This year’s annecto award winners were announced by Showcase MC Leslie Cannold at the Victorian Arts Center on 26 October.
The annecto Inclusion Award
This award recognises business that have made significant financial or in-kind contributions to raise community awareness of inclusion and individuals who receive support through and are connected to annecto and have made a significant contribution to community inclusion.
This year three finalists were recognized for their outstanding work in building positive relationships within the community to promote dignity and respect:
Luke Gordon from Stylized Sports: Luke caters to people with all abilities and gets the very best out of each person he supports. He has raised the bar as far as sports-based programs are concerned, and has taken staff along for the journey with his passion and enthusiasm.
Marc Angelone from Lease-A-Property: Marc has been incredibly supportive of the three annecto clients who currently lease apartments through his agency and advocates for people with disability seeking to live independently.
Bendigo Autistic Advocacy and Support Service: An Autistic founded, led, and driven not-for-profit organisation that is the first of its kind in Australia that endeavours to empower autistic people, families and communities to optimise their potential through advocacy and support.
Joint winners of the annecto Inclusion Award are Victoria Houchin of Austism Spectrum Australia (ASPECT) and Coles Supermarkets.
In the first quarter of 2017 Victoria and Autism Spectrum Australia conducted trials of autism-friendly supermarkets at Coles locations across Melbourne’s eastern region and invited families with children with autism to shop there during specific time periods.
Victoria and her team collected feedback from these shoppers about experiential triggers including intensity of lights, sound level, signage, colour and other controllable environmental elements to ensure that children and families could have a better shopping experience – less trauma for the child, and more relaxed shopping for busy parents.
The research will contribute to developing inclusive supermarket practices to make shopping less uncertain and stressful for families with a child with autism.
The Craig Goesch Scholarship
Sponsored by the annecto Board in memory of Craig Goesch, a previous Director of annecto and staunch advocate for carers, families, and people with Acquired Brain Injury. This award honours individuals and organisations who demonstrate achievements in advocating for carers and families and/or people with Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) and/or people with a passion and commitment to drive real change for people with ABI. The recipient of the award is eligible for up to $1,000 to support approved advocacy work.
This year’s Craig Goesch Award Finalist is Terri Smeaton. Terri has worked tirelessly over the past two years going above and beyond what is required of her to ensure support for a particular client with complex needs has been met. This is done through ensuring the client has more independence, choice, and continuity from her support network by matching staff to her personality and profile and coordinating a team of people — from speech pathologists and medical specialists, to support workers and family members — to ensure that she has a more engaged life.
The Winner of the Craig Goesch Award and Scholarship is annecto Aboriginal Liason Officer Paulette Whitton. Paulette is a proud Aboriginal Woman who has pioneered new pathways in providing culturally appropriate supports for her Elders across NSW. Her tenacity, courage and conviction in advocating for her Elders in often difficult and marginalised settings is an inspiration to those of us who have the privilege to walk alongside her.
The Ron Cahill Award
Sponsored by the Cahill family, this award is in memory for Ron Cahill, a longstanding committee member of ‘David House’ prior to the formation of annecto, and a founding member of annecto.
The award is given to individuals who are dedicated to improving the lives of people with a disability, focusing on ageing and dementia, specifically associated with David House in Yarraville, Victoria, and who have a desire to further develop their personal skills, knowledge and services in areas of specific needs for people with a disability.
While there is no individual winner this year, as the family has asked that preference be given to the funds being donated to project that works to increase the understanding and capability in working with people with Down syndrome and early onset dementia, several individuals have been recognised in the Highly Commended and Special Mention categories:
Manuel Orellana, Katy Hicks, Maddie Onn, and Tiana Kljajic are highly commended for the work they are doing to support people with Down Syndrome and early onset dementia to live valued lives by creating an environment that enhances opportunities.
Mickey Huckstepp is also highly commended for her work as a highly dedicated and talented employee of annecto for over 18 years in many areas of disability, and most recently, aged care.
Special Mention Melodee Woodward is recognised for her contributions to the team at David House and role in tirelessly ensuring that the people supported at David House are getting what they need as independently as they can.
Special Mention Matt Twomey is recognised for his work in developing programs to improve the skills and well-being of clients at David House. Matt has established two programs – a basic electronics program assisting the fine motor skills and cognitive understanding of individuals as well as a newspaper delivery enterprise – that have developed independence and a sense of purpose for those at David House.
Congratulations to all of our 2017 award winners and thank you all for your work.