Celebrating the 2021 Inclusion Awards Nominees
Given the impacts of the COVID-19 Health Emergency, the 2021 Chief Minister’s Inclusion Awards was not able to be held.
However, to celebrate and acknowledge the individuals, organisations, and businesses nominated in 2021, rather than awarding individuals and organisations we wish to share the stories of the incredible nominees:
Grind to Ground - Excellence in Inclusive Services and Disability Support
Grind To Ground began as a student project at CIT but has become a not-for-profit incorporated association in the ACT. The project started as a way to reduce landfill and create a soil-enhancing product for the Canberra community using used coffee grounds from local Canberra cafes and sawdust from the CIT carpentry department (both of which were previously going to landfill).
There are currently more than 50 people involved in Grind to Ground.
Grind to Ground Operations Manager, Lisa Pozzato said “we are so thrilled that this project is now able to provide volunteering, training, and employment opportunities for people with disability. It's incredibly fulfilling for the Grind to Ground team to produce a great sustainable product and be able to reduce landfill at the same time”.
John Brookes - Life-time achievement in supporting people with disability
John is a leader and volunteer in mental health space and disability sector.
John's previous achievements include winning the 2020 Volunteering ACT Leadership Award and the Award for Inclusion in Volunteer Support at the 2019 ACT Chief Minister's Inclusion Awards.
When presenting John with the 2020 Volunteering ACT Leadership Award, Volunteering ACT said "Quite honestly, it’s going to be hard to touch on everything John has done to achieve this award. As John has lived a life of community ervice, having spent more than 25 years working in the charity sector" and we agree!
Kim Congram - Excellence in Making Inclusion Happen
Kim Congram is a passionate and inspirational leader within the Australian Public Service, who seeks to ensure that inclusion and support of diverse groups, particularly people with disability, is at the forefront of decision makers minds.
Kim was a key founding member of the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department ‘Celebrating Ability Network’, growing its membership from 5 to 165 members. Kim drove substantive and systemic change within the department by changing the way it spoke about disability and inclusion.
Kim was instrumental in authoring Department’s Disability and Mental Health Action Plan, and Flexibility and Inclusion Action Plan, setting clear actions to ensure the department delivered on its commitment to support diversity and inclusion.
Kim actively shared this framework across the APS, and elements have found its way into other departments. Kim actively shares her leadership experiences at multiple Australian Network on Disability conferences, to inspire further change and motivate new leaders.
Robyn Bielecki - Achieving inclusion through supporting the independence and wellbeing of people with disability
Robyn has worked for more than 20 years in the disability sector, and for the last 12 years as a carer.
The people Robyn cares for and their families say "Robyn’s commitment to her role as carer goes well beyond the provision of required services. Robyn assists the men to increase their independence through the planning of, and participation in community events, social activities and sporting competitions. She supports them to expand their personal skills.
"We consider Robyn as so much more than a support worker, she's an extension of all our families. Robyn makes herself available 24/7, even while on leave! She ensures the men lead busy, enriched and inclusive lives, and are able to achieve their goals and be active contributors to society".
Table Tennis ACT - Excellence in Innovation, Design and Access
Table Tennis ACT is a not for profit peak sporting organisation that welcomes new members of all ages, abilities and backgrounds.
Table Tennis ACT has demonstrated a strong commitment to embedding inclusivity into everyday club activities as well as their culture by developing its first Diversity and Inclusion Plan.
The Minister for Disability, Emma Davidson MLA, launched the Diversity and Inclusion Plan as part of Table Tennis ACT's I-Day activities. See a picture taken at the launch below.
President Heather Tomlinson said "Table Tennis ACT continues to form new partnerships to build inclusion in sport and expand our initiatives and programs for people with disability through our Para players coaching program and Para events in ACT Open Tournaments".
Carol Jennings - Excellence in inclusive services and disability support
Carol Jennings spends over 80 hours per week as a volunteer Chief Executive Officer for Abilities Unlimited Australia.
Abilities Unlimited Australia, offer inclusive community sporting programs and recreational opportunities for children with disability in the ACT region. Through the Cyclabilities, WaterAbilities and MovAbilities Programs children learn road safety, riding, water safety, water survival skills and fundamental movement skills
In nominating Carol, Fiona Jarvis said "Through her dedicated and visionary volunteer work Carol demonstrates her commitment to prioritising inclusion in our community ensuring the enormous abilities of children with disability shine”.