Welcoming Cities Awards for Change

Sebastian GeersArticles, Blog, News

The Welcoming Cities team are delighted to announce the winners of the inaugural Welcoming Cities Awards for Change. The awards celebrate leading practice and innovation in advancing welcoming and inclusive communities. 

The Welcoming Cities Awards celebrate change made in communities by individuals, organisations and local councils. They acknowledge the progress that strengthens social cohesion with newly arrived and receiving communities to ensure everyone has a chance to participate, belong and thrive.

We deliberately landed on the name Welcoming Cities Awards for Change because that is what we’re seeking to identity and celebrate. All of the nominees deserve to be applauded. In its inaugural year, the winners were chosen from an exceptionally strong field, representing a range of wonderful programs and work being advanced across the country. 

Aleem Ali, CEO Welcoming Australia, reflected on the strength of entries as an endorsement of the Welcoming Cities network, saying ” All of the nominees deserve to be applauded. All of the nominees presented compelling stories of ongoing change being made in their communities by individuals, organisations and local councils. All of the nominees described the intersection of newly arrived and receiving communities working together to ensure everyone has a chance to participate, belong and thrive.”

The winner in the local council category is Hume City Council in Victoria for their continued engagement with diverse communities during the Covid-19 pandemic. Faced with increased cases and low vaccination rates, Hume used an integrated approach to engage with harder to reach communities. This included the implementation of the Hume Health Champions program, a team of community leaders from diverse backgrounds, deployed to engage with members of their own communities.

The winner in the Individual category is Kate and Nick Land from the Cunnamulla Bakery in rural Queensland. Faced with the challenge of attracting and retaining people to live and work in Cunnamulla, Nick and Kate implemented changes to ensure new staff felt welcomed not only into the business, but the whole community.

The winner in the organisations (community or business) category is The Aqua English Project in Queensland. Led by Sarah Scarce, the Aqua English Project supports, engages and empowers new arrivals through the use of language, water safety and swimming.