Greater Western Sydney is still buzzing from the ZEST Awards Ceremony – catering to a full house at ANZ Stadium on February 24.

The event attracted around 500 champions of the not-for-profit sector, including leading representatives from both business and government organisations in the region.

Receiving over 100 nominations for the third consecutive year, the ceremony recognised 18 winners including 13 highly commended community groups, organisations and individuals across 16 categories, representing Greater Western Sydney.

The awards are led by regional peak body Western Sydney Community Forum and this year included key partners Western Sydney University, TAFE NSW Western Sydney Institute, TRI Community Exchange Inc. and WESTIR Ltd..

Western Sydney Community Forum’s Chief Executive, Billie Sankovic, thanked leaders from Greater Western Sydney for supporting the extraordinary achievements showcased during last night’s awards.

“The ZEST Awards sees the coming together of key regional leaders within the not-for-profit, government and business sectors – to collectively recognise the strengths of Greater Western Sydney and the outstanding successes that shape the region’s social and economic future” said Sankovic.

Member for Londonderry MP, Prue Car, supported the achievements of the Penrith LGA, represented in eight categories, and that of the region.

“The ZEST Awards celebrate everything that is fantastic about Greater Western Sydney. I was so happy to see so many of our hardworking volunteers recognised for their commitment to our communities” said Car.

ZEST Ambassador and Western Sydney University’s Chancellor, Peter Shergold AC addressed the ceremony, presenting the Western Sydney University Unsung Heroes Award and a university prize of $5,000 to support the work of students within the community.

“I’m delighted to recognise the unsung heroes of Western Sydney University, who contribute so much to building a stronger and fairer community in our region” said Shergold.

TAFE NSW: Western Sydney Institute’s Institute Director, Robin Shreeve spoke on the night highlighting the importance of working together within our region.

“Greater Western Sydney continues to flourish because of its creativity, innovation and diversity as demonstrated here tonight. TAFE Western Sydney is a strong supporter of Western Sydney and has long recognised the special place of community in achieving outcomes for local people and promoting harmony and multiculturalism,” said Shreeve.

2016 ZEST Awards Category Winners:

Exceptional Community Business Partnership Street Outreach & Drop In @ Bulldogs
Exceptional Community Partnership across a Region Borrowers Beware Project
Exceptional Community Partnership in an LGA Arrupe Place – Jesuit Refugee Service
Exceptional Project in a Not for Profit Organisation The HuB in Telopea
Highly Commended Blacktown Children’s Centre / Supported Play Group, Let’s Dine Out Program, Respect Project
Exceptional Social Enterprise in GWS MYC Painting Services
Highly Commended Darcy Street Project
Exceptional Use of Technology by a NFP “Every Moment Has Potential” Online Learning Resource for Disability Support Workers
Highly Commended Made In Mt Druitt, One Day For Peace
Hall of Fame Abulla Agwa , Warren Gardiner
Out of the Box BANKSTOWN:LIVE, Involve Me
Outstanding Community Leader – Paid Capacity Julie Webster
Highly Commended Tairyn Vergara
Outstanding Community Leader – Volunteer Capacity Annie Nielsen
Highly Commended Michele Ellery
Outstanding Project promoting Social Cohesion and Community Harmony Common Cultures
Highly Commended 210th Anniversary Reconciliation Day at Prospect Hill
Outstanding Project working with Aboriginal Communities Mt Druitt Indigenous Choir
Highly Commended Kasey is Missing
Outstanding Voluntary Group/Organisation Queen of Hearts Community Foundation
Highly Commended Parramatta Climate Action Network (ParraCAN)
Outstanding Youth Leader Taniela Afu
Outstanding Youth Led Project Savannah Pride Basketball Program
Western Sydney University Unsung Heroes Award Megan Hounslow

For more information on the ZEST Awards click here.

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