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2016 Hesta Award winners announced

The 2016 HESTA Community Sector Award winners have been announced.

Announced at an awards ceremony held in Sydney last night, the winners were selected from 12 finalists from across Australia.

The awards acknowledge outstanding contributions to social justice in Australia, through the provision of high-quality services, programs and initiatives across the categories of Unsung Hero, Outstanding Organisation and Social Impact.

HESTA CEO, Debby Blakey, said this year’s winners demonstrate the vital work those in the sector do to build stronger and more inclusive communities, enhancing the wellbeing of individuals experiencing disadvantage.

“This year’s winners are delivering innovative programs and services that have a tremendous impact in shaping society and improving the lives of others,” Blakey said.

“Their work breaks down the barriers of disadvantage, helping people who are often socially excluded or facing hardship, improve their lives. We are proud to acknowledge the contribution they make and to give them the recognition they deserve.”

The 2016 winners are:

Unsung Hero Award: Anne Mitchell, Concern, Australia Melbourne, VIC.

Mitchell is recognised for leading the Steps Outreach Service, a program of Concern Australia, providing support and advocacy to young homeless people.

“We have seen we can make a difference in people’s lives and we do it one person at a time,” Mitchell said.

“We support young people as long as they need it, which is a key difference of the Steps program. For instance, we’re working with the children of past clients to keep them connected to education, as it’s one of the main pathways out of generational poverty.”

Outstanding Organisation Award: Arts Project Australia, Northcote, VIC.

Awarded for supporting artists with an intellectual disability, providing them sustained and individualised pathways into the professional visual arts. Established in 1974, Arts Project Australia was the first full-time not-for-profit art studio in Australia for artists with intellectual disabilities.

Social Impact Award:

Women with Disabilities Victoria, Melbourne, VIC.

Women with Disabilities Victoria (WDV) is recognised for their contribution to government policies aimed at achieving greater social justice and change for women with disabilities in Victoria. The organisation’s 11 employees and 300 plus members work to ensure the voices and stories of women with disabilities are heard and considered when public policy and government recommendations and decisions are made.

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