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Canberra Today 9°/12° | Friday, May 24, 2024 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

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Community clubs celebrated in local awards

ClubsACT CEO Craig Shannon.

MEMBERS of ClubsACT are not-for-profit community clubs that exist to give back to the local community, says CEO Craig Shannon.

“The ClubsACT 2023 Clubs and Community Awards saw the biggest attendance yet, with more than 250 people” he says.

“We repositioned the focus of the awards a couple of years ago to further highlight the positive impact on the community, and clearly the renewed focus has been a success.

“I am a sixth-generation Canberran myself, so I love seeing the engagement and efforts to become part of the community.”

Craig says having been in his role for almost three years, he still sees his position as a very exciting opportunity.

“My background is in the community and not-for-profit sectors, so I have been able to bring that knowledge to this role,” he says.

“Each award category tells a story, which highlights an often overlooked feature of our community; the narratives that have always existed, but haven’t always been covered.

“I know it’s important to understand clubs are becoming more diverse and innovative, and it’s an ongoing pleasure to see this growth.

“I enjoy my role, and I’m hoping, in future, to continue to build stability for clubs outside the more traditional sectors.”

ClubsACT, call 6273 4694 or visit


The 2023 Clubs and Community Award winners

Arts & Culture: Canberra Irish Club

Hospitality Innovation: Vikings Group

Contribution to Sport, Community Development and Wellbeing: Ainslie Group

Celebrating Diversity & Social Inclusion: Eastlake Group

Education, Learning and Development: Vikings Group

Sustainability & Environment: Ainslie Group

Emerging Talent: Thoroughbred Park – Elizabeth Francis and Karin Kaeser – Erindale Vikings

Individual Service to the Industry – Person of the Year: Thoroughbred Park – Ken Lewis

Extra Award for Special Recognition for Service to the Industry: Ian Mackay, Canberra Southern Cross Club

Heart of the Community (Small Club): Thoroughbred Park

Heart of the Community (Large Club): Ainslie Group

Canberra Irish Club.

Fostering and cultivating Irish culture

THE Canberra Irish Club won the Arts & Culture Award at the 2023 ClubsACT, Clubs and Community Awards, says general manager Paul Lander.

“When the club was established in 1975, one of three objectives enshrined in the constitution was to cultivate and foster Irish culture,” he says.

“Over the years the club has supported many cultural events and activities including Irish language, Irish dancing, traditional music and celebrations of Ireland’s national day, St Patrick’s Day on March 17.

“We are proud to offer a little bit of Ireland in the national capital.”

Paul says the club is the venue for an extensive range of community groups.

“Providing opportunities for people to develop skills, to pursue their interests and to develop contacts, as well as to seek assistance or guidance in the areas of wellbeing,” he says.

“The club has a diverse and socially inclusive membership as well as staff make-up covering LGBTQI+, people with disabilities, and different cultures.

“Community involvement and engagement is at the core of the club’s operations. As a non-profit association we are committed to serving the local community and providing opportunities for a wide range of community groupings to develop and foster involvement and growth.”

Canberra Irish Club, 6 Parkinson Street, Weston. Call 6288 5088, or visit

Canberra Racing Club receiving their awards, from left, CRC CEO Darren Pearce, Ken Lewis, Elizabeth Francis and former chair Ian Mackay.

Awards bring ‘incredibly special’ night to remember

IT was a night to remember at the 2023 Clubs ACT Clubs and Community Awards for the Canberra Racing Club, says chief executive Darren Pearce.

“For the first time in our history, the club was awarded the prestigious Heart of the Community (Small Club) Award,” he says.

“This is an award which recognises the outstanding efforts of a club that has had a significant positive impact on their community by contributing to and improving the social, cultural, financial or environmental wellbeing of the community.

“We are passionate about being a force for good in the Canberra community so to have been selected from what was a wonderful group of nominees is incredibly special.”

Two individual employees of the Canberra Racing Club were also honoured, says Darren.

“Elizabeth Francis and Ken Lewis secured the Emerging Talent of the Year Award and the Individual Service to Industry Award respectively,” he says.

“Liz is our events and catering manager and stands as a shining example of dedication, she strives to learn and grow every day.

“Like Liz, Kenny is a favourite here at Thoroughbred Park and as our assistant facilities manager rarely seeks the credit for his tireless work around the venue and his willingness to go the extra mile for customers, horses and horse people.”

Thoroughbred Park. Visit

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