South Australian Community Achievement Awards

2023 Finalists

Australian Dental Foundation Community Welfare Innovation Award

  • ActivOT -  is Australia’s first and only Occupational Therapy Franchise business. ActivOT challenges the traditional franchise model through an innovative approach to not only franchising but also in how community-based Occupational Therapy services are delivered Australia-wide. Founder Helen Whait has built a community of like-minded, values-aligned practitioners who benefit from a pooling of shared resources. This ultimately means that the ActivOT practitioners are able to deliver fully client-centred care. ActivOT is pioneering the charge to combat burnout and bureaucracy in allied health, all while equipping occupational therapists with the tools to provide
    the best possible service to the highest standard.


  • Catherine House - is South Australia’s only homelessness and recovery service for women. Providing crisis and longer term accommodation, Catherine House aims to end the homelessness for every woman who so bravely walks through their doors. With a dedicated team of skilled staff and volunteers, they provide accommodation and support to 54 women each night and over 125 women each week through their Women’s Centre and outreach services. This year Catherine House celebrates 35 years of supporting South Australian women.


  • Positure -of Maylands is reshaping our Digital interactions. Their pioneering platform tackles the global epidemic of smartphone addiction by re-tasking devices causing these problems to help fix them. Positure’s evidence-based solution transforms screen time into a fun, posture-enhancing, mentally-enriching experience. Investing over a decade of research, development, and clinical studies, Positure is achieving remarkable results helping developing children, the Autistic, and elderly. These innovations are not just changing lives; they're creating new possibilities for healthcare, digital learning and well-being. Their holistic approach is making an impact on how we engage with technology, making our evolving digital world even better.


  • ResiDental Solutions - of Victor Harbor is revolutionising aged care dentistry through their mobile dental service. They provide essential preventative dental care, education, and support to residents directly in their rooms. In just a year, they've expanded from serving 2 sites to 11, with a vision to reach every aged care facility. Their uniqueness lies in their flexible and compassionate approach. ResiDental Solutions' commitment to reducing barriers in aged care dentistry, despite minimal funding and challenges, has resulted in improved oral health, enhanced quality of life, and reduced stress for residents and care staff. Their dedication extends to advocacy for better oral health practices in aged care.


  • Switch the Headspace committee - of Mount Gambier masterminded a groundbreaking community event that transcended mental health stigmas. Their visionary approach yielded over $50,000 in funds for local mental health initiatives, with Headspace set to benefit. Their tireless volunteer commitment, totalling over a thousand hours from a dedicated committee and countless others in the community, drove the event's success. It ignited transformative conversations about mental well-being, turning a spotlight on the importance of proactively seeking support. This event stands as a beacon of hope, fostering a united community that not only recognises but openly discusses and supports mental health, leaving a legacy of positive change.


Australian Native Food Co Small Business Award

  • Barossa Outdoors - of Williamstown is a family venture that has redefined outdoor experiences in the Barossa region. Their dedication to inspiring health, well-being, and a deeper connection with nature has led to over 2000 individuals enjoying kayaking, e-biking, and hiking since 2020. Their stellar customer service, reflected in their outstanding reviews on platforms like TripAdvisor, Google, and Facebook, is a testament to their commitment. Beyond business success, they actively engage with the community, from organising litter pick events to supporting local charities and mental health initiatives. Their creation of events like 'ROAR Barossa' and 'SAnta Dash' exemplifies their innovative approach to fostering their community’s well-being.


  • Care In Motion, Community Care and Transport Inc - Community Care and Transport carries a legacy of over 40 years supporting transport-disadvantaged clients. Offering vital services, including community transport, Community Visitors Scheme, and acting as a Centrelink Agent. They are unwavering with their commitment to having clients socially engaged and not socially isolated. They facilitate access to medical and social engagements. In an innovative move, they secured new state and federal funding contracts, extending their services to cover nine council regions in South Australia. Their impressive growth, backed by 160 dedicated volunteers, demonstrates their remarkable impact in connecting and caring for their community, they are truly CARE IN MOTION.


  • Coastal Community Support Services - of McLaren Vale (CCSS) is empowering individuals to achieve their full potential. Founded in 2022, they have rapidly expanded to serve over 100 clients with a dedicated team of 40 professionals. They offer a wide range of in-home support services, including disability support, mental health assistance, respite care, and group activities. They prioritise choice and control, tailor support plans, and deliver training that enhances independence. Their strategic, outcome-oriented approach, coupled with evidence of positive impacts, distinguishes them as leaders in the disability support sector. Their community engagement and initiatives, like networking events and a community pantry, reflect their commitment to making a lasting difference.


  • Love for Lobes - of Gawler South has blossomed from a heartfelt desire to create fabric accessories with flair. Established in 2020 by Sarah Henson, it has grown into a thriving venture, offering an array of handcrafted products. What sets it apart is its unwavering commitment to philanthropy. For every item sold, $2 is donated to charities, including Catherine House and Love Your Sister. Love for Lobes has raised over $20,000 since its inception. Beyond business, it's a vibrant community of 'Lobe Lovers,' connected by the warmth of giving. Whether it's crafting memorial pieces or collaborating with local councils, it exemplifies a small business with a big heart.


  • Talent Academy - of Adelaide has evolved into a thriving public speaking coaching business. Founded by Sanja Hendrick in 2012, they have grown to a team of 12. Talent Academy specialises in pitch coaching and keynote training, enabling clients to secure funding, win competitions, and excel on stage. Their innovative edge lies in embracing AI and utilising speaking analytics tools to ensure clients' success. This business has a strong impact strategy, with contributions to charities, discounts for clients, and active community engagement. With the mantra "A great idea must not fail for a lack of communication skill or courage," Talent Academy continues to empower individuals.


Carers SA Carer Achievement Award

  • Greg Slater - of Hackham West is a remarkable husband and caregiver who has devoted 16 years to caring for his disabled wife. He shoulders the responsibility of household chores and provides constant care to their disabled adult son, dedicating over 20 hours weekly. Greg faces his own battle with stage 4 inoperable cancer, managing the side effects of trial treatments. Despite these challenges, he extends his compassion to neighbours, sharing homegrown produce and collected groceries, offering support to those in need. His presence in the community, marked by humour and kindness, has been a source of strength for many, making Greg an unsung hero of caregiving.


  • Lidia Hall - of North Haven began as a carer a decade ago when her husband, a veteran, battled severe PTSD and alcohol misuse disorder. Her role encompassed caring for him, managing medications, and addressing the complex bureaucracy of government departments. Lidia's daughter also developed secondary PTSD from this challenging environment. She faced financial hardships, having to relinquish her work and academic opportunities. However, she emerged stronger through Carers SA and Carer Gateway support. She founded Resolute Ready to aid defence personnel, first responders, and their families. Lidia's faith, advocacy, and involvement in the Royal Commission demonstrate her resilience, making her a powerful voice for carers.


  • Lorraine Flanegan - of Flagstaff Hill started her caregiving journey in 2000 when her husband was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease, a role that continued for 15 years. She remained dedicated despite the challenges of tremors, incontinence, sleep deprivation, and dementia. Beyond caregiving, she founded support groups for Parkinson's carers and actively campaigned for Parkinson's nurses, advocating for improved care. She's been a pillar of support in her local community, offering guidance and empathy. Now 80 years old, Lorraine's passion for helping others remains undiminished, making her an exemplary figure in both WA and SA, deserving recognition for her outstanding contributions to caregiving and community support.


  • Stella Braund - of Trinity Gardens has dedicated her life to supporting family members facing mental health challenges, disabilities, and trauma while advocating for better services and care. Stella helped establish the National Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Helpline 1800RESPECT. She is on various committees and policy-making bodies in South Australia's health sector. Stella's work has raised awareness of human rights, women's safety, mental health, and youth support services. Her advocacy has shaped policies, benefiting individuals and families. Recognised as Citizen of the Year 2023 in South Australia and awarded the Joy Noble Medal, Stella's contributions have left an indelible mark on caregiving and social progress.


  • Zoe Sandell-Hocking - of West Lakes devotion is a caregiver to her son Brodie, who faces severe autism. She's been instrumental in fostering Brodie's independence, assisting with daily tasks and establishing a micro-business for him. Navigating challenges like communication limitations and intense meltdowns, Zoe has accompanied Brodie on a journey of resilience and growth. Her "Forehead Kisses" Facebook page and support groups have become havens for caregivers, offering a platform to share experiences, advice, and encouragement. Zoe's advocacy reaches far and wide, empowering carers globally and raising awareness of the unique needs and challenges they face. Her commitment to Brodie's well-being and the caregiving community is truly exceptional


Carers SA Young Carer Award

  • Madison Mitchell-Smith - of Parkside is a young carer for her brother Harrison. Her resilience shines through as she navigates the challenges of balancing schoolwork with Harrison's needs, even amidst disruptions. Madison's inspiration to become an occupational therapist stems from witnessing her brother's struggles. She's a true advocate for young carers, actively participating in the Young Carers Collective for over two years and mentoring younger peers. Madison champions young carers' needs, bringing attention to the lack of special schools and classes through her involvement in Teen Parliament 2023. She extends her reach through media appearances and Carers SA videos, positively impacting the carer community.


  • Madison Star Gotch - of Port Lincoln exemplifies unwavering dedication as a young carer, primarily for her mother's mental health needs. She serves as an essential emotional pillar within their household and extends care to her younger brother, guiding him through daily challenges. Madison's remarkable journey includes being awarded the Harding Miller Scholarship, a testament to her determination and intellect. She faces the unique struggles of a young carer, handling her caring responsibilities alongside the emotional turmoil of adolescence. Madison actively engages with Carers SA for nearly three years, advocating for fellow young carers.


  • Tyler Gunn - of Normanville is a young carer whose compassion and dedication shine through his caring role for his mother, Julianne. Julianne battles Lupus, kidney disease, while Tyler deals with his own Crohn's disease. Tyler's daily life is a testament to his commitment as he helps with household chores, heavy lifting, and offers unwavering emotional support. Balancing school and home commitments has been his lifelong norm, but Tyler perseveres, with Julianne's support.Despite moments of resentment towards the carefree lives of his peers, Tyler's devotion to his mother is unbreakable, tackling life's unpredictability with resilience and flair


Konica Minolta Customer Service Award

  • Barossa Kayak Hire Barossa Outdoors - of Williamstown is more than just an outdoor activity provider; it's a family-owned venture with a mission to inspire health and wellbeing through immersive outdoor experiences. Co-directed by a SAPOL police officer and a Student Support Officer, they've created a haven for outdoor enthusiasts in the Barossa region. Since 2020, over 2000 people have enjoyed kayaking, e-biking, and hiking amidst the stunning Barossa landscapes. Their commitment goes beyond adventure; they actively support community events, charity initiatives, and environmental conservation. Barossa Outdoors' dedication to customer service earned them accolades, reinforcing their vision to make the Barossa region a thriving hub for outdoor exploration.


  • Cafe Komodo -  has been providing a sanctuary where the community finds connection and support, on top of great coffee and food in Prospect, for nearly two decades. During the challenging COVID years, they went above and beyond, staying open to serve their community, especially the vulnerable and lonely. Their commitment extended to offering discounted meals to emergency service workers. Beyond the cafe walls, they sponsor local sports teams and actively contribute to the Prospect Community Garden, reducing waste through recycling coffee grounds and food scraps. Cafe Komodo's community spirit shines, making it a special place that enriches lives one cup at a time.


  • Instrument Choice - is an online retailer of environmental measurement tools in Australia. With its exceptional customer service rooted in the philosophy of "Just Be Helpful," they consistently exceed customer expectations, whether by swift replies, thoughtful gestures, or genuine problem-solving. Even when mistakes occur, they embrace them with empathy, turning frustrations into opportunities for positive change. Their remarkable NPS score of 83 and an overwhelming 5-star Google review presence testify to their unwavering commitment to customer satisfaction. Beyond business success, Instrument Choice envisions a world where excellent customer service spreads optimism and kindness throughout the community, creating a better, brighter future for all.


  • SULLIVAN Consulting - of Adelaide is a trailblazer in executive recruitment, redefining the Adelaide market through its digital prowess. In just six years, it has evolved to a formidable team of four, challenging traditional norms. Their groundbreaking innovations, including personalised job videos and weekly radio segments, have set industry standards. Beyond business success, SULLIVAN Consulting champions community causes, sparing nonprofits over $1.3 million in recruitment fees and raising $85,000 for charity. They embody the spirit of giving with pro-bono career advice sessions and participation in initiatives like the Vinnies CEO Sleepout. SULLIVAN Consulting, not just a recruitment firm but a force for change in South Australia.


Office for Ageing Well Tackling Ageism Award

  • Fatima Mahmoud - of Salisbury is on a mission to combat ageism through understanding of how it isolates and marginalises older individuals. In her role at the Australian Refugee Association (ARA), she has gone above and beyond to support older refugees and immigrants, primarily from African, Middle Eastern, and Syrian backgrounds. Through ARA's Zimala program, Fatma facilitated cultural and social experiences that engaged over 100 seniors. She championed digital literacy development, ensuring access to services like My Aged Care and Centrelink. Fatma tirelessly transports seniors to events and appointments, advocating for their needs. Her exceptional work has shattered barriers, enhanced confidence, shifted perceptions, and built empathy.


  • Kalyra -  is at the forefront of the battle against ageism, recognising the need to break down stereotypes and prejudices. Through the co-location of a Montessori Middle School within Kalyra Woodcroft Aged Care, Kalyra has created a unique platform for intergenerational activities. Students and residents engage in shared experiences, fostering mutual understanding and empathy. Overcoming challenges, including opposition and COVID-19, Kalyra remains dedicated to the cause. Their program is reshaping perceptions of older individuals and challenging ageist assumptions. It exemplifies how intergenerational connections can pave the way for a more inclusive and age-friendly society, ensuring that ageism becomes a thing of the past.


  • Meals on Wheels SA - of Hilton is on a mission to combat ageism through their pioneering intergenerational programs. These initiatives bridge generational divides, promoting understanding, breaking down stereotypes, and fostering mutual respect between young and old. By actively engaging the community, forging partnerships with organisations, showcasing the talents of seniors, and sharing their stories, Meals on Wheels SA is reshaping societal perceptions of older individuals. They've conducted thorough evaluations, demonstrating tangible results in the form of strong bonds, increased confidence in participants, and enhanced community cohesion. With multiple programs underway and growing interest, their impact is expanding, paving the way for a more inclusive and age-friendly society.


  • Noarlunga Downs Primary School - School of Noarlunga Downs is rewriting the narrative on ageism with its pioneering Wisdom Club. This intergenerational initiative, in partnership with Flinders University and Onkaparinga City, bridges generations through math-based games. It challenges stereotypes about aging and promotes positive perceptions of older adults. Volunteers and students work together to achieve common goals, fostering meaningful connections. It has overcome challenges like transportation and training requirements. Initial results show increased wellbeing among volunteers, while students enthusiastically engage with the program. Noarlunga Downs Primary School is leading by example, providing a supportive space where older adults and young students can learn from and inspire each other.


Rural Doctors Workforce Agency Rural Community Health and Wellbeing Award

  • ActFas Ambulance - of Port Pirie, Clare Valley and Barossa has been a beacon for country and rural health and well-being. Since commencing in 2013, ActFas have trained 10,076 individuals in first aid across rural SA. In 2017, ActFas introduced the first Private PTS Ambulance’s for the region. ActFas this year WON, the Premiers Business award for Rural Business of the year and the 2022 SA Health Supplier Award, ActFas significantly reduces costs for country hospitals by providing non-emergency patient transport. Their commitment to patient comfort, with crews staying throughout procedures, has become a huge benefit in rural healthcare.


  • Jo Feltus - of Nuriootpa is a founding pillar of Barossa Area Fundraisers For Cancer. Jo has devoted her life to making a difference in the Barossa & Light Councils area. Her journey began in 2007 when she recognised the need for cancer support. Jo's involvement includes her charity work during the Miss South Australia Quest. Despite health challenges, she provides a shoulder to lean on. Her exceptional organisational skills have led to remarkable fundraising events, like the recent ELVIS impersonator concert, which raised enough funds to acquire another butterfly car for transporting cancer patients. Jo has unwavering commitment to improving the lives of everyone.


  • Marree & District Progress Association Inc -is a pillar of the far north SA community tirelessly working to enhance well-being.Offering real job opportunities through Complete Personnel, empowering remote job community participants. Initiatives include school holiday programs, sporting events including annual Camel Cup and Gymkhana.A new pump track, built by dedicated volunteers, awaits completion, promising outdoor fun.The association also ensures community facilities like the Community Hall and Airstrip are well-maintained and accessible all year round. Weekly cinema sessions at the Youth Centre enrich community life.
    With grants, fundraising and hard work they continue to uplift Marree's spirit and quality of life.


  • West Coast Youth and Community Support - is providing hope for individuals battling substance misuse in Port Lincoln. Established in 2021, this centre has been instrumental in transforming lives, with 118 participants benefitting from its 227 group sessions and 166 individual counselling sessions during the 2022-23 fiscal year. The Healing Circles team, comprising lived-experience workers and AOD counsellors, employs a client-centred, trauma-informed approach. Their innovative group therapy model helps clients who might otherwise fall through the gaps, addressing not only substance misuse but psychosocial needs and mental well-being. The Healing Circles is not just a program; it's a lifeline, fostering recovery and rebuilding lives.


Ryde International Connecting Communities Award

  • Ellie Cheesman - of Port Lincoln is making waves by using the arts, particularly dance and visual arts, as powerful tools for community empowerment. Through her weekly workshops, Ellie has created a hub for Barngarla First Nations youth and young people aged 9-16, including those with disabilities. Her program not only nurtures their physical and mental wellbeing but also promotes social awareness and cohesion among participants. Ellie's approach emphasises mindfulness, collaboration, and a strong sense of community. She is reshaping the lives of at-risk youth, providing them with new coping strategies and fostering a sense of belonging, all while advancing the cultural integrity of the Barngarla community.


  • Kangaroo Island/Victor Harbor Dolphin Watch - is a pioneering force, uniting communities in a citizen science endeavour that has reshaped lives. For 18 years, this project has harnessed the passion of volunteers of all ages, immersing them in dolphin research and marine conservation. Beyond collecting invaluable data on dolphins, their inclusive approach empowers individuals, addresses social isolation, and fosters environmental stewardship. This transformative initiative has garnered widespread recognition, including awards like the 2021 SA Citizen Science Award for Outstanding Community Engagement. Dolphin Watch is a shining example of how community-driven efforts can create lasting impacts on our oceans, communities, and wellbeing.


  • Tailem Bend Community Centre of 141 Railway Terrace - facilitates the Murray Mallee Community Passenger Network (MMCPN). Covering an extensive 35,000 square kilometres in the Murray Mallee region, MMCPN has provided lifeline transportation to 2,547 consumers. They've shown remarkable dedication, with some volunteers serving for up to 35 years, and have embraced sustainability with solar power, battery storage, and hybrid vehicles. TBCC's role as a best practice model in South Australia, coupled with their unwavering commitment to assisting other centres and network partners, showcases their impact. They've successfully navigated challenges, adapting to changing circumstances and leveraging community support to continue providing essential social and transport services while addressing cost-effectiveness and environmental considerations


  • Talk Out Loud Ltd -epitomizes the power of empathy and community collaboration. Born in 2016, this initiative not only champions youth mental health awareness but transforms lives through impactful empowerment camps, personalized real talk sessions, and inclusive spaces. Its noble objectives center around creating havens for connection, holistic well-being, and nurturing open dialogue. They aspire to build enduring community support networks, establish a comprehensive resource hub, and become unwavering advocates for mental health awareness and suicide prevention. Talk Out Loud's journey embodies resilience, adaptability, and the profound impact of fostering genuine connections and amplifying authentic voices in the mental health arena.


Woolworths Sports in the Community Award

  • City of Marion – On@CoM Program - On@CoM Program is a game-changer for young people and community well-being. Launched in 2021, this innovative program provides free sports and activities for 5–18-year-olds, addressing childhood obesity, whilst nurturing community bonds. It has successfully engaged over 1,000 participants, encouraging families to connect, swap stories, and build relationships. By offering varied activities throughout the year, including some that can be done held indoors during winter, they've overcome barriers and fostered a sense of belonging amongst multicultural newcomers. The long-term goal is to secure its continuity and support South Australian families facing the challenges of rising living costs


  • Onkastompa Fishing Competition for Childhood Cancer - of Noarlunga Downs is an inclusive event that unites generations and welcomes the entire community. Mark Mills, the visionary behind the Onkastompa Fishing Competition, has earned the prestigious title of City of Onkaparinga's Citizen of the Year. Over the course of 18 years, Mark's remarkable dedication has transformed a simple idea into a beloved annual tradition, raising more than $350,000 for Childhood Cancer. In 2018, it was recognised as the Onkaparinga City Council Community Event of the Year. Despite facing challenges such as weather and fundraising targets, Mark remains resolute in his goal to reach $500,000 by the 20th event in 2025.


  • SA Aquatic & Leisure Centre - of Oaklands Park has been offering a diverse range of swimming programs for all ages for over a decade. They conduct weekly classes to over 4,500 students, fostering water safety in and around water and a healthy lifestyle. Their commitment extends beyond the pool, with groundbreaking sustainability initiatives aimed at reducing their carbon footprint and engaging the community in eco-conscious practices. Heartfelt testimonials attest to their dedication to inclusivity and individual progress, notably in the adult and access swimming programs. With a forward-looking approach, they aim to continue expanding access, providing employment opportunities, and instilling a lifelong love for aquatic activities in their community.


  • South Australia Dragons Abreast of West Lakes - is a dragon boat club with a heartfelt mission. Established in 2001, they provide unwavering support to breast cancer survivors and offer an inclusive environment for the ageing population. Beyond the dragon boat races, SADA actively raises awareness about breast cancer and promotes early detection, serving as a beacon of inspiration. Members aged 50 to 82 showcase that fitness knows no age limits. Notably, they foster camaraderie and provide assistance for members undergoing medical treatment. SADA's commitment extends to donations for cancer charities and their relentless effort to overcome barriers, making them a shining example of community support and resilience.