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CLUBS from across the ACT have been recognised for outstanding contributions made to their local communities in the first Clubs & Community Awards.
Eleven award winners and one highly commended winner were chosen from eight categories by a distinguished judging panel consisting of the Member for Canberra, Gai Brodtmann; philanthropist Paul Walshe and Menslink chief executive, Martin Fisk.
ClubsACT CEO, Gwyn Rees said: “This is the first time these awards have been held here in the ACT.
“The goal is to take time to note the many things our local clubs do every day, often quietly without wanting or expecting recognition, to support our community.
“While we talk a lot about the community contributions valued at more than $30 million that clubs make, what they do for our community is so much wider than this.
“We have seen clubs promote inclusion and diversity, support amateur sport for all ages, and generally bring our community together in a positive way.
“The Clubs & Community Awards are all about recognising initiatives which encapsulate the spirit and ethos of the entire club industry.”
ClubsACT president Kim Marshall chose to make the President’s Award to ACT Policing.
“Early this year, our clubs fell victim to a series of robberies, over 20 in total,” Mrs Marshall said.
“During this harrowing period, ACT Police kept in constant contact with ClubsACT and clubs. The two organisations worked closely in collecting information about persons of interest and worked diligently to ensure our community remains a safe one.
“The success of the co-operative behaviour between our clubs and ACT police is another great example of how clubs contribute to their community.”
Art & Culture Award
Cheers for the Oktoberfest!
The small-club winner of the Art & Culture Award was Harmonie German Club for its submission “German Culture and Oktoberfest!”.
This award recognises club achievements in delivering arts and cultural initiatives in the community – including the presentation of literature, multimedia, film, visual and performing arts and public programming including festivals and events.
The Harmonie German Club promotes and celebrates German life and is active in the local community promoting cultural events including the big one: Oktoberfest!
Supporting the School of Music
The ACT’s larger clubs shared some fantastic submissions in the Arts & Culture category, but the big-club winner was Eastlake Group for its submission “Friends of the School of Music”.
Eastlake has been a proud supporter of the Friends of the School of Music, sponsoring an outreach program to promote the participation in and education of music for young performers.
Disability, Welfare and Social Inclusion Award
Southern Cross Club to the rescue
This award recognises outstanding dedication to working with community organisations or disadvantaged groups – including social disadvantage, aged care, special needs and indigenous programs.
The judges report an “amazing” response from clubs in this category and say it was heartwarming to see the profound contributions in these areas. It was a very close call between the scores of the judges and so they decided to present a highly commended award to a club whose contributions in this category have been outstanding.
The winner of the Disability, Welfare and Social Inclusion Award was Canberra Southern Cross Club for its submission “Karinya House
The club has put its support behind Karinya House, naming it as its inaugural community key partner in August, 2017.
The community-based, not-for-profit organisation provides supported accommodation, transitional housing, outreach, support groups and casework services to pregnant and parenting women and their families who are in crisis.
The partnership will see the club provide Karinya House with up to $150,000 in cash and in-kind support each year. Over the past 17 years, the club has donated $337,000 to assisting Karinya House to continue the work it does in the community.
The highly commended award for the Disability, Welfare and Social Inclusion Award went to the Vikings Group for its “Charity of the Year” program. The group received a perfect score from one of the judges for its submission.
Vikings Group selects a community partner for its “Charity of the Year” program, which it supports for one whole year.
Last year, the Vikings Group raised $63,000 for OzHarvest Canberra through fundraising and events, including their OzHarvest Dollar Ball event. This year, their charity of the year is Marymead and they are aiming to raise $100,000.
Helping the long-term unemployed
The Education Award recognises educational and vocational advances that enhance the lives of those living in the community.
The winner of the Education Award is Vikings Group for its submission for the “Path Program”.
As part of the Vikings Group’s ongoing commitment to being an employer of opportunity, it participated in a government pilot program, the Path Program, aimed at reducing the number of long-term, unemployed youths.
Vikings Group has now undergone two rounds of the program and has given 15 young people the opportunity of long-term employment, as a result of mentoring, internships and training that resulted in employment across the Vikings’ four clubs or other hospitality operations.
Emergency Support Award
Club care saved St John’s stock
The Emergency Support Award was given to Eastlake Group for its submission “St John’s Care”.
The Emergency Support Award recognises leadership and resourcefulness of clubs in times of community need, including bushfires, floods and other major disasters and disaster recovery.
Earlier this year, inspired by a news item and a call-out from ClubsACT, the Eastlake Group jumped into action to support St John’s Care upon hearing their stock levels had reached critical levels, meaning they were unable to provide emergency assistance to those in need in the Canberra community.
Eastlake Group immediately launched a social media campaign and engaged Canberra FM to promote drop-off points for goods at Eastlake’s venues. In a matter of a couple of days Eastlake, with support of their patrons and staff, were able to provide St John’s Care with two months worth of groceries. Volunteers from the Eastlake and Canberra demons also stacked the shelves at St John’s Care.
Health & Wellbeing Award
A helping hand with harm minimisation
The Health & Wellbeing Award recognises approaches to sustain and build on improvements in quality health and wellbeing in the community – including mental health, problem gambling research or clinical support.
The prize was awarded to Vikings Group for its submission for the “Play Within Your Limits” program, which aims to address problem gambling issues through the implementation of numerous strategies and procedures in venues.
Vikings Group has taken harm minimisation measures that go above what is legislatively required. The holistic program focuses on mental health and wellbeing for the community, members and staff and provides access to support services.
Heart of the Community Award #1
Wally and Erika’s hard work wins the prize
The Heart of the Community Award celebrates particular individuals who have made a profound contributions to their local communities.
The judges say the submissions were heartwarming and agreed they were all winners.
The Heart of the Community Award recognises individuals and groups who are the “unsung heroes” in a club or in the broader community and who are an inspiration to those around them.
The first winners for the Heart of the Community Award are Wally and Erika Merkel, who were nominated by the Harmonie German Club for embodying the core values of the club – promoting and continuing the contribution of Canberra’s German heritage and culture, and providing a welcoming and inclusive place for the wider community and visitors. The application describes them as a couple who have effortlessly enhanced the involvement of all those around them with their commitment to the community, endless empathy and mouthwatering cooking.
The Merkels joined the Harmonie German Club in the 1980s and have served on the committee on six separate occasions. Erika was most recently elected to the committee in 2018, replacing Wally.
As proud Germans, they have endeavoured to celebrate their culture with almost 40 years of volunteering at Oktoberfest, making cakes and gateaux, and singlehandedly barbecuing more than 100,000 wursts.
Now in their 70s and 80s, Wally and Erika show no signs of slowing down. Their embodiment of goodness means that the core values of the Harmonie German club will continue for generations while always honouring the history that the Merkels have created together.
Heart of the Community Award #2
Reg is on a roll with bowls
The second winner of the Heart of the Community Award is Reg Bates, who was nominated by the Vikings Group.
Reg has been secretary of the Tuggeranong Vikings lawn bowls club for the past 15 years as well as the key administration officer throughout that time. He provided a pivotal link between members, the club executive committee and outside organisations, including Bowls ACT, Bowls Australia and the Vikings Group.
The position of secretary is critical to the successful management of any club and Reg’s devotion over the past 15 years, often up to 20 hours a week, five to six days a week, has seen the club rise from its fledgling years to become one of the pre-eminent organisations under the Jurisdiction of Bowls ACT.
Reg has often been the first point of contact for people interested in the club who need information or details about its activities.
His success cannot be put down to one individual element. To acknowledge his skills only goes to show how much respect he has within the club and the seven club presidents he has served under.
In honour of the hard work and endless hours Reg has devoted to the club, both on the greens and administratively, the club bestowed a life membership of the club in 2012.
Reg is not only an amazing clubman but also a staunch community advocate. The Vikings Group has witnessed Reg getting involved in many charity organisations and driving causes he is passionate about.
One of the community organisations that Reg is passionate about is Kids in Care over Christmas. Reg single-handedly took this appeal on board and worked hard to ensure that the Vikings Group knew about the cause and got involved by setting up Christmas trees at Town Centre Vikings for members to donate prizes to children over Christmas.
In June, Reg decided made the decision to step down from his secretarial role (but is still involved as a committee member) and the Vikings Group believed it was timely to recognise Reg Bates as one of the hearts of its community.
Support of Amateur Sport Award
Thousands give cheer for Vikings support
The judges report a “fantastic” response from the clubs in submitting their stories for this category. From our large club groups, to smaller clubs, the range of initiatives and support provided to amateur sport is immense.
The Amateur Sport Award by a large club was won by the Vikings Group for its “Affiliate Club Program” in which it supports 51 affiliated clubs in the Tuggeranong Valley through a vast array of programs and resources.
More than 7000 athletes in the Tuggeranong Valley belong to a Vikings Group affiliate club.
The Vikings Group offers financial support through grant funding, representative grants and event involvement. In the spirit of community, they provide in-kind support to their affiliated clubs through measures that are instrumental in keeping the affiliates viable and healthy as they are predominantly volunteer-based.
Vikings Group provides about $2 million a year in grants, infrastructure and other support to Tuggeranong’s sporting and community-based clubs.
RUC gives a hand to sporting clubs
The support of Amateur Sport Award by a small club went to the RUC at Turner. In a short period, the RUC has seen local rugby union and lawn bowls, both competitive and social, flourish in the ACT and have created a financial base for 27 of Canberra’s sporting and recreational clubs.
Youth Leadership Award
Young chef lives a dream in London
The Youth Leadership award was won by the Canberra Southern Cross Club for its “Live Your Dreams Young Leaders Program ”.
Last year, the Canberra Southern Cross Club introduced the Live Your Dreams Young Leaders Program. The program is an opportunity for all staff to achieve or complete a dream that they perhaps thought would not be possible.
The Canberra Southern Cross Club Yacht Club’s chef, Brad Howden, spent part of 2017 working alongside some of the world’s best food creators at Heston Blumenthal’s London restaurant Dinner.
Brad was awarded the chance to work at Dinner as one of four inaugural Live Your Dreams Young Leaders Program recipients introduced at the club last year.
And for Ryan Davies, the operations manager at Stellar’s Anytime Fitness gym, the program provided the opportunity to fulfil his dream of cycling through the French Alps.
This year five new winners will share the $20,000 to live their dream.