Awards celebrating disability leaders returns

July 15, 2022 BY

2021 Achievement award winner Justin Martin. Photos: SUPPLIED

NOMINATIONS are open to celebrate the advocacy and leadership of people helping empower others living with a disability in greater Geelong as part of the seventh annual awards event hosted by the City of Greater Geelong and inclusive community organisation genU.

After two years of being held virtually, the event returns to a face to face ceremony in December this year.

“There are many people with disability who are doing outstanding work to advocate, support and empower others, and we are proud to celebrate their efforts,” Geelong mayor Peter Murrihy said of the council’s third year helping host the event.

Chair of the council’s volunteering and disability portfolio Cr Anthony Aitken said he expected a large number of submissions given the long list of active organsiations, groups and individuals working in the space.

“As we continue towards our community’s clever and creative aspiration to create an inclusive, diverse, healthy and socially connected community for all, I encourage everyone to think of who they know who may be eligible for the awards and to consider nominating them this year,” Cr Aitken said.

Nominations categories include:

Achievement Award – recognising someone who has achieved a significant milestone or success in any area

Leadership and Advocacy Award – recognising someone who has led or advocated for others to achieve a considerable outcome or advancement, and

Volunteering Award – recognising someone who has demonstrated exceptional commitment or made a substantial contribution towards empowering and developing others in a voluntary capacity.

Last year’s winner Justine Martin said the awards help highlight community diversity and break down stereotypes.

“It’s huge to be recognised for an award in the disability sector, and I feel very humbled,” Ms Martin said.

Ms Martin was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 11 years ago and told she would never be able to work again, but defied her doubters by becoming a published author and illustrator, and running art wellness classes for other people with disability.

“These awards are important to help inspire other people with disabilities and show them there are more opportunities available than they might think,” she said.

“The awards also show the wider community how capable people with disabilities are, and hopefully will encourage employers to consider how they can be more inclusive in their recruitment processes.”

Delivered by a partnership between the city and genU, the awards are also supported by the Barwon Disability Resource Council and the Victorian Advocacy League for Individuals
with Disability.

“These awards not only recognise people living with a disability, but importantly, they recognise people who are contributing a huge amount to our local community,” genU chief executive officer Clare Amies said.

For more information on each award category, nominee eligibility, selection criteria and to nominate, head to geelongaustralia.com.au/disabilityawards
Nominations for the awards close at 5pm on September 2.