Community Achievement’s still shine through COVID

Council’s Community Achievement Awards (CAA) Program recognises the work of individuals and their contribution to community projects and the community. The CAA Program inspires individual and community pride, and strengthens community life in Melton.

After being postponed from November 2020 due to significant COVID-restrictions at the time, Council’s Community Achievement Awards celebration event was held last Thursday evening.  Although all 2021 nominees and nominators were advised of the outcome of their nomination by letter before Christmas, so that the winners of each category could be invited to Council’s 2021 Australia Day event to receive public acknowledgement, last week’s event was a way of celebrating everyone who had received a nomination.

This year, Council received 41 nominations from 28 nominators and our very worthy 2021 winners are:

Citizen of the Year: Annette Butterworth
Annette has volunteered with local community, parent and pre-school groups in the City of Melton for many years. Annette served on the Committee of Management for the Melton Uniting Pre-School and accepted the role as Treasurer for Rotary Club Caroline Springs when the Club chartered. She served on this board for two years before championing the development of the BusyFeet Melton program in 2013. BusyFeet Melton is a weekly dance and movement program for children with disabilities that provides a safe space for children to grow and develop whilst having fun. Annette has been the driving force behind this program, and during the COVID-19 lockdown, she was integral to establishing online BusyFeet classes, providing continuity and engaging children from their homes.

Young Citizen of the Year: Lauchlan Wright
At 19 years of age, Lauchlan has already been a member of the Caroline Springs Fire Brigade for many years. Lauchlan is frequently seen throughout the City of Melton putting out fires and keeping our community safe all year round. Lauchlan also supports the annual Christmas Brigade and runs programs educating the community on fire safety. Lauchlan attended the 2019/2020 bushfires, which were amongst the worst fires both Victoria and Australia has ever seen. His efforts won him the Encouragement Award from the Country Fire Authority (CFA) in 2020. Lauchlan demonstrates exceptional community leadership and is an outstanding role model in the community.

Gender Equity Leader of the Year: Prabha Shrestha
Prabha Shrestha is a member of Nepalese community in the City of Melton and Vice President of the Didi Bahini Samaj Victoria (DBSV), a women-led organisation committed to gender equality and women’s empowerment. Prabha designed and implemented a women’s capacity and confidence program called “Live well project with fun for girls and women.”  This program has assisted over 300 international students and women to access health and counselling services. Prabha also designed a short awareness-raising movie on family violence called “See-through me” and has facilitated community discussions to raise awareness of family violence prevention in the community.

Access & Inclusion Leader of the Year: Zoe Attard
As the senior’s head coach at Specialist Hoops Basketball in the City of Melton, Zoe has made a difference to the lives of many people living with disability. Specialist Hoops is a basketball program which makes team sport accessible to people living with disabilities. Before joining Specialist Hoops, 90 per cent of participants had had little opportunity to participate in group sports. Zoe also referees basketball and coaches for the Falcon Rebels Basketball Club. Her ongoing enthusiasm and passion for supporting and encouraging participation in sport and helping people to improve their skills is outstanding.

Intercultural Engagement Leader of the Year: Ehab Hadaya
Since settling in Melbourne in 2018, Ehab has actively supported many initiatives and the local Iraqi Assyrian community.  Ehab has volunteered with the Western Bulldogs Community Foundation, various disability services and participated in numerous meetings, workshops and events in support of newly arrived community members. Ehab was instrumental in supporting the activities of the Iraqi group that meets in Caroline Springs and actively distributing COVID-19 related updates throughout 2020.  Ehab also fundraised and even grew his own hair for two years to donate it for wigs to support children with cancer.  Ehab has demonstrated leadership in encouraging participation in public life, fostering intercultural understanding and connection.