Community Service Awards 2016: state’s best honoured

A JUNIOR football club, a refuge for at-risk women and a program to foster greater understanding of Aboriginal culture were among the winners at the 2016 Community Service Excellence Awards.

The eight awards, presented on Wednesday night, are a partnership between the State Government and the WA Council of Social Service.

The winning small organisation was the Coolbinia Bombers Junior Football Club, whose ‘Starkick All Abilities Football’ program assists special needs children to participate in the sport.

The winner in the medium organisation category was Zonta House Refuge Association, a group that provides support services to women and families who have experienced, or are risk of, domestic violence.

Kaitijin Mia Mia Aboriginal Foundation took out the ‘outstanding commitment to reconciliation’ award, with its Healing Centre and Bush University program allowing visitors to understand and learn about Aboriginal culture.

Community Services Minister Tony Simpson said all the winners should be lauded for their tireless work.

“Whether large or small, all community service organisations provide vital support to some of WA’s most vulnerable people,” Mr Simpson said.

“There is an outstanding variety of community services represented at these awards – from the largest organisations operating at a state-wide level to the smallest groups working within their local community.

“What they have in common is their hard work and determination, and their combined efforts contribute to making Western Australia a better place for everyone to live.”

Community Services Excellence Awards 2016 – Full list of winners

Small Organisation – Coolbinia Bombers Junior Football Club, Coolbinia

The Starkick All Abilities Football program is an Australian first and provides a pathway for special needs footballers to play AFL in their community. With modified training and equipment, children with autism, cerebral palsy and vision impairment can play.

Medium Organisation – Zonta House Refuge Association, Melville

The Positive Pathways to Safety for Women and Children program was established in 2013. The program provides holistic support services to women and families who have experienced, or are at risk of experiencing, family and domestic violence, mental health issues and homelessness.

Large Organisation – Technology Assisting Disability WA Inc, Bassendean

TADWA provides specialised services to people with disabilities, older people and their carers by providing customised solutions to allow them to live happily and safety in their own home and community. In 2014-15, the organisation provided more than 6,980 services to clients in WA.

Regional Organisation – Youth Involvement Council Inc, South Hedland

Mingle Mob is a street patrol outreach program which operates from 6pm to 10pm, two nights a week, to reduce anti-social and criminal behaviour in youth. The program connects youth to youth workers and case managers who are equipped with the tools to help young people with the issues they are facing.

Outstanding Commitment to Citizen Empowerment – DADAA Ltd, Fremantle

The Access All Arts is a program of Audio Description and Access Tours to increase access to arts and cultural activities for people who are blind, vision impaired or deaf-blind. This is the first time this program will be taking place at close to 20 major festivals and theatre productions in Perth.

Outstanding Commitment to Reconciliation – Kaitijin Mia Mia Aboriginal Foundation, Malimup

The Healing Centre and Bush University program allows visitors to understand and learn about Aboriginal culture and ways of working. The foundation’s sharing of information in this reconciliation space includes advice on how to engage and form relationships with Aboriginal people and contribute to a better future for all Australians.

Local Government and Community Services Collaboration – CommunityWest Inc, Woodvale

The Act to Connect: Facilitating Community Connections program responds to issues of loneliness and social isolation. The steering group comprised the City of Rockingham, Bethanie and CommunityWest Inc, and supports professionals working with people with disability and mental health issues.

Partnerships – Centacare Employment and Training, West Perth

Project Stepping Stones is a highly successful joint venture between Centacare Employment and Training, Police and Community Youth Centres and the Department of Education. It is an intervention and engagement program that aims to keep ‘at risk’ young people who have disengaged from mainstream schooling off the streets, out of trouble and ultimately out of the juvenile detention system.