The 2021 City of Greater Bendigo Citizen of the Year is Cathie Steele and the Young Citizen of the Year is Ma Aye Paw.
Mayor Cr Jennifer Alden said both recipients had been recognised for their leadership and work supporting the Greater Bendigo community, especially during COVID-19.
“Cathie is Chair of Bendigo Foodshare, which has seen a 40 per cent increase in demand for food relief since the pandemic began,” Cr Alden said.
“This extraordinary demand has resulted in major change for Bendigo Foodshare, significantly increasing the amount of food coming through the organisation.
“Cathie led by example to support the most vulnerable Greater Bendigo residents impacted by COVID-19.
“She works tirelessly to ensure everyone in our community has access to food, something that many of us take for granted but is a daily struggle for many people.”
Cr Alden said Ma Paw was an outstanding young leader in the community.
“Ma Paw is the secretary of the Karen Community Hub and Language School that promotes the culture and language of the largest CALD (culturally and linguistically diverse) community group in Greater Bendigo,” Cr Alden said.
“Ma Paw volunteers on weekends teaching language and last year during COVID-19 she assisted with designing and translating documents and audio-visual resources for Bendigo Community Health Services and the City, to ensure important public health messages could be communicated to the Karen community.
“The City is delighted to honour Cathie and Ma Paw. Their actions demonstrate what being part of a community is all about. We are lucky to have people like them living and working amongst us.
“Congratulations to our new Citizens of the Year, thank you for your contribution to our community and best wishes for the next 12 months as you serve as ambassadors for Greater Bendigo.”