We Are Brimbank Awards shine a light on our community heroes

Brimbank City Council has announced and congratulated its winners of the 2020 We Are Brimbank Awards at a special virtual event tonight.

The awards recognise the exceptional contributions, hard work and determination of organisations and community groups making a positive difference to Brimbank.

Brimbank Mayor Cr Georgina Papafotiou said the We Are Brimbank Awards celebrate the pride and potential of our City.

‘Brimbank is a proactive community that bands together to get things done, and the awards are an important shout out to the incredible organisations and community groups that make our municipality so wonderful.

‘There is much to be proud of in Brimbank and these awards shine a light on our community heroes and pay tribute to the outstanding contributions made towards community life,’ Cr Papafotiou said.

The winners of the 2020 We Are Brimbank Awards, across five categories, are:

‘This the third year of the awards and on behalf of Brimbank Council, I would like to offer our huge congratulations to all the very worthy winners and nominees from across all of the categories.

‘We were pleased to receive 38 nominations this year, and I think it is important to acknowledge that the coronavirus pandemic has impacted some of the work and services offered by the nominated organisations and community groups. We thank you all for your efforts, perseverance and adaptability during these challenging times.

‘I would also like to thank the independent panel members for volunteering their time and talent for the hard task of choosing this year’s successful award recipients,’ Cr Papafotiou said.

The 2020 We Are Brimbank Awards were presented by Brimbank Mayor Cr Georgina Papafotiou at a special online ceremony on Wednesday evening 16 September 2020.

Culture, Arts and Tourism Award:

This award demonstrates outstanding contribution to the rich cultural, heritage, tourism and artistic fabric of the Brimbank community.

Winner: Cinespace

Established in Melbourne’s west in 2016 as a non-profit incorporated association, Cinespace collaborates with people from culturally-diverse and under-represented communities across Victoria through a variety of programs to develop skills, produce work, and build communities and creative careers.

The organisation gives a voice to marginalized communities using Smartphone Stories to tell their stories using simple technology – removing barriers and breaking down the myth that you need expensive equipment, or you need to be a writer to tell your story – and supports people to build their skills and give them opportunities to express their creativity.

Cinespace enriches the arts industry by bringing unique and diverse voices from our community to screens around Australia and the world and is strongly committed to the Brimbank community and actively engages them in film development projects.

Encouragement Award: Australian Burundian Cultural Ladies in Victoria

The Burundian Cultural Ladies Group is a power house collection of great women leading their community and keeping them connected. The purpose of the group is to share and promote their culture through songs, dance, food, workshops and more.

In early March before COVID-19 stopped the world, the ladies delivered an amazing event in Deer Park with a 200 strong audience that celebrated Burundian culture.

Employment & Enterprise Award:

This award demonstrates outstanding contribution to the prosperity of Brimbank.

Joint winners: Brimbank Business Association (BBA)

The Brimbank Business Association is a new not-for-profit organisation established in 2019 by five community members who either live, work or conduct business within the Brimbank business community. Their aim is to grow the economy by strengthening and building the capacity of existing businesses while also attracting new businesses and investment. They have set out to revitalise the community and engage those that have felt disconnected. The BBA has established itself to be a voice to our business community, and importantly represents the interests of business owners.

The BBA provides support and upskilling for business owners as well as networking, building relationships, representing, negotiating, growing the BBA and creating economic and social value for the whole community.

Joint winners: St Alban’s Business Group Association Inc.

The St Alban’s Business Group Association Inc. has been running for well over 20 years and is a volunteer-based organisation represented by a management committee of local traders. They deliver a range of annual events including their signature Lunar Festival in January each year, which continues to grow bigger and better, now attracting in the order of 80,000 people. An annual calendar of events includes the Twilight Market, delivered as part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, the Moon Lantern Festival, Easter and Christmas celebrations.

The Association continues to advocate for support and assistance on behalf of the local traders to ensure continued growth and prosperity. Examples include a commitment to have the level crossing at St Albans train station removed and installation of CCTV cameras and lighting improvements across the Centre.

Inclusive Brimbank Award:

This award demonstrates outstanding contribution to promoting participation in community life and supporting proud, safe and healthy citizens.

Joint winners: 300 Blankets

A community organisation that provides grocery food care packages and blankets for families struggling within the western suburbs, including people living in Brimbank. Volunteers also walk the streets offering cooked food and snack packs to people sleeping rough. The team of 300 provided a Soup Kitchen every Sunday night in Sunshine providing hot nutritional meals for struggling families and individuals. (These services have been temporarily suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic).

During the pandemic period, 300 Blankets and Melbourne Ice (semi-professional ice hockey team) identified that many families were losing their jobs and struggling with the basic cost of living. Together they set up a program called ICEOLATION care package which allows any individual from the community to donate to someone in need. They can either nominate the recipient, or alternatively the 300 Blankets team will deliver the care packs to families they know are struggling. By end July 2020, the team have delivered more than 300 packs to families mainly in the west and north of Melbourne.

Joint winners: Lifeful Coordination & Management

The services offered by Lifeful Coordination & Management includes supporting people with disability to get the best outcomes from their NDIS plans and achieve their personal goals. Operating from offices in Melton/Brimbank and Hoppers Crossing, with many Brimbank participants, Lifeful’s purpose is to listen, understand and challenge clients to live the best lives they are capable of; a key factor of which is increased community participation.

Lifeful’s commitment to supporting this vulnerable group is demonstrated through its decisive response to the mandated isolation of Brimbank citizens due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Their clientele, who experience psychosocial illness, intellectual disability, autism or a range of physical and neurological disabilities, are amongst the most isolated and the most susceptible to contracting the virus, and so are at high risk of negative mental health outcomes resulting from seclusion. The approach taken was to ensure the most vulnerable members of the community were able to stay connected through the pandemic via access to telehealth, regular social contact and update.

Encouragement Award: Acts of Random Kindness Victoria Inc.

This organisation is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of children and women of culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities in and around the Brimbank City council areas. ARK-VIC has become a household name in the West; equipping these vulnerable and disadvantaged groups with skills and attributes that promote positive community engagement and prevent anti-social and risky behaviours. Offers a range of activities and programs that inspire and empower these groups to better themselves and their families.

Environment & Sustainability Award:

This award demonstrates outstanding contribution to the protection, enhancement and awareness of Brimbank’s natural and urban environment.

Winner: Friends of the Maribyrnong Valley Inc.

Since 1986 the Friends of the Maribyrnong Valley have worked to improve the amenity of the Maribyrnong River Valley in western Melbourne by sound environmental projects, achieved by thousands of volunteer hours. The organisation endeavours to constantly improve the river and its immediate surroundings and works closely with numerous community groups and local schools to improve the habitat of the area by working on sustainable environmental activities to protect, enhance and promote our Brimbank local natural environment.

The Friends of the Maribyrnong Valley have been volunteering at Caroline Chisholm Reserve in Keilor for over 15 years to create the wildlife corridor that now provides homes at three different story levels for the local wildlife. They volunteer on both sides of the Maribyrnong River at Green Valley and Calder Rise and helped transform the old tip into the park land area it is today. They also volunteered in Sydenham Park on National Tree Day and World Environment Day, as well as regular Wednesday morning working bees to help restore grasslands.

Learning Excellence Award:

This award demonstrates outstanding contribution to the ongoing education, learning and engagement of the Brimbank community.

Joint winners: Taylors Lakes Secondary College

Taylors Lakes Secondary College has made an outstanding contribution to the ongoing education, learning and engagement of the Brimbank community. The priority of this school is its students and the college is well known for its academic achievements, the quality of staff and also the breadth of the co-curricular program.

The college offers a diverse range of programs to support students. The Learning Enhancement and Advanced program (LEAP) gives senior students the opportunity to study subjects above their year level. The individual learning programs offer students extra support, which is always available. The Soccer Academy has enabled students to participate in games in Canberra and gives the players an opportunity to interact with other students that have the same passion and respect for soccer. A Homestay programfrom Italy and Japan is also available to further improve levels of cultural understanding, participation in language study and offers a lot of interaction.

Joint winners: MMG Concert Band of Victoria

The MMG Concert Band of Victoria runs a free music program for the City of Brimbank. The music schoolhas volunteer music teachers supporting young and old to learn a woodwind, brass or percussion instrument with the opportunity to join the Concert Band when ready to perform. The music school at present has 22 students ranging from five years old through to 60+ years.

The MMG Concert Band of Victoria was established just over two years ago following the amalgamation of two Maltese Bands. Since forming, there has been an immense effort to ensure the music school is successful in all ways – from running the lessons, to fundraising. There are four teachers who volunteer their time on a Monday night from 6.30-9.30pm each week. The band aims to continue to grow the school and to foster music amongst the Brimbank community. Lessons are currently being held via Zoom during the current coronavirus pandemic.

Encouragement Award: Making Media Australia and Young People Participating in Brimbank Live

Making Media Australia (MMA) provided a platform for the young people of Brimbank to discuss what matters to them and their community, while re-engaging in vital learning. Thirteen participants from diverse backgrounds were involved in the Brimbank Neighbourhood House program that presented over 30 hours of live and pre-recorded radio shows. These were broadcasted on global online radio station LIVE FM during Brimbank Live Week. The learning was delivered through the lens of the young people during the COVID-19 lockdown period.

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