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Byron Shire
March 6, 2021

Community awards reward the quiet achievers too

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Winning awards doesn’t come easily to some people, especially to someone who calls themselves a ‘shy, retiring’ type’. For Darlene Cook (pictured), financial administrator of Northern Rivers Community Legal Centre (NRCLC), winning an award at last year’s inaugural Community Sector Ball and Awards Night came as a ‘bit of a shock’.

While Darlene says she doesn’t like being the centre of attention, her workmates at NRCLC nominated her for the ‘Centre of The Universe’ award – an award that recognises the huge contribution the ‘quiet achievers’ behind the scenes make to the community services sector. With nominations now open for the 2012 Community Sector Ball Awards, Darlene wants to encourage people to start thinking about a community service worker they would like to see nominated for one of the 2012 Community Sector Ball Awards, especially the quiet achievers.

‘Often it’s the people in the front line of community service organisations who are acknowledged, but the quiet achievers do need to be recognised,’ Darlene said. ‘People often don’t realise or appreciate the work the bookkeepers and administrators do in an organisation to keep it operating; receiving an award like this is great recognition.’

Last year’s judges chose Darlene as the winner of the ‘Centre of The Universe’ award because they were impressed by Darlene’s unique ability to squeeze the last drop of juice out of every drop of funding, and her commitment to the rights and aspirations of people who use NRCLC.

‘Non-profit community service organisations rely on funding; that’s why the work of these people is so important,’ Darlene said. ‘With constant funding cuts and a rising need for community services, we really need to raise the profile of community service organisations so the value of the work we do is seen and recognised by everyone.’

If you know of someone who works in a community services organisation on the north coast of NSW who deserves to be recognised for their dedication to making the world a better place to live in, nominate them now for one of the 2012 Community Sector Ball Awards categories. Categories include: Most Inspirational, Above and Beyond the Call of Duty, In the Line of Fire, Centre of the Universe, Community Group or Team and Private Sector Partner.

The Community Sector Ball and Awards night is the one time of year that community sector workers from Grafton to Tweed Heads are recognised and celebrated for the work they do in helping people in our communities. These volunteers and workers help thousands of people every day, yet receive little recognition for their work in providing care, assistance, support and advocacy for many people in our community who face hardship. Our whole community benefits from the skill and commitment of these tireless workers. The inaugural Community Sector Ball and Awards recognises thanks and rewards these organisations and individuals for their vital and outstanding contributions to our community.

There will be also a prize for the best dressed at the ball and everyone is encouraged to come dressed in A Midsummer Night’s Dream theme dress.

The sponsors of this year’s event are: NRSDC, Interrelate Family Centres, Nortec Employment and Training, ACE Community Colleges and Multitask Human Resource Foundation.

Award categories

1. Most Inspirational

This award recognises the inspirational staff who make the community services sector an exciting and inclusive place to work. They may be responsible for developing innovative programs and may bring acceptance of difference and diversity within the workplace through staffing, or within client profiles. This worker may embrace new ways to get people in the community involved or advocate for client or workplace rights.

2. Above and Beyond the Call of Duty

This award recognises the contribution made by volunteers who work tirelessly to make the world a better place. It may be a volunteer frontline worker who works round the clock, or one who sits on a governing board. Volunteers are the lifeblood of community organisations.

3. In the Line of Fire

A frontline worker who makes a difference in the field to the lives of people in our community, often in difficult circumstances. It could be an outreach, support or intake worker providing much-needed services to clients or one who works with other community services organisations.

4. Centre of the Universe

This award is an opportunity to recognise the huge contribution the ‘quiet achievers’ behind the scenes make to the community services sector. Non-profits of all sizes rely on effective infrastructure and management support staff and partners; however, these ‘quiet achievers’ are rarely in the forefront of an organisation’s profile. None of the success of non-profits could be achieved without professional and effective finance, administration, IT and human resource management staff working to support the delivery of a wide range of community services.

5. Community Group or Team

This award recognises the contribution made to communities by a community-based, not-for-profit group or team in the northern rivers. Whether large or small, this group of dedicated people will go the extra mile to provide service to the community or the community sector. By working together and collaborating with others, this group makes a difference by achieving more than each individual could ever do on their own. Their work leaves a lasting legacy and makes our community a better place to live in.

6. Private Sector Partner

This award recognises the outstanding contribution private business makes to the community services sector. This organisation or individual may donate staff time, materials or equipment towards supporting vulnerable people in our community or assisting community service organisations in helping individuals and families.

7. Best Dressed at the Ball

The person best dressed in the theme of A Midsummer Night’s Dream on the night of the ball will win this coveted prize. People cannot be nominated for this category prior to the event.

 2012 Community Sector Ball Awards

Award nominations close on October 19 and award winners will be announced at the 2012 Community Sector Ball and Awards Night on November 10 at Byron Community Centre. For more information on the awards, to download a nomination form or buy tickets to the event, visit the website  http://www.nrsdc.org.au/ball.html.


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