Green Fox Training Studio, and built JumpStart, a ground-breaking Learning Management System, to bridge educational gaps and serve incarcerated youth, adults and marginalised women in community. Delivering services and forming partnerships with major education, government, and corporate clients, they’re also driving their impact across socially responsible business. Their work in fuelling social change has been recognised in numerous prestigious awards including the Prime Minister's Veterans Employment Awards, and national-level speaking opportunities including TEDxBrisbane.


Konica Minolta Customer Service Award

Creative Tours has redefined tourism on the Sunshine Coast by delivering authentic local experiences that connect travellers with regional produce and local stories. Led by founder Joshua Donohoe, their dedication to supporting local businesses has nurtured strong partnerships, particularly in the craft beer industry, contributing to the region's growth as Australia's Craft Beer Capital. They are also committed to sustainability and ethical business practices, earning them accreditation as a 'quality tourism accredited business' in sustainability. Collaborative efforts with Visit Sunshine Coast and Tourism Noosa have positioned the region prominently on the tourism map. Creative Tours is a true ambassador for local tourism.

Extraction Artisan Coffee of Slacks Creek has been a beacon of hospitality since 2016. Beyond their remarkable coffee and house-made food, this café has redefined the customer experience. They believe that genuine hospitality is more than a transaction; it's about creating connections. With full table service and a team dedicated to building relationships, Extraction Artisan Coffee welcomes each guest as if they were entering a friend's home. Their impact extends beyond the café as they generously sponsor, donate, and mentor in the community. Extraction Artisan Coffee isn't just a place for coffee; it's a haven where hospitality and community support thrive, leaving an indelible mark on Logan.

The Eclectic Mix (Vintage Store & Cafe)] Kylie Alcorn of Wynnum is the founder of The Eclectic Mix, a vintage store and cafe in Wynnum that is more than a business; it's a haven of inclusivity and heartfelt hospitality. Kylie's daily mission is to make every customer feel valued and heard, going the extra mile, even delivering purchases to those in need. She connects her patrons with essential services, providing guidance and support. Beyond her store, Kylie nurtures local artists and entrepreneurs and hosts events and workshops, showcasing the diversity of her community. Her impact is profound, transforming The Eclectic Mix into a symbol of warmth and togetherness in Wynnum.


Now I Can Run Disability Achievement Award

Access Learning and Training Pty. Ltd - Myrtil Butler-Woodall of Mitchell (ALTSkills) is advocating for inclusivity and empowerment in the remote town of Mitchell. Through innovative programs, including a day service, they've given individuals with disabilities opportunities to explore their interests in the Arts, learn essential life skills, and access real job prospects. They also provide emergency housing. ALTSkills extends their support to the broader community, addressing literacy gaps, healthcare access issues, and basic needs through various initiatives. They believe in lifelong learning and have helped individuals gain qualifications and skills, promoting self-sufficiency. ALTSkills fosters a community where everyone is valued and embraced, creating a lasting impact on the lives they touch.

Flynn Rigby of Kewarra Beach is committed to community service. Flynn volunteers at The Salvation Army and St Vincent De Paul, where he dedicates significant hours weekly. He also shares his travel experiences through his blog, "Everybody deserves a holiday." As someone with Autism and an intellectual impairment, Flynn's blog offers valuable insights into accessible travel and has inspired many to step out of their comfort zones. Flynn's writing has been featured in newspapers and magazines, providing a platform to promote accessible travel and inclusion. He also actively participates in studies and campaigns promoting accessibility, making a difference in the lives of people with disabilities.

InvincAble Pty Ltd -Natasha Price & Adam Sheppard of Upper Coomera has a relentless commitment to diversity and inclusion. Founded by Natasha Price and Adam Sheppard, their services range from consulting on accessible beach programs to specialised housing projects. Natasha and Adam share their stories and experiences, challenging unconscious biases and stereotypes. Their work extends to mentoring, coaching, and inspiring young minds about diversity and empathy. They've even ventured into adaptive trail running, working towards its recognition as an Olympic/Paralympic sport. InvincAble's mission is to create allies who champion diversity, dissolve biases, and foster a world where inclusion is the norm. Through humour, empathy, and storytelling, they've touched countless hearts and minds.

Juanita Hughes of Inala is a remarkable advocate and creative force. Despite her own battles with dementia (diagnosed in 2019) and physical disabilities, Juanita's dedication to raising dementia awareness is evident through her active involvement with Dementia Australia, shattering stereotypes and transformed lives. She plays a pivotal role in the Dementia Friendly Communities program and as a member of the Dementia Australia Advisory Committee. She is a subject matter expert with Dementia Learning Australia. In 2021, she launched the Western Brisbane Dementia Alliance, which sponsors a fortnightly dementia-friendly café. Beyond advocacy, her creative talents shine through as she crafts heartfelt cards and supports local charities.


QLD Family and Child Commission Dedicated to Supporting Young Queenslanders Award

Care Kits for Kids Qld Inc - Stephanie Hinrichs of Camp Hill has been a beacon of hope for Queensland's children in crisis since 2018. Powered by compassionate senior volunteers and a supportive community, they have distributed over 7,100 Care Kits filled with essentials, warmth, and love to youngsters aged 0 to 17, instilling a sense of belonging and care. Operating without regular funding, they rely on grants, fundraising, and the generosity of donors. Their short-term goals include expanding their facilities to accommodate growing demand. Their unwavering mission is to ensure every child in need in Queensland receives a Care Kit, creating a lasting positive impact and sense of community support. 

Everything Suarve Inc led by Founder Joseph Te Puni-Fromont are beacons of hope for vulnerable young people. Esuarve’s “Big Brother Program” focuses on mental well-being, life skills, qualifications and employment outcomes for youth aged 16-24. With over a 90.91% employment success rate, Esuarve’s work has significantly reduced local crime rates by 18.6%. They create a family environment, fostering resilience, self belief and ensuring young voices are heard. Their mission instills purpose in these young lives, but most importantly they are loved. Esuarve means “To Hold Yourself Well” and embodied by anyone through the Esuarve home.

Fight 4 Youth - Leisa J Logan of Currumbin has been nurturing the potential of young people from all walks of life for eight years. Their youth centre offers free programs, from mentoring to anti-bullying initiatives, shaping confident and resilient individuals. By connecting young offenders with the community, Fight 4 Youth fosters empathy and reduces recidivism. They've made an impact on education, crime prevention, and community engagement. Through their Inside Out program, young offenders hear the regrets of reformed ex-offenders, forging a path away from crime. Their dedication to teaching life skills, building healthy relationships, and creating purpose has positively shaped the future for both young people and the community.

Social Care Solutions is at the forefront of child protection services across Australia and New Zealand, providing high level consultancy, assessment, support and training to improve quality outcomes for children, young people and families. With a dedicated, values led, all female leadership team, SCS embodies a commitment to excellence and passion for driving change, and raising the standards of care to make a meaningful difference to those they work with. The team at SCS bring a diverse, compassionate and collaborative approach to child protection services, and are known for being industry disruptors and creating a positive impact in the sector.

YFS Step by Step Thriving Young Families of Slacks Creek is dedicated to helping young parents realise their aspirations while fostering thriving children. In 2022-23, they extended vital support to 126 families, encompassing 145 young parents and 132 children. Through counselling, mentoring, and housing expertise, they've bolstered parents' coping skills, expanded their support networks, and secured stable housing. Innovative initiatives like the Young Parent Influencers and integrated support models have given young parents a voice in service design and fostered empowerment. The Thriving Matrix assessment reflects a 17% overall improvement, with 88% of families feeling safer, demonstrating the positive impact of their comprehensive approach to family support.


Quota Beenleigh Leadership Award

Donna Bell of Biggera Waters, Donna embodies extraordinary leadership. Donna is the catalyst behind Phoenix Netball Club's resurgence. Taking the reins as President during a critical juncture, Donna's dynamic leadership has fostered inclusivity, financial stability, and growth. Through strategic sponsorships and grant acquisitions, she's reduced financial burdens on families and provided valuable training courses. Her commitment extends to community outreach, offering an "Introduction to Netball" program in local schools. Donna's approach to volunteer management empowers others, ensuring a thriving volunteer base. Her ultimate goal is to secure a dedicated clubhouse and courts, enriching the community further. Donna is inspiring everyone to embrace change and excel in sports.

Alan Sparks of Strathpine personifies a blend of tenacity, dedication, and innovation. Alan has been at the helm of East Coast Apprenticeships for over 25 years. He has revolutionised the organisation and uplifted marginalised communities. Alan's strategic vision, honed through his 27-year military career, has opened doors for ex-defence personnel, women in trades, and others, providing opportunities for growth and equality. His unwavering integrity and resilience have inspired trust, while his community roles amplify his impact. Alan's legacy encompasses empowerment, diversity, and inclusivity, leaving an indelible mark on individuals and society at large. His leadership endures as a beacon of hope and positive transformation.

Jack Growden is the Founder & CEO of LiteHaus International, a Townsville-based not-for-profit that has provided digital learning tools to over 150,000 students across Asia-Pacific. Passionate about conquering digital inequality, Jack aims to empower one million people by 2027. He has been honored as one of Queensland's Most Inspiring Queenslanders and has influenced individuals to start social impact movements. Jack's impact is far-reaching, from bridging the digital divide in remote Papua New Guinea, Philippines, and Solomon Islands, to addressing the digital gap in rural Queensland. His legacy is one of empowerment, inclusivity, and service, shaping a brighter future for communities globally.

Michelle Moss of Brisbane is an advocate who is making a lasting impact. Michelle is the CEO of Queenslanders with Disability Network (QDN). With nearly three decades in the human services sector, Michelle is committed to representing the voices of people with disability. She has set a new standard for community engagement with QDN's strategic direction. Initiatives like QDeNgage have empowered over 200 people with disability as consultants to improve accessibility, inclusion across mainstream services including health, transport, housing ,NDIS, quality and safeguards. QDN's Peer Support Group network has given diverse groups a platform to be heard and empowered. Her legacy includes shifting paradigms, fostering collaboration, and paving the way for future leaders in transformative work.

Sabeel Burgess is the driving force behind Open Haven's transformation. What began as a small volunteer group in 2013 has evolved into an organisation with over 30 volunteers, three paid staff, and multiple locations across Brisbane, supporting survivors of domestic violence. Sabeel's ability to build a cohesive team, harness individual skills, and create a safe, welcoming environment for clients stands out. Open Haven has empowered over 1000 women, offering services such as driving lessons, job preparation, and referrals to lawyers and psychologists. Sabeel's leaves a legacy to the countless women and children who have found brighter futures through her efforts.


Special Event Presentations Local Sporting Club Making a Difference Award

Beenleigh Tennis Centre - AJ Thompson of Beenleigh is breaking down stereotypes and fostering diversity to create a stronger, healthier, and more connected community. Their Inclusion Program shows their commitment to inclusivity. Launched in 2017, this program addresses barriers faced by individuals with Autism, providing customised coaching, sensory-friendly environments, and socialisation opportunities. The program's impact has been remarkable, with increased participation and community engagement. Beenleigh Tennis Centre actively collaborates with local schools, organisations, and stakeholders to promote tennis inclusivity. Their long-term goals include establishing a strong community presence, hosting tournaments, and nurturing young talents. Beenleigh Tennis Centre's commitment to inclusivity and community-building is evident in their inspiring journey.

Bribie District Little Athletics Centre has rapidly evolved into a thriving hub of community inclusion, health, and innovation. In its seventh season, they’ve increased membership by 68% and earned the Little Athletics Innovation award, redefining what a Little Athletics Centre can achieve. Their strategic plan has been the guiding star, leading to the development of much-needed athletics facilities that serve the community. Their focus on inclusion, local businesses partnerships, and commitment to well-being have earned them the prestigious title of the 2023 National Metro Little Athletics Centre of the Year. Their journey exemplifies the power of dedication and community spirit.

Cycling Without Age Gold Coast is part of a worldwide phenomenon which evolved from one man's heartwarming gesture. Established on the Gold Coast in 2020, it swiftly became one of Australia's largest chapters, providing free trishaw rides and wheelchair bike adventures to nearly 700 individuals each month. This initiative combats the bane of social isolation, benefiting both the elderly and those with mobility limitations. Their mantra is clear: "More Rides for More People in More Places." Bolstered by a dedicated team of 60 volunteers, they've crafted a strong, inclusive, and thriving community. Their impact is profound, enhancing happiness, mental well-being, and the spirit of giving back.

The Boss Boxing of Zillmere focuses on uplifting First Nations youth through mentorship and positive role models. Founded in 2019, they have successfully run programs like Solid Warriors, breaking down financial and transportation barriers and reshaping attitudes towards the police among youth. Their engagement with respected Community Elders and regular Yarning Circles ensures cultural wisdom is passed on. They are nurturing amateur boxers, with a champion representing QLD on the national stage. With the First Nations Athlete Development Academy, they are charting a course to sporting excellence and a more inclusive, respectful community. The Boss Boxing is transforming lives, one punch at a time.


Synaco Safety Award

Black Hops Brewing - Daniel Shane has implemented best practice workplace safety. Under the leadership of People & Safety Manager Daniel Shane, their journey is marked by a 58% reduction in incidents and 100% return-to-work rates, demonstrating their unwavering commitment. Daniel's advocacy has influenced the Queensland craft beer industry, promoting safety programs in other organisations. With a comprehensive safety framework and engaged employees, Black Hops Brewing sets a gold standard. Their cultural shift toward safety ensures each team member returns home safely while achieving industry-leading outcomes. Daniel's dedication has a ripple effect, enhancing safety standards not only within their organisation but throughout the craft beer community in Queensland.

PRM Engineering Services of Willawong is harnessing the power of technology. It has pioneered a safety solution with Sentinel VISION AI. Powered by state-of-the-art artificial intelligence, this system identifies when individuals enter hazardous zones near mobile machinery. It provides real-time alerts to both operators and pedestrians, enabling them to take immediate action and prevent accidents. Developed through extensive trials and feedback from major players in recycling, construction, mining, and rail industries, Sentinel VISION AI is meeting a critical need in high-risk environments. It won the Safety category in the 2021/22 Safework Queensland Awards, proving to be vital in an industry known for its safety challenges.

Queensland Traffic Offenders Program - QTOP is committed road safety. The driving force behind the QTOP, Lara Hickling, has been a champion of road safety since 2006. As the Director of this National award-winning program, Lara's commitment to educating offenders on the consequences of their actions has saved countless lives and changed mindsets on reoffending. Lara's vision extends to implementing refresher courses on license renewal and introducing road safety education in schools to tackle the high accident rate among young drivers. Her dedication to reducing accidents and fatalities on our roads is both humbling and inspiring. One life lost on our roads is one too many.

Swickers Kingaroy Bacon Factory Pty Ltd of Kingaroy is setting a gold standard in workplace safety. As a cornerstone of Queensland's pork supply chain, their commitment to safety is second to none. With initiatives like Manual Task Risk Assessments and Safety Observation Walks, they've achieved a remarkable 75% reduction in Lost Time Injuries. Their vision includes bringing safety policies and procedures to workers through an innovative online platform called "What's Crackling." By prioritising safety communication, training, and early intervention methods, they've not only improved worker safety but also enhanced productivity. Swickers Kingaroy's dedication to a safer workplace extends to contractors and visitors, making them a leader in the industry.