Pres­ti­gious award win for net­work

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News - BY SARAH SCULLY

Wim­mera South­ern Mallee Lo­cal Learn­ing and Em­ploy­ment Net­work has topped the field for its youth-fo­cused pro­grams at the 2018 Re­gional Achieve­ment and Com­mu­nity Awards.

The Hor­sham-based LLEN stood out from a strong con­tin­gent of con­trib­u­tors, win­ning the pres­ti­gious Awards Aus­tralia Com­mu­nity Group of the Year gong at a cer­e­mony in Mel­bourne on Fri­day night.

WSMLLEN ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Tim Shaw said the or­gan­i­sa­tion was hon­oured and proud to col­lect the award.

“It is great recog­ni­tion of the con­tri­bu­tion our schools make, along with our vol­un­teer com­mit­tee of man­age­ment, part­ners and vol­un­teers,” he said.

“We have many vol­un­teers who help out through men­tor­ing or read­ing pro­grams and they add a lot of value to what we do.”

The not-for-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion sup­ports dis­ad­van­taged young peo­ple to re­main en­gaged in ed­u­ca­tion or tran­si­tion into em­ploy­ment.

The LLEN cov­ers 28,000 square kilo­me­tres across the Wim­mera and south­ern Mallee.

It has 14 vol­un­tary com­mit­tee of man­age­ment mem­bers and more than 115 mem­bers with the equiv­a­lent of 5.4 paid staff.

The net­work has bro­kered 55 ac­tive part­ner­ships with com­mu­nity or­gan­i­sa­tions and re­gional busi­nesses, with staff trav­el­ling ex­ten­sively to plan and im­ple­ment the part­ner­ships.

Among its achieve­ments in­cludes set­ting up four early learn­ing Let’s Read part­ner­ships and find­ing more than 100 work place­ments for stu­dents this year.

“We could not achieve nearly as much as we do with­out the help we re­ceive from across the com­mu­nity and we ap­pre­ci­ate ev­ery­one’s sup­port,” Mr Shaw said.

“We are hon­oured to win the award – it was a great night. It was great to see so many or­gan­i­sa­tions from across the state rep­re­sented at the cer­e­mony.

“There are lots of groups do­ing re­ally good things in re­gional Vic­to­ria.”

The Vic­to­rian Re­gional Achieve­ment and Com­mu­nity Awards started in 2002 and are de­signed to en­cour­age, ac­knowl­edge and re­ward the valu­able con­tri­bu­tions that in­di­vid­u­als, com­mu­ni­ties and busi­nesses make through­out re­gional and ru­ral Vic­to­ria.

WSMLLEN was among three fi­nal­ists in the com­mu­nity group of the year cat­e­gory.

Mr Shaw said the net­work’s men­tor­ing pro­grams in schools played a key role in the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s win.

He said the or­gan­i­sa­tion was in the process of con­tact­ing schools about its lat­est project, a new com­mu­nity con­nec­tion men­tor­ing pro­gram.

Mr Shaw said the pro­gram was de­signed to cre­ate op­por­tu­ni­ties for more young peo­ple to par­tic­i­pate in sport­ing or com­mu­nity ac­tiv­i­ties.

He said the idea fol­lowed a re­cent ju­nior sports men­tor­ing pro­gram which pro­vided about 700 chil­dren with ac­cess to sports in­clud­ing net­ball, foot­ball and hockey.

“We had a great part­ner­ship with Wim­mera Re­gional Sports Assem­bly and lo­cal sport­ing groups,” he said.

“It was great to see so many young peo­ple in­volved and sur­rounded by good role mod­els.

“This new pro­gram will pro­vide fur­ther op­por­tu­ni­ties, par­tic­u­larly for youth who are not that in­ter­ested in sports but want to be­come in­volved in com­mu­nity or­gan­i­sa­tions such as Scouts and Guides.”

RE­GIONAL RECOG­NI­TION: Wim­mera South­ern Mallee LLEN has won a com­mu­nity group of the year ac­co­lade at the 2018 Re­gional Achieve­ment and Com­mu­nity Awards. PRIME7 net­work mar­ket­ing man­ager An­drew Al­lan, left, andpub­lisher and edi­tor-inchief Ed Gan­non, right, present the award to LLEN com­mit­tee of man­age­ment chair­woman Wendy By­wa­ters and ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Tim Shaw.

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