Blacktown City’s disability stars shine

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Blacktown City Mayor Tony Bleasdale OAM has congratulated award winners following the 2022 Blacktown City Disability Awards.

Council recognised 4 outstanding recipients at a special ceremony and talent showcase held on the International Day of People with a Disability at Emerton.

“As Mayor, I am incredibly proud to be part of a City that embraces, supports and celebrates people of all cultures, backgrounds and abilities,” Mayor Bleasdale said.

“These awards were a fantastic opportunity to recognise the incredible contributions and successes of people with lived experiences with a disability, carers, advocates and disability service providers in Blacktown City.

“People with a disability make wonderful contributions to our community and these awards were a chance to celebrate them and their achievements.

“Council is committed to support people who have different abilities to have access to important programs and facilities that can change their lives.

“Congratulations to all award recipients and finalists.”

Laura Naing was named Volunteer of the Year for her dedicated work with the Multicultural Disability Advocacy Association (MDAA).

Laura was awarded for giving her time and running art workshops for people with a disability from non-English speaking and culturally-diverse backgrounds.

Inspirational Person of the Year was awarded to Kylie Smith for her work as a mental health advocate.

Kylie founded Embracing Arms Peer Support Community in 2014, and for the past 8 years, has volunteered her time in helping those living with a mental health condition.

Kylie runs free, fortnightly online sessions for people needing connection and support. She also runs her own private counselling practice and is the service leader at Stride’s Safe Space, leading a team making a difference in suicide prevention.

Alice ‘Ally’ Horspool was named Inspirational Young Person of the Year for her achievements in her studies and in her transition to independent living.

Ally is studying kitchen operations at TAFE and has completed work placement with a local café. She is due to start a new job at Coles and hopes to receive her driver’s licence in the near future.

The Organisation of the Year award was given to Minchinbury Jets JRLFC Try Time, which is an inclusive, all-abilities rugby league team.

The program was launched in 2016 and has grown from 6 to 20 players in just six years. Try Time inspires players of all abilities to be active and take part in the game of rugby league through a regular competition with other clubs.

Council’s event also featured guest speaker Jayme Richardson, a Blacktown-born Paralympic cyclist who spoke of her inspirational journey to winning a Paralympic bronze medal.

The International Day of People with a Disability is a United Nations-sanctioned event that promotes an understanding of people with a disability. The event marked its 30th year in 2022.

Picture: Volunteer of the Year Laura Naing with Blacktown City Mayor Tony Bleasdale OAM (second right), Councillor Moninder Singh (left) and Mount Druitt MP Edmond Atalla (right).

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