Community Hero Award
The winner of this category is selected by an online public vote.
Glitta is the founder of the Coastal Twist Festival, an inclusive arts and culture festival that represents the diversity of genders, cultures, abilities, classes, ages, sexualities and First Nations. In just 12 months Glitta put her creative vision to challenge stereotypes and foster new perceptions of the Central Coast into practice, bringing close to 50 world class fringe artists to the region for the festival.
Over three days the inaugural Coastal Twist Festival exceeded its projected attendance of 2,000 visitors with around 8,000 people participating across the peninsula. The impact of the festival on local communities, businesses, creatives and the broader community has been phenomenal.
A festival of this curation, calibre and originality would usually take a team of 15 paid producers to deliver. In a region which has never before hosted a festival celebrating such diversity, the opportunity has been ground-breaking and has brought much love and healing to marginalised communities.
Justine is a deafblind practitioner who tutors deafblind people in tactile communication. In 2014 Justine established a peer network for the deafblind members of the Hunter region. The group seeks to support deafblind members to build strong relationships, experience new things, reduce their isolation and boost their self-esteem and confidence.
Since then deafblind members of the group have participated in Harley Davidson motorbike rides, Hunter cheese and wine experiences, and swimming with sharks and rays. Justine has also organised workshops in health, wellness and technology using specialised communicative tools specific to these members of the community. The group also produced their own film to raise awareness of about deafblindness.
Most recently she has been an integral part of Community Disability Alliance Hunter’s project to develop the communication and social skills of deafblind residents of a large residential centre, so that they can transition to smaller group homes.
Kay has worked tirelessly to support women experiencing disadvantage, especially in the domestic violence sector. She has volunteered years of service as an advocate for social and gender equity since her best-selling memoir on domestic abuse, Perfect Stranger: A True Story was published in 2012.
Kay teamed up with two lawyers to build a specialised legal service to empower women leaving abusive marriages. Through compassionate counselling borne from lived experience, Kay has inspired and supported hundreds of women and continues to lobby for policy and legislative change for high-risk recidivist sex offender law reform. She is the valued patron of two women's shelters, and an ambassador for DVNSW.
Kay is also a dedicated fundraiser, having raised millions of dollars for medical research particularly for women’s health. Her passion is to engage, educate and enhance the status of social justice in Australia. Kay is also a stage four cancer survivor.
Theresa was a single mum in her early 20s when she saw an opportunity to support other families also doing it tough, by sourcing donations of baby food and Christmas gifts to give to charities.
In 2009 Theresa started Agape Outreach to support people in need in the Byron Shire, Tweed Shire and Gold Coast. More than ten years on Agape serves nearly 10,000 meals to homeless people every year.
Agape has over 70 volunteers and a venue where they coordinate food hampers from rescued foods for families in need. The organisation also runs free training classes on life skills such as cooking, budgeting, life coaching, and relationship management.
As well as caring for her own children, Theresa has been a foster carer to 155 children. Theresa runs Agape Outreach full time without a wage providing emotional, social and financial support to many.