Community Achievement Awards for Victoria
Regional Development Victoria Business Achievement Award
ASTERIA Services, Maryborough is a community-based not-for-profit founded in 1972 to provide tailored disability support services. In 1992, ASTERIA established an Enterprise Centre to provide meaningful work and assist participants in integrating into the community. In 2020-2021, they had an annual turnover of over $15 million. They currently employ 132 full-time staff, have 16 volunteers, and support 190 participants, including 45 supported employees.
Flaim Systems Pty Ltd, Warun Ponds was founded in 2014 by Dr James Mullins at Deakin University and commercialised in 2019. FLAIM developed the world’s first multi-sensory immersive learning solution for firefighters to safely and cost effectively replicate the stress and uncertainty of real-world emergency situations. Their two solutions, FLAIM Trainer and FLAIM Extinguisher, are delivered in 28 languages in over 35 countries. FLAIM employs 29 employees.
Home Instead Geelong was established by Giovanni and Giselle Siano in June 2018. They are a specialist provider of high-quality, relationship-based in-home care for aging adults and people living with progressive health conditions. Home Instead currently employs over 330 caregivers and 43 office staff. From June 2021 to June 2022, they delivered 192,000 hours of care to over 800 clients in their homes.
Wattle Tree Country Retreat, Amherst was opened by Chelsea Thompson in April 2021. They offer respite and short-term accommodation for people with disabilities, psychosocial disabilities and acquired brain injuries aged 18 to 65, including customisable and individualised country-based respite options. They employ 10 staff members and have recently onboarded two additional staff with disabilities. In their first year, Wattle Tree had a turnover of almost $500,000.
Regional Development Victoria Leadership & Innovation Award:
Giovanni Siano, Geelong West founded Home Instead Geelong in 2018. Giovanni initiated a Collaborative Research project to co-design Artificial Intelligence robot-enabled services and integrate them within the service provision of Home Instead. The aim is to address senior care needs, improve their quality of life and assist staff in care delivery. He has empowered 370 employees and enhanced the lives of over 1,000 clients.
Greg Cole, Warragul helped bring Eli Innovation back from the brink and redesigned and manufactured a Milk Meter prototype at his own cost. Eli Innovation is the only Australian manufacturer of Automatic Cup Removers and Milk Meters. Greg also runs Lely Centre Gippsland, where he saw the potential for milking robots to future-proof local farms. He is a member of the Gippsland Community Leadership Program.
Tania Chapman, Red Cliffs is the chair of Citrus Australia. In 2013, she led a study tour of 33 growers and industry participants to match Aussie growers/exporters with Chinese buyers/importers. From virtually zero, Australian Citrus exports have gone to over 72,000 tonnes to mainland China. Tania is a Nuffield Scholarship Recipient. She has been appointed to the Expert Advisory Panel on Leadership with Horticulture Innovation.
Lindsay Callaway, Maldon is the owner and Managing Director of Warral Maldon, a family-owned apiary that opened in 1986. One of Lindsay’s most significant innovations is developing a new way to transport hives. He uses a custom set-up with mesh curtains and pallets in the trucks, allowing the bees to breathe during long trips. He has taken on the role of Victorian Apiarists Association representative to the Australian Honeybee Industry Council.
Ricoh Australia Customer Service Award:
Beachcomber Holiday Units, Lakes Entrance are a newly renovated boutique accommodation. Their commitment to customer service starts even before they meet their guests. They promote Lakes Entrance as a go-to holiday destination by promoting activities, day trips, shops to visit, and cuisines on social media. In November 2021, they partnered with local businesses and made a “Love Lakes Entrance” bag that they gave guests upon check-in.
Home Instead Geelong is a specialist provider of relationship-based in-home care for ageing adults and people living with progressive health conditions established in June 2018. Their caregivers provide care 24/7 and empower their clients to choose the care, time and location they want. Home Instead ensures to find a suitably matched caregiver and personally introduce them at the start of the first service.
Myrtleford Visitor Information Centre is run by a group of volunteers 7 days a week, 634 days a year. The team comprises of locals passionate about sharing their knowledge with visitors. In 2019, the Centre had over 15,500 walk-in visitors, and the volunteers responded to over 550 enquiries received by phone and email. Volunteers are also trained to process retail sales of local produce.
TalkSmart Training, Echuca is a mobile training company that delivers first aid courses to organisations, community groups, volunteers, and government agencies. Its founder, Dawn Ferrier, uses tools to analyse success, such as financials, participant feedback and reviews. Talksmart commits to exceptional customer service by offering flexibility to reschedule sessions for participants who contracted the Covid-19 virus. They have so far trained 1,472 participants.
Southside Plumbing, Heating and Cooling Community Hero Award:
Bradley Woods, Alfredton has been volunteering with the Country Fire Authority (CFA) for ten years. As the Wendouree Fire Brigade’s current 1st lieutenant, he is responsible for recruiting new and aspiring members of the CFA and facilitating their training. Brad is an active operational firefighter and has attended over 1000 incidents. He received the City of Ballarat’s Young Citizen of the Year Award 2022.
Daniel Cook, Ballarat created a Ballarat COVID Information page, allowing easy, local and timely information to be accessible 24/7 to the wider residents of Ballarat. He single-handedly managed the page, which had over 14,000 members at its peak and continues to grow. Dan worked in consultation with Ballarat Health Services Media Department and the Grampians Public Health unit. He volunteered 18 hours daily.
Gabriel Gervasoni, Ballarat advocates for young people with disability. Gabriel is a legally blind young person who is actively involved in the Ballarat Youth Council, Ballarat Youth Ambassador Program and Central Highlands Youth Advisory Board. He is a PTech ambassador who encourages young people to become involved in STEM. He is currently involved in a sustainability project aiming to educate young people about recycling.
Jessica Herdman, Bendigo has been a volunteer foster care with Anglicare Victoria for eight years. Jessica is a Home Hub Provider under the Mockingbird Family Constellation implemented by Anglicare and Life Without Barriers. She has supported over 35 children and young people as a carer. Jessica makes herself available 24/7 to support children under her care. She also conducts carer debriefing and support.
Nectre Regional Service Award:
The Bush Bus, Mitchell Shire is a mobile nature playgroup and family program developed by Georgina Dymock from Kidding Around Australia Pty Ltd. The program has a unique ability to fill a resource gap in areas where various issues and challenges, such as social and financial disadvantages, are faced by families. The Bush Bus is offered free of charge. It has so far benefited over 21,000 families.
Movement Zone Studio, Castlemaine is a rural dance studio formed by Sarah Cook in 1999. Their core mission is to create a safe, supportive space for people of all ages and abilities to grow, learn and shine through. They set up youth initiatives such as ‘XtremeInc Youth’ projects, a not-for-profit, and ‘2 The Xtreme’ Festival. Their Groove Therapy encourages seniors to interact with their community.
Quantum Support Services, Morwell is a not-for-profit support centre that has been operating since 1987. They provide community support and care services for vulnerable clients, including homelessness support, family violence crisis response, and out-of-home care. In FYE 2021, Quantum supported over 10,350 clients, including 520 young people in children and family services programs. They provide 100% leaving care services to non-Aboriginal people in the Gippsland region.
Youthrive Victoria, Creswick is a charity that operates with a purpose of strengthening rural communities and supporting young people to be leaders. Established in 2008, Youthrive offers vocational and university scholarships, transition and career mentoring, and leadership development Dream Seeds workshops. In 2021, it launched the Rural Youth Network. It has provided over $2 million in scholarships for 131 young rural Victorians to date.
Awards Australia Community Group Award:
Ballarat African Association Inc is a non-profit organisation formed in 2006. They went through a series of ten holistic workshops under the Re-branding African Australian Identity Project. As a result, they obtained over 40 sustainable employment for their members. They have also helped reduce rental and lease biases and incidences of racial discrimination in schools. The Association represents over 22 African Countries in the community.
Bendigo FoodShare is a food relief agency aiming to reduce food poverty in Central Victoria. They have three paid staff and 200 volunteers who collect food that would otherwise go to waste, sort and repack them for delivery to over 260 partner organisations. Nearly 13,000 vulnerable people get food weekly through their food relief programs in schools, kindergartens and child care centres.
Morwell Neighbourhood House provides food security services to people experiencing poverty, disadvantage or distress in Morwell. They offer long-shelf-life food, fresh fruit and veggies and house-made meals from their FoodBank freezer. Their programs aim to reduce social isolation and enhance wellbeing. They have engaged a social enterprise called “A Kinder Cup” café to ensure staff and volunteers can continue to support local communities.
Speed Lions Club consists of 24 volunteer members who are committed to raising much-needed funds for the community. Their signature event, The Mallee Machinery Field Days, is the largest agricultural and agribusiness trade show run by farmers for farmers. Now on its 42nd anniversary, the two-day event attracts more than 350 exhibitors across Australia. It has provided numerous fundraising opportunities for the local community.