2022 Civic Awards

Civic Awards 2022 Group Shot

On 23 February 2022, Council formally acknowledged the efforts of those individuals, community groups and businesses who contribute to helping others in the City of Maribyrnong.

Mayor Cr Anthony Tran hosted an afternoon where he acknowledged those inspirational community members who give so selflessly to making the City of Maribyrnong a great place to live, work and visit.

Below you will find all the recipients of the 2022 Civic Awards followed by some images from the awards presentation.

 

Citizen of the Year, Rodney Johnstone

For ten years, Rodney has been instrumental in supporting a number of community based organisations that focus on giving back to the Maribyrnong community.

As President of the Footscray Hockey Club since 2014, Rodney has been at the forefront of creating a culture of inclusion and gender equity. He has worked tirelessly to promote a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment that embraces and supports everyone to play the game they love.

Rodney has also played a significant role in supporting the cycling community. In 2014, he founded Footscray’s Community Bike Hub, a not-for-profit organisation that repairs donated bicycles for those in need, while also saving them from going in to landfill.

Since the organisation was founded, over 600 bikes have been donated, over 2,400 bikes have been repaired and serviced, and over 1,300 bikes have been saved from landfill.

Rodney's years of work with Footscray Rotary has seen more members from diverse backgrounds taking up executive positions within the organisation, which supports young people in the community by providing scholarships and opportunities to take part in leadership activities.

Rodney is a champion of our community and has had a major impact on many who call the City of Maribyrnong home.

Mayoral Award, Thien-Giang Nguyen

Thien-Giang Nguyen was a driving force behind Happy Tet, an initiative launched by the Vietnamese Community in Australia (VCA) to deliver gifts to those significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic across Melbourne.

At a time when many in the Vietnamese community would be celebrating Tet, or Vietnamese New Year, by gathering and exchanging gifts, instead the City found itself in lockdown and the community was unable to come together to connect.

Thien-Giang – program coordinator for the VCA – worked with over 50 volunteers, and local organisations and businesses to provide gift packages to those in need. Over 1,000 were delivered, filled with essential items such as rice, soy sauce, fish sauce, chicken, meat, masks and hand sanitiser.

The gift recipients came from a number of cultures and faiths – in the spirit of Tet, anyone who wanted a gift received one.

Volunteer of the Year Award, Lorraine Woodman

For 30 years, Lorraine Woodman has volunteered thousands of hours to make sure young adults who live with intellectual disabilities are able to play sport in a safe and welcoming environment.

A passionate Doggies supporter, she is dedicated to seeing greater participation in sport and has been instrumental in making this a reality in the West. She has facilitated the Western Region All Abilities Cricket program, which provides those living with a disability the opportunity to be involved in the game of cricket.  She was also a central figure in the establishment of an All Abilities Cricket program at Yarraville Cricket Club, and supported the team's entry into the Melbourne All Abilities Cricket Association, with teams in divisions one and two.

Lorraine is always going out of her way to create opportunities for budding cricketers to get active and share the joy of being with those who have the same interests.

Youth Leadership Award, Zac Chu

Zac Chu is the founder of Diet to Save Earth, a youth-led movement with the vision of educating and mobilising young people around the world to be catalysts in encouraging their families and communities to promote and adopt dietary changes as a powerful, far-reaching climate action.

Having immigrated to Australia in 2020 prior to the onset of the CO VID-19 pandemic, Zac commenced his year nine studies. With a keen interest in politics and current affairs, he single-handedly convened Diet to Save Earth as his personal contribution towards a number of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Despite the challenges of COVID-19, Zac launched an advocacy campaign to petition Australia and 18 other G20 nations to sign the Intergovernmental Declaration on Children, Youth and Climate Action. In recognition of Zac’s work, he was invited to represent Australia as a delegate to the 16th United Nations Climate Change Conference of Youth.

Zac took the initiative to make substantial contributions to the Maribyrnong community while overcoming unexpected adversities brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, serving as a leader and role model for young people in the City.

Community Strengthening Award, Pradeep Tiwari and Belle Hadiwidjaja

Pradeep Tiwari

Pradeep Tiwari has been a member of the West Footscray community for over 30 years. President of the West Footscray Traders Association, Pradeep has spent much of his time giving back to his local community, playing an instrumental role in hosting a range of events in West Footscray – including the Festival of Colours and Christmas Carols – to bring people together to celebrate.

After seeing the impact the COVID-19 pandemic was having on members of his community, Pradeep started a free grocery delivery service for older people and those living with a disability in the City of Maribyrnong, working with other community organisations to provide groceries and essentials to over 300 recipients.

Pradeep is always willing to go above and beyond to support those who need a helping hand, whether it is his fellow traders, local West Footscray residents, or the broader Maribyrnong community.

Belle Hadiwidjaja - Princess on Skates

Unable to put on her ice skates during the pandemic, Belle Hadiwidjaja, founder of Princess on Skates, instead strapped on her roller skates and took to the streets of Yarraville and surrounds for her daily exercise. Belle was roller dancing to music around local parks and the community loved watching her skate.

What began as a way to enjoy some fresh air and physical activity during lockdown became an opportunity to bring smiles and cheer during a time when many were unable to connect with others.

She regularly skated through the neighbourhood dressed in elaborate costumes, which ranged from dinosaurs and princesses to fairies, butterflys and even a cow. This brought joy and laughter to those around her, improving the wellbeing of the community at a time when families were stuck at home for most of the day.

Enterprise Maribyrnong Award for New and Emerging Business, Assist Ability Australia

Assist Ability Australia provides services to people with disabilities, ranging from in-home support, education support, employment support or community access.

Assist Ability Australia is a family run business created to empower people with disabilities to make informed choices about their care and the delivery of their services.

Assist Ability Australia continued to provide support to the community throughout COVID-19, and run a range of fun and adventurous activities to encourage participants to be involved in the community and gently pushing them out of their comfort zone in a safe environment.

Enterprise Maribyrnong Award for Contribution to Business Community, Jules Brooke – She’s the Boss

She’s the Boss is the brainchild of Jules Brooke, who wanted to normalise the idea of women in powerful business roles, motivate women to go into business for themselves with confidence, and provide positive role models for the next generation. She’s the Boss puts the spotlight on female founders and women doing extraordinary things in business by providing a positive and uplifting network.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020, Jules – who has been a resident of Maribyrnong for over 25 years – recognised the risks of isolation and the need for connection and support among the business women and female founders in her City. To combat this, Jules established a regular Friday lunchtime event now attended and supported by over 1,500 women locally and internationally,

With a background in public relations and business development, Jules is able to get the word out to promote businesses, brainstorm business ideas, motivate others, and connect women in business with complementary skills and aspirations.

Enterprise Maribyrnong Award for Innovative Business, Sheridan Rose Shaw – MAMAWEST

In the midst of the global pandemic, Sheridan Rose Shaw had a vision to change the landscape of hairdressing and small business through collaboration and community building, and in February 2021, MAMAWEST was born.

A hair salon and collaborative co-working space in Maidstone, MAMAWEST has since expanded and quickly developed a strong reputation for its commitment to quality service, inclusiveness and friendliness within the community.

Sheridan is the Creative Director of MAMAWEST, and deliberately chose a space that was bigger than what she needed for her hair salon so that she could create a community of women-led businesses all under one roof.  As a result of her community focused business model, MAMAWEST has become home to five individual businesses and three local artists.

With Sheridan’s community spirit and innovation, she has created opportunities for women to stay in business through COVID-19 and supported hairdressers to remain viable in a pandemic environment.

Active Maribyrnong Sporting Award, Jeongsin Taekwondo

Jeongsin is a community based Taekwondo club that has been running for 15 years in Maidstone under the leadership of Commonwealth Games gold medallist Kristy Busuttil. Through the practice of martial arts, although challenging in nature, Jeongsin provides the perfect environment for developing many positive personal attributes such as fitness, goal setting, resilience, humility and focus.

Jeongsin promotes a culture of acceptance and inclusivity – the club’s core philosophy of belonging means members feel welcome and respected no matter their age, gender, personal challenge or preference.

Their Taekwondo classes are designed on ‘old school’ training principles, with a focus on traditional techniques including strength, conditioning, discipline and respect, all in a safe and friendly family environment.

Arts Award, Pitchface Inc.

Pitchface is a community choir that was set up in 2018 by a group of four friends – Harriet O'Donnell, Tamara Oudyn, Tessa Meyrick and Dominique Meyrick. Under their guidance and musical direction, the choir has grown from strength to strength, meeting fortnightly at Footscray City Primary School.

Pitchface provides a safe space for local women to explore their voices and discover, or fuel, a love for singing. During lockdown, when so many choirs struggled to operate, the organising committee created tutorials and virtual choir videos to support a transition to online singing.

The Pitchface founders volunteer their time to run rehearsals, organise performances, create virtual choir videos, and host online trivia events and musical picnics, creating a wonderful community spirit for the women of Maribyrnong. The choristers are able to connect with others, gain new skills, forge valuable friendships, and feel a greater sense of belonging, all of which was vital during lockdown.