The Annual ZEST Awards were presented on Friday, celebrating exceptional people and projects in the communities of Greater Western Sydney. ZEST Patron, the Hon Gladys Berejiklian MP, Premier of New South Wales, attended the presentation at ANZ Stadium’s Millennium room and spoke warmly, commending nominees and the part ZEST plays in bringing their achievements into the spotlight.
Special guests included Community Leader Aunty Carol Cooper, Leader of the Opposition, Luke Foley MP, ZEST Ambassador, Western Sydney University Chancellor Professor Peter Shergold, and co-host, journalist Chris Bath. Led by Western Sydney Community Forum in partnership with key event sponsors, the ZEST Awards showcase some of the region’s most inspiring stories, bringing together industry leaders and key representatives from business, government and community sectors.
As 2017 draws to a close, on behalf of the team at Western Sydney Community Forum I would like to say a warm thank-you to all of our members, partners and colleagues for your continuing support and inspiring work throughout the year. Much has been achieved!
While we look forward to a well-earned rest during the upcoming holiday season, celebrating and relaxing with family and friends, we can reflect on a year of continuing change and growth.
In 2017, the basis of our endeavours was shaped by our commitment to the people, places and services of Greater Western Sydney. We have continued to work alongside organisations who are achieving inspiring outcomes for the region and its communities. Our organisation is in the fortunate position of being able to witness the improvements being made and their diverse, positive impacts.
ZEST Ambassador and Youth Action’s Western Sydney Coordinator takes a moment to share the highlights of her year and her perspective on Western Sydney’s amazing young people.
2017 has been an epic year!
Highlights would have to include the What’s Up West event we held for young community change makers just recently, at Western Sydney University in November. It was a huge event: we brought together hundreds of young people aged between 12 and 25 with the aim to inspire, empower and equip them to be active leaders in their communities.
With Western Sydney’s incredible growth right now there is a significant amount of change happening extremely fast - but the decisions that are being made in the region don’t always engage young people. We want to make sure they are involved and empowered to create and contribute to change. Youth Action is now supporting those young people to be active community advocates.
The inspired MAGIC (Macarthur Access Group for Inclusive Communities) Project is run by extraordinary people working to help their community to recognise difference and develop inclusivity. Nominated for a ZEST Award in 2017, the MAGIC Project is a potent fusion of community, businesses and passionate individuals working with the collective goal of changing attitudes towards inclusion, through a positive, person-centred approach.
The beneficial impact of the MAGIC Project for the community is enormous: increasing participation and extending opportunities for social mobility means better spaces, shared experiences and increased wellbeing. Benefit to businesses is also significant, says Project Manager, Lisa Harrison. “People living with disability account for 19% of the population. It makes no financial sense to exclude a significant portion of the community from engaging with your business.”
Nepean Food Services (NFS) is thriving community service, providing meals and social support for our aged people and people living with disability. Based in Sydney’s Greater West they have a service reach that extends much further inland and across Sydney. The organization is widely recognized for its excellence, and was inducted into the Western Sydney Community Forum’s ZEST Awards Hall of Fame in 2015.
Ditte Kozak is the Manager at NFS and has worked with the organization for 25 years.
The 2017 survey of Community Care stakeholders gave strong endorsement to the role of WSCF in providing resources, support and sector engagement for aged care and disability providers in Western Sydney and the Nepean. Specifically, the survey related to providers funded under the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) and the Community Care Supports Program (CCSP). Feedback provided anonymously by participants gave insight into the focus, balance and relevance of the work of WSCF, in supporting aged and disability providers, which helps to direct development of priorities and initiatives for the future.
A Health Impact Assessment (HIA) Report on community engagement and the Western Sydney Airport was launched yesterday by Western Sydney Community Forum and the Centre for Health Equity Training Research and Evaluation (CHETRE). The HIA showed that community consultation processes for the Western Sydney Airport have so far fallen short of successfully addressing potential health and wellbeing impacts for the communities involved. The findings suggest that better consultation processes can positively influence community responses and attitudes toward large scale infrastructure and development.
Language that reflects our values as a community is key to the conversation for positive change.
In association with Western Sydney Community Forum, the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) presents a free workshop: ‘Words that Work: Making the best case for refugees and people seeking asylum’.
The 2017 ZEST Awards saw health sector worker Yvonne Santalucia inducted into the Hall of Fame, with fellow recipient, Marnel LaGarde. The most prestigious honour of the ZEST Awards, a Hall of Fame induction celebrates the exceptional, sustained achievements and accomplishments of individuals working in the community sector of Greater Western Sydney. For over 30 years, Yvonne has worked in the Health sector in Western Sydney and has been involved in multiple projects, primarily in multicultural services.
In 2017, social worker Marnel LaGarde was inducted to the Hall of Fame, alongside fellow recipient Yvonne Santalucia. Marnel began her career as a social worker at Parramatta/Holroyd Family Support Service – originally known as Parramatta Family Supports. Now Manager of the organization, Marnel has been a dedicated operative in the community sector for over thirty years and is a most worthy Hall of Fame inductee.