Reducing Inequalities Award

Winner: Sydenham Neighbourhood House – Brimbank Live

Brimbank Live is a digital radio platform supporting young people to connect and learn through media production. Participants receive training in writing, hosting and production of radio shows and podcasts. It is aimed at young people experiencing structural disadvantage, to unpack issues important to them, on their terms. Conceived during the pandemic as a way of supporting young people to feel connected, the platform provides opportunities to showcase the talents of young people and provides space for learning about mental health, gender and racial diversity, and career pathways.


Castlemaine Community House - Castlemaine Pride

Originating as a sign of solidarity during the marriage equality postal vote, the annual Castlemaine Pride festival has been operating since 2018 and is attended by around 400 community members. The festival provides a welcoming and safe space for LGBTIQ+ people to express and celebrate their pride, connects LGBTIQ+ people and the wider community, and addresses issues of social exclusion and social isolation. In conjunction with the festival, Castlemaine Community House plays a wider advocacy, information and referral role in the LGBTIQ+ space, co-chairing the Mount Alexander Shire LGBTIQ+ steering committee and employing a dedicated Diversity Worker.

Glen Park Community Centre - Proud Houses

The Proud Houses Project aims to promote neighbourhood houses as welcoming and inclusive spaces for the LGBTIQ+ to be a part of. The project produced two short videos ('Our House' for external use, and 'Your House' for internal use) to share amongst over 400 neighbourhood houses in Victoria, showcasing real experiences from LGBTQI+ people who are already connected to a neighbourhood house. Each neighbourhood house’s participation in sharing these videos will create opportunities and raise awareness about the importance of creating an inclusive environment for the LGBTQI+ community, and wider community. Watch the 'Our House' video.

Community Resilience Award

Winner: Bairnsdale Neighbourhood House – Rural Minds

The Rural Minds workshops aim to upskill people in remote rural communities so they are able to identify and support themselves, their family, friends and their neighbours when mental health issues arise, especially suicide. These communities are very isolated with often no infrastructure besides a community hall, and if lucky, may have a neighbourhood house. The facilitator will often travel a five hour round trip to deliver the workshops to some of the most severely affected communities impacted by drought, bushfires and COVID 19, across the East Gippsland and Wellington Shires. The workshops provide a tool box of resources, information and strategies, tailored specifically for agricultural communities, delivered by people working in the agricultural industry.


Eaglehawk Community House - ‘Happy Food Helper’ Program

When Eaglehawk was forced to close their doors to the public due to COVID restrictions, they quickly adapted their delivery model to focus on essential activities that would ensure the welfare of their most vulnerable community members. By the end of December 2020, they had prepared and delivered over 19,000 meals, over 4,780 grocery and personal pack hampers, and conducted more than 4,400 phone welfare checks. More than 31,000 volunteer manpower hours went into supporting more than 10,000 adults and children. City of Greater Bendigo Deputy Mayor Andrea Metcalfe stated that Eaglehawk Community House “kept our community together”.

Wyndham Park Community Centre - Strength through Adversity

In partnership with United Sikhs Australia, Wyndham City Council and other community agencies, Wyndham Park Community Centre provided food support to over 200 families per week at the peak of the lockdown. Over 80 per cent of people supported by the program were from a CALD background, strengthening ties with these communities, and satisfaction surveys found that participants felt more connected to community and that the food support program was delivered with dignity and respect. Wyndham Park is also partnering with Learn Local to deliver food training courses that could lead to employment opportunities for participants.

Climate Action Award

Winner: Anglesea Community House - Anglesea Resale Shed

The Resale Shed has played an important role in helping the local community understand the benefits of the circular economy and creates opportunities for the community to participate in climate action. The Resale Shed helps divert an estimated 144 tonnes of non-organic material from landfill each year. Volunteer community groups, including disability support services groups, manage the day to day sales and to date, the Resale Shed has raised over $200,000 for local community groups.  


Heyfield Community Resource Centre - MyTown Microgrid Feasibility Study

As the cost of clean energy technologies fall and as extreme weather events test the electricity grid to its limits, communities are responding by seeking other ways to secure their local supply. MyTown Microgrid is an innovative project seeking to design and implement a more sustainable and equitable local energy model for Heyfield. MyTown Microgrid brings community, leading researchers and local businesses together to work on this challenge. The objective is to take a step towards a better and more resilient system for the people of Heyfield, while also positioning it is as a role model for other similar communities.

Maldon Neighbourhood Centre - Climate Ready Maldon

The Climate Ready Maldon project was developed in response to key characteristics of the Maldon community, namely an older demographic and older housing stock, matched with the most likely climate change impacts; increased risk of bushfires and extreme heat. The project supported local residents to become climate ready with practical actions such as home improvements to improve thermal comfort, support to develop bushfire plans, as well as the distribution of 450 information packs which included information about heat health, bushfire preparation, local climate impacts and how to be involved.

Fiona Richardson Award for Gender Equity 

Winner: Alphington Community Centre - Women in the Shed

Alphington’s Women in the Shed program is designed by women, for women, and is all about women building the skills they need to pursue their own practical needs and projects - whilst being inspired by each other in a small class environment. Participants explore a wide range of hand and power tools as they work on self-selected projects that utilise timber, tiles or metal. The program is designed to build skills and confidence, encourage community friendships, expand possibilities and create opportunities for women of all ages. It enables women to have the confidence to tackle basic tasks at home, particularly valuable for women who live alone, and gives them the skills to explore alternative micro-business opportunities.


Timbertop Children’s and Community Centre (City of Melton) - Gender Equity Awareness Project

The focus of this project was to generate awareness about gender equity in a respectful, positive and culturally sensitive manner, to bring about behavioural change. Numerous consultations with community members, CALD community leaders and stakeholders such as maternal and child health, kinder and child care services informed the project. The first component of this project was the creation and promotion of the ‘What Respect Means to Me’ video, featuring a diverse range of community members sharing their views on what respect means to them and why it is important to them. The second component was a Gender Equality Art Ideas Competition which invited the community to share their art creations inspired by the concept of gender equality.

Wellsprings for Women – Girls on the Move

The Girls on the Move program engages young women from migrant and refugee backgrounds in sports and physical activities. Some girls, especially if recently settled in Australia, do not feel comfortable accessing sport opportunities because they are mixed gender or due to other cultural barriers. The program facilitates opportunities at a number of outreach locations for the girls to participate in taster activities for various types of sports such as swimming, soccer, cricket, football and beach safety. These sports activities are designed to be convenient, accessible, cost free, and culturally appropriate. The program also connects the girls to peak sport bodies and clubs in the Cities of Casey, Dandenong and Cardinia Shire.

Social Enterprise Award

Winner: Bridge Darebin – Moon Rabbit

Moon Rabbit is an environmentally innovative social enterprise café in Preston. The café is a training site for Bridge Darebin’s Tiered Transitional Training (TTT) program, a tailored work-readiness program for young people with additional learning needs. Moon Rabbit serves the community by providing an income stream for Bridge Darebin’s underfunded community programs, and by providing affordable, accessible package-free food through our Bulk Foods Collective. When COVID-19 hit the hospitality sector hard, Moon Rabbit launched zero-waste take-away, delivery and a brand new mobile café, staying true to their connection with people and planet.


Ballarat Neighbourhood Centre – Our Kitchen Social Enterprise

Our Kitchen Social Enterprise is a commercial catering venture which facilitates pathways to employment through pre-accredited hospitality training programs. Hosting community events, supporting food access programs, and supplying Social Traders certified catering, Our Kitchen is 'staffed' by priority adult learners facing significant barriers to work. It is also supported by a diverse group of dedicated volunteers. Its outputs seek to address social isolation, food security, nutritional outcomes, and food literacy. Its broad and inclusive programs provide real-world hospitality experience, build confidence, strengthen social networks, and contribute to the overall social capital of the participants. 

Emerald Community House – The Emerald Messenger

When two local community newspapers folded in 2018, Emerald Community House seized the moment to fill the void, establishing The Emerald Messenger. Available in print and online, it includes community submitted articles of local interest on social justice, climate change, health and wellbeing, events, sustainability, arts, local history and commentary. Throughout the pandemic in 2020, The Emerald Messenger sustained many isolated people, and community groups received free promotion to increase connectivity and build local links. The collaboration between local writers and the editorial staff has led to improved writing skills development and some beginner writers have gained employment elsewhere due to the popularity of their articles.