Council receives awards for innovative ideas

Penrith City Council has been recognised for its forward-thinking projects, earning accolades at the 2021 NSW Local Government Excellence Awards.

During the gala event held in Sydney last night (Thursday 3 June), Council won the Connected Communities and Regions award for its ‘Thursday Night Live Lockdown Series’ and received a Highly Commended in the Community Partnerships (population over 100,000) category with the ‘Village Café – Pop up Vaccination Clinics’ program.

This recognition follows news of the organisation having secured an impressive and varied list of finalist nominations this year, with 11 projects identified across seven award categories.

Penrith Mayor Karen McKeown OAM said she is pleased to see the work of dedicated Council staff showcased by the awards, which are specifically designed to celebrate outstanding achievements in local government.

“Congratulations to all involved in the array of initiatives which led to Council being awarded for its innovative work in two fantastic categories,” Cr McKeown said.

“This result is a true reflection of what Council stands for; focusing on key community issues and meeting the evolving needs of Penrith residents particularly during change or challenging times are at the forefront of what we do.

“Innovation is one of Penrith City Council’s core values and this was a consistent theme across all of our finalist nominations, especially our winning projects that also demonstrated great leadership.

“These included various new programs and adjusted initiatives delivered for our City’s residents in response to the isolating COVID-19 pandemic, exciting community engagement and cornerstone projects, as well as transformational business systems including our Finding Balance journey, which has given staff greater flexibility in their working conditions.

“I commend everyone who has played a pivotal part in Penrith City Council receiving praise for being a progressive, adaptable and innovative Council – well done.”

At what was an eventful awards dinner for our organisation, hosted by the Local Government Professionals Australia, Council also took out third place in the Australasian Management Challenge.

The fast-paced challenge saw six Council staff compete against 17 other Sydney Council teams on Wednesday 21 April, over nine simulated tasks.

They filmed and edited a video, prepared presentations to Councillors on economic development issues, wrote a Council report and three-page employment prospectus, and participated in a debate about remote working, among other exercises.

Congratulations to our keen Council staff, who took on the challenge and bring their newly acquired and invaluable skills back to our workforce.

Find out more about Council’s award-winning projects below:

Thursday Night Live Lockdown Series – Connected Communities and Regions category

The ‘Thursday Night Live Lockdown Series’ was launched in April 2020 in response to the economic and social impacts of COVID-19 restrictions being felt by local artists and the community. The weekly one-hour livestreamed music event featured local artists performing from a Penrith based studio to deliver a quality, safe entertainment experience at home. The series received over 50,000 performance views from people tuning in across the world.

Village Café – Pop-up Vaccination Clinics - Community Partnerships category (Population over 100,000)  

Village Café is a place to grow community connections, reduce social isolation and support wellbeing. During the height of the COVID-19 lockdown, the program pivoted to provide 116 residents with free flu vaccinations, 150 emergency food relief packages to vulnerable people and engage directly with communities to further understand the impact of the pandemic.  

Photo captions:

Village Café HC – Director City Futures Kylie Powell with Community Resilience Coordinator Lila Kennelly.

TNL – Award – Director City Futures Kylie Powell with Place and Activation Coordinator Rebekah Elliott.

Management Challenge – Michael Alderton, Sharne Peake, Natalie Stanowski and Paula Tomkins are joined by Penrith City Council’s General Manager Warwick Winn.

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