Prestigious award win for network
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.