The work by outstanding locals was honoured during the annual Sunshine Coast Australia Day Awards last week. The recipients were nominated by the community and selected by a panel of local leaders.
Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson says the annual awards again highlighted the outstanding work of so many community-focused citizens and organisations.
“2020 was a year that will never be forgotten for so many reasons, but particularly because we saw our residents come together to support each other like never before,” Mayor Jamieson says.
“All of our award recipients and nominees are truly deserving of these accolades.”
A brief background of award recipients:
Cheryl Harris – Citizen of the Year:
Ms Harris has been a strong voice and advocate for volunteers for more than 10 years and is Volunteering Sunshine Coast CEO. Due to her collaboration with local government, businesses and community partnerships, there are currently about 64,000 volunteers serving the Coast community.
Ms Harris has assisted people seeking paid employment through the pathways to employment program, co-ordinated volunteers during disasters and referred volunteers to not-for-profit organisations.
Angelique Hallett – Young Citizen of the Year:
Ms Hallett is the founder and director of the social enterprise Loving Hope Bears. Annually on the Sunshine Coast and Gympie, 446 children are forced to flee their homes with a parent as a result of domestic violence. For two years, Ms Hallett learnt everything she could about how she could provide a teddy bear to every child in domestic violence shelters on the Sunshine Coast and in Gympie. Loving Hope Bears has now delivered more than 300 bears to domestic violence shelters for children.
Carmel Crouch – Senior Citizen of the Year:
Ms Crouch’s dedication to providing opportunities for people with a disability began more than 45 years ago when she adopted a son with disabilities. The organisation STEPS was born and Ms Crouch has been a key driver in her voluntary role as chair and president for 33 years.
Mooloolaba Lions Club – Community Group or Organisation:
Mooloolaba Lions Club has served the community for 46 years. Since 1999, this service has involved the Lions Fisherman’s Road Sunday Market. Working with a core group of 13 members, COVID-19 did not stop the group’s fundraising distribution this fiscal year being $119,022.
Aleesah Darlison – Creative Award:
Ms Darlison has published 50 books in 10 years and has won or been shortlisted for many awards. She formed a network of children’s authors and illustrators (SCBWI) enabling local artists to share ideas, knowledge and opportunities to lift the status and capacity of Sunshine Coast creatives.
Reef Check Australia – Environmental Award:
RCA engages the community in hands-on citizen science and education initiatives to help volunteers take an active role in appreciating, understanding and protecting local reef resources. RCA volunteers have surveyed more than 14,000 square metres of reef in the Sunshine Coast area and marine debris has been identified as a critical issue. RCA volunteers have worked with partners to remove more than 3000 kilos of rubbish from local beaches and waterways.
Stephen Ossedryver – Sport and Recreation Award:
Mr Ossedryver is a trailblazer in the local mountain biking (MTB) arena. In 2012, on a firefighter exchange to Canada, he was inspired by a MTB club there, and on his return, began developing MTB trails in the Caloundra Town Reserve. As he created new trails and added adventurous features, more riders found them, and others began to help him with trail development.
Kawana Waters Surf Life Saving Club – Outstanding Achievement COVID-19 Response Award:
During the COVID-19 pandemic, and while the Kawana Surf Club was closed, one of the club’s major sponsors donated money to be used towards cooking and delivering meals to local Kawana RSL members. For 10 weeks, hearty meals were prepared by the chef’s and packaged by staff ready for delivery by a handful of volunteers who were current and past volunteer surf lifesavers, life members, and local businesses donating some of their staff to help.