General Manager Awarded Community Member of the Year
The essence of community came alive in a display of recognition and appreciation at the inaugural Byron Shire Council Community Awards. The event celebrated the exceptional efforts of individuals and organisations that have contributed to the growth and vibrancy of Byron Shire. As the sun set on this heartwarming occasion, the collective spirit of togetherness and positive change shone brightly.
Among the array of remarkable awardees, the Byron Community Centre stood out with exceptional achievements, receiving an impressive four nominations, reflecting our team's unwavering dedication to making the community stronger and more connected.
The biggest award of the night was given to our very own General Manager, Louise O'Connell, for her remarkable contributions towards community service, particularly in supporting the homeless at Fletcher Street Cottage.
Celebrating Excellence: Highlights from the 2023 Byron Shire Council Community Awards
Community Member of Byron Shire - Louise O'Connell, Winner
The dual recognition of Louise O'Connell as both a nominee and winner in this category emphasises her exceptional contributions. Her award stands as a symbol of the combined efforts of Byron Community Centre and Fletcher Street Cottage staff, donors and volunteers, united by their dedication to community growth.
I honestly feel that I’m representing a whole organisation in receiving this award. It’s for all of the people who’ve made Fletcher Street Cottage work – the donors, the volunteers and the staff. It takes a team of 60 volunteers to make Fletcher Street Cottage work each week: cooking meals, cleaning, gardening, running the laundry service we provide. And then there’s all the staff and volunteers at the Byron Community Centre itself who do an amazing job. You come home every day knowing that there’s someone you’ve helped. It’s a really good feeling.
Contribution to Health and Wellbeing Award, Nomination
The recognition extended to Mathew Broster for his pioneering work on the "Off The Street, On Our Feet" program showcased a deep commitment to improving health and wellbeing within the community. This initiative's transformative impact illustrates the power of extending a helping hand to those who need it most.
Community Initiative of Byron Shire - Fletcher Street Cottage Breakfast, Nomination
The acknowledgment of the Fletcher Street Cottage Breakfast initiative underscores the strength of grassroots efforts in community building. This initiative's ability to bring people of all ages and backgrounds together over a shared meal speaks volumes about the power of human connections.
Open Award - Louise O'Connell, Nomination
The Open Award category embraces the diverse and inclusive spirit of Byron Shire. Louise O'Connell's nomination embodies the very essence of this category, highlighting her efforts in fostering a warm and welcoming atmosphere for everyone.
But the night's spotlight extended far beyond the Byron Community Centre, highlighting the remarkable achievements of several other deserving individuals and initiatives:
- Young Community Member of Byron Shire 2023: Zali Spinner's win reflects the energy and innovation of young individuals, particularly for her involvement in the Main Arm flood response.
- Community Initiative of the Shire: The Shedding Community Workshop's Repair Café Post-Flood Initiative showcased the power of community-driven initiatives in addressing challenges and fostering togetherness.
- Giving Back to Byron Shire Award: Sama Balson's recognition highlights the invaluable contributions of volunteers and organisations such as the Women's Village Collective that tirelessly support the community.
- Contribution to Health and Wellbeing Award: The Queer Family's win acknowledges their vital role in enhancing the overall health and wellbeing of the community.
- Access and Inclusion Award: Karen Gross's recognition serves as a testament to her efforts in promoting diversity and inclusion in the community through the Paddock Project.
- Caring for Country Award: Tiago Neto's achievement in environmental preservation resonates deeply, as the natural beauty of Byron Shire is a shared treasure.
- Creativity Award: Marissa Treichel's recognition celebrates the richness of creative contributions across various fields.
- Open Award: Aya Harral-Haines's recognition as a "Turtle Rescue Superstar" showcases the diversity of accomplishments that enrich the community.
The 2023 Byron Shire Council Community Awards cast a luminous spotlight on the power of collective effort and individual dedication. These achievements remind us that in every corner of the Shire, people are actively working to build a better future for all. With each award granted, we renew our commitment to fostering a community that thrives on collaboration, inclusivity and the celebration of excellence. As the night concluded, it left behind a trail of inspiration, motivating all to continue our remarkable work in making Byron Shire a truly exceptional place to call home.