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Team Award Finalists

6 January 2020 |Community
Twins smiling to camera

Team Award Finalists

6 January 2020 |Community
Our Team Award finalists realise the power of the collective and together they  achieve wonderful things for their communities.

Do Good Team Finalists

While the bravery, determination and heroic behaviour of the men and women of Australia’s SES crews is top of mind for us all, on this occasion we are highlighting the particular efforts of the Wingecarribee team in the Southern  Highlands of NSW. 

Aside from their extraordinary efforts to save property and lives during this current bushfire emergency, they respond 24/7 assisting the community by responding to road accidents, lost bush walkers, assisting the police and ambulance, cutting down fallen trees, tarping houses during storms, rescuing people from cliff falls and more.

They are always there for the community, prepared and willing to risk their lives for others. We are told outside of the current national emergency, the Wingecarribee SES Unit has the largest number of rescues and requests for assistance in all of NSW.

We applaud these men and women, volunteers who give up their time to train so that they can do their very best to support others and their community.

Operating in the Snowy Monaro Region and covering a population of about 20,000, the Cooma Community Chest and is made up of a band of fifteen volunteers.

Relying entirely on fundraising, donations and government grants, the Cooma Community Chest has established four foundations to cover the scope of support needed in the region - Early Education, Kids in Sports, Performing Arts, Academia and Mental Health and Wellbeing.

The purpose of the foundations is to encourage and support families with the cost of children's sporting and academic interests. They also provide extensive support to those in the community experiencing other difficulties including homelessness, domestic violence and significant health issues.

The volunteers give up their recreational time willingly to help others less fortunate. They come from backgrounds of self-employment, are professionals, grandparents and local youth. They are all determined to make a difference within their region by assisting others
in need and establishing a community that will support each other, be inclusive
of others around them, and demonstrate the importance of helping others to the younger members of the community.

Their hopes for the future include funds to build a homeless refuge and a well-being centre that would provide both western and holistic therapies and mental health facilities.

Roger Van Cornewal and Robert Glenn would describe themselves as regular blokes from the bush but they’re much more than that. Together that have made a considerable contribution to their community of Bemboka, from fundraising through the local Lions Club to being RFS volunteers.

Roger Van Cornewal and Robert Glenn

More recently though, they threw their collective effort behind building a Men’s Shed for the Bemboka community. They began construction in early 2019 and put in around 750 hours between them to complete the job – all of this while both working full-time. If that wasn’t enough, they’re adding a social club to the structure for the entire community to use for social gatherings.

Bob has been heavily involved in the local rugby team having played for them as a youngster. He works hard to promote the game in the area, mentors the young players and referees. Roger has been involved in many fund-raising projects, two of the most memorable supported a local two-year old that needed a cochlear implant and a young boy who’d been badly burnt.

Both men are farmers and both work outside the farm too.Currently Bob is away fighting fires with the local RFS.

These locals have created something special – an environment for their community to thrive.

Sue White, Rachel Howard and Emily Brindley
Sue White, Rachel Howard and Emily Brindley

Sue White, Rachel Howard and their friends recognised the potential of their suburb and the need to re-energise their community so they formed the Scullin Community Group. Within weeks they’d organised their first community event and since then it’s full steam ahead.

‘… people are finding their own ways to contribute: they are taking on projects they feel passionate about, and making their own difference whether that’s by leading a weekly coffee and chat group, building us street libraries, helping on an event, or running a fortnightly games night. Now that we’ve connected, people are enjoying taking those connections in directions I’d never imagined: it’s so motivating,’ says Sue.

There are more than 50 volunteers taking care of a host community initiatives; Scullin Traders, a community hub that sells grocery basics and local artisan wares; a coffee cart; creative workshops; games nights; social soccer and street libraries.

More than 600 hundred locals came to their end of year party and in just over 12 months they have over 500 people active on their Facebook page. The girls have received over $16,500 in grants and Scullin Traders has turned over $60,000 in just eight months.

More recently the pair has been invited to Old Parliament House (the Museum for Australian Democracy) in January to showcase to others how participatory democracy works.

For Sue the takeout is simple, ‘To remind people of how much just one suburb can achieve by being creative, positive and working collaboratively. But I don’t need to convince people in my suburb of that: we’ve seen it and scores of wonderful people are stepping up to be involved (but we can always use more!). It’s exciting to see where it will all lead.’

Jolene and Paul Adams have created a not-for-profit Children’s Play Centre called Funky Hearts. Servicing the Portland area in Victoria the centre provides the community with a play centre, a children’s clothing exchange, care packages for new mums and families in need, and emotional support for young or isolated mums.

The centre is run by Paul and Jolene and a number of volunteers committed to improving the lives of young families in the area. Training is provided to volunteers opening up career pathways that may not have been otherwise available.

They also provide parenting support and courses, and a family-friendly resource library. Funky Hearts provide the local community and those that may feel isolated with a happy place to relax, a place for the kids to have fun and somewhere for the adults to enjoy like-minded company and support.

The key message they would like people to understand is that it's OK not to be OK, and that people can speak up and say 'Hey, I need a hand.' Paul and Jolene are supporting their local community with warmth and sincerity, and by letting  people know that they are not alone.


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