Hills Shire 2017 Australia Day Award winners announced

A dedicated footballer, a young role model with an inspiring community service project, a group aimed at connecting mothers in the region and a retiree dedicated to improving literacy rates in children, have all been recognised at The Hills Shire’s 2017 Australia Day Awards on Thursday, January 26.

Mayor of The Hills Shire, Councillor Yvonne Keane said the awards recognised personal excellence and outstanding community achievements.

“The recipients of this year’s Australia Day Awards have made a significant contribution and given outstanding service to our amazing community, enriching the lives of everyone around them,” Mayor Keane said.

“Each of the recipients are positive role models who continue to strive only for the best for others.

“Their selfless actions are what makes The Hills a wonderful place,” Mayor Keane added.

This year’s Australia Day Award winners are:  

Category/Categories Award Recipient
Citizen of the Year Marco Capobianco and Chris Lee
Community Organisation of the Year The Sanctuary – The Hills Women’s Shelter
Community Project of the Year Battered Barbie Project
Community Sporting Organisation of the  Year Hills Basketball Association
Senior Citizen of the Year John Yue Kuen Choy
Young Citizen of the Year Sarah Attard

 

 This year’s Mayoral Commendation Award winners are:

Category/Categories Award Recipient
Mayoral Commendation Citizen of the Year Anju Kalra
Mayoral Commendation Citizen of the Year Neil Wares
Mayoral Commendation Community Project Addressing Angry Teens in the Family – A Parent Forum (a project of the Hills Domestic Violence Prevention Network)
Mayoral Commendation Community Project Super Sikhs Cup
Mayoral Commendation Sporting Organisation The Sydney Hills Football Association (SHFA)

 

Mayoral Commendation Senior Citizen of the Year Phillip Wines

 

This year’s Community Contribution winners are:

Category/Categories Award Recipient
Australia Day Award for Community Contribution John Ebbott
Australia Day Award for Community Contribution Hills District Mums
Australia Day Award for Community Contribution Martin Ollis
Australia Day Award for Community Contribution Annabelle Daniel
Australia Day Award for Community Contribution Superintendent Robert Critchlow

 

“I would also like to congratulate all of this year’s nominees,” Mayor Keane said.

“They were all outstanding candidates and were nominated because they made someone proud.

“It is fantastic to see our residents striving to make a difference in The Hills community, making it a better place to live.”

The winners joined members of the community receiving their Australian citizenship at The Hills Shire’s Flag Raising and Citizenship Ceremony.

The ceremony took place at Bella Vista Farm on Thursday, January 26 from 11am.

Winners were chosen by an independent judging panel which included Council’s Group Manager of Strategic Planning Michael Edgar, community member Mike Blair and Hills SES Controller Evelyn Lester.

 About the Australia Day Award recipients:

Citizen of the Year – Marco Capobianco and Chris Lee

 Marco Capobianco and Chris Lee formed the non-profit organisation, Conviction Group.

The organisation trains young men, aged 13 to 16, on how to build their emotional resilience, boost positive thinking and how to manage life’s challenges.

Mr Lee and Mr Capobianco facilitate annual forums and their most recent forum received praise after it attracted 600 students, 40 schools and 100 volunteers.

Community Organisation of the Year – The Sanctuary Shelter

 The Sanctuary Women’s Shelter opened its doors in April in 2016.

The Sanctuary was a realisation of committed community members and partner funding organisation, Women’s Community Shelters, to fill the gap in vital crisis services for women and children escaping domestic and family violence in The Hills area.

Community Project of the Year – The Battered Barbie Project

Zonta Club of Sydney Hills created a Battered Barbie Doll display cabinet which included dolls that depicted the many different forms of domestic violence.

The eye-opening project also provided a refuge to share a story or learn more about domestic violence and support services in the area.

Community Sporting Organisation of the Year – Hills Basketball Association

 The Hills Basketball Association has been a part of The Hills community for more than 30 years.

During that time the organisation has grown from a few hundred to a registration base of over 5,000, with many others involved as volunteers and spectators.

As a result of the growth, HBA is the second largest basketball association in NSW.

 Senior Citizen of the Year – John Yue Kuen Choy

John Yue Kuen Choy has been a member of the Hills Chinese Seniors Association for 16 years and a member of Cherrybrook Chinese Association for more than 20 year.

He is always eager to help out wherever he is needed including visiting the elderly or cooking for them when they are ill.

He works tirelessly to set up venues, moving furniture and whips up meals.

 Young citizen of the Year – Sarah Attard

Sarah ran a community service project called Talk Out Loud.

The project provided students with the opportunity to talk about mental health in a safe and supported environment.

Ms Attard also collected clothing to give to local charity Give and Take Families. The organisation collects clothes for those who are less fortunate or escaping domestic violence.

She also encouraged students to wear colourful socks for the “Sock it to Suicide” campaign. The campaign aims to raise awareness of youth suicide rates and provide support for prevention programs.

About the Mayoral Commendation Award recipients:

Mayoral Commendation Citizen of the Year – Anju Kalra

 Anju Karla is a caring individual.

She teaches seniors how to access essential support services, as well as empowering them to make informed decisions for themselves.

Mayoral Commendation Citizen of the Year – Neil Wares

Neil Wares has a long history of supporting the community of Castle Hill and The Hills Shire Council through his involvement with Castle Hill United Football Club. Mr Wares played football for Castle Hill United for many years as a child and has remained active in the club now that he is an adult with his own family, who all play for Castle Hill United.

Mr Wares has served the Club itself in many capacities – age grader, equipment manager, field supervisor, chief line marker, general committee member, executive committee member, Vice President and President.

In September of 2016 Neil was honoured with life membership to Castle Hill United Football Club for his services to the club and community.

To add to his credentials, Mr Wares runs a sponsor drive to help cover the costs of players who struggle to afford the costs associated with competition football. He has also raised funds for the club via chocolate drives and raffles, manned countless barbecues and operated the canteen with his wife for two years.

Mayoral Commendation Community Project – Addressing Angry Teens in the Family – A Parent Forum – A project of the Hills Domestic Violence Prevention Network

Hills Domestic Violence Prevention Network (HDVPN) brings together both government and non-government organisations that provide essential services to families in The Hills Shire who are, or have experienced, domestic and family violence together to enforce a stronger support network. HDVPN also has community members and service organisations as part of the network.

One of the projects that HDVPN provided in 2015, 2016 and will again in March 2017, is a parent forum addressing the issue of youth violence in the home/family.

Speakers in the past have presented aspects of addressing this issue and have given their time free of charge.

 Mayoral Commendation Community Project – Super Sikhs Cup

More than 500 athletes travelled to Kellyville for the Super Sikhs Cup on the 3rd and 4th of September.

The event featured athletes, volunteers and officials from across Australia and New Zealand coming together to participate and compete in seven sports including volleyball, super 8’s cricket, super 6 soccer, netball, basketball, athletics and Gatka (Sikh martial arts).

Mayoral Commendation Sporting Organisation – The Sydney Hills Football Association

 Sydney Hills Football Association (SHFA) was incorporated on the 15th December 2014, with 12 Hills based football clubs, who recognised the need for an association to service the needs of the ever growing Sydney Hills region.

During 2015, volunteers from these Hills based football (soccer) clubs, worked hard as a united team to ensure that as many Hills youngsters and residents as possible can play football every weekend.

The SHFA commenced its inaugural competition in the 2016 winter season as a new Hills based association for girls, boys, women and men.

Mayoral Commendation Senior Citizen of the Year – Phillip Wines

Phillip Wines has been visiting Baulkham Hills North Primary School three mornings per week – rain, hail or shine – for more than five years to volunteer his time to help students improve their reading skills.

Mr Wines walks to the school from Aminya Retirement Village. He teaches four students, one at a time, for 30 minute literacy sessions over a two hour period.

Mr Wines implemented a multi-lit program aimed at encouraging students to continue to read and improve on their literacy levels.

Under his guidance, all students have made significant progress in their reading and comprehension skills.

About the Community Contribution Award recipients:

Community Contribution – John Ebbott

John Ebbott has given outstanding community service to the Hills Shire for the past 30 years, over this time John has been involved in Apex, Lions, Scouts, and the Orange Blossom Festival.

For the past 25 years John has organised and delivered The Crestwood Fair.

Community Contribution – Hills District Mums

Hills District Mums was established to provide an online community where mums can ask for advice, share recommendations and make connections with other mums in the Hills District.

The Hills District Mums Facebook group now comprises over 13,000 members and is growing every day.

 Community Contribution – Martin Ollis

Martin Ollis is the Centre Manager of Castle Towers, joining QIC in 2011.

Mr Ollis has worked tirelessly to secure a location for women’s shelter – The Sanctuary.

He is currently a committee member of Christmas in the Hills and The Hills Youth Suicide Task Force and on the board for The Sanctuary.

Mr Ollis supports local community initiatives such as the Castle Hill Leadership Program, Run For The Hills, The Hills Centenary of Anzac, Mayor’s Winter Sleepout, Relay For Life and the Lisa Harnum Foundation.

Australia Day Award for Community Contribution – Annabelle Daniel

 Annabelle Daniel has worked with local communities around NSW to establish and open three shelters including The Sanctuary in Castle Hill.

She has been a family support and operations professional for more than 20 years – working in private enterprise, the federal government and community sector.

 Community Contribution – Superintendent Robert Critchlow

Superintendent Robert Critchlow has 25 years policing experience and is currently the commander of the Hills LAC. He has performed senior roles in investigations and corporate strategy.

He is the police sponsor for the prevention of abuse of older persons and is a vigorous advocate for the rights of victims.