Community leaders recognised

Published on Saturday 26 January, 2019

Collecting fruit and vegetables for the needy, getting involved in community activities, and supporting multicultural activities have earned local residents and a community group Citizenship Awards.

Awarded as part of the City of Gosnells’ Australia Day celebrations, the awards recognise outstanding efforts by individuals and groups to make our community a better place to live.

Joel (Birdman) Cornwell was named Citizen of the Year, Tenuun Sanjaadorj the Youth Citizen of the Year, and the Gosnells Football and Sports Club received the Active Citizenship Award for a group or event.

Mayor Glenn Dewhurst said the awards were highly deserved by the recipients.

“A fair go for everyone and leading by example are qualities that have long been valued across Australia and in our community – our Citizenship Award recipients demonstrate these qualities in action,” he said.

“Congratulations to Joel, Tenuun and the Gosnells Football and Sports Club for all your endeavours, you’ve done us proud. I look forward to seeing how your great work inspires other individuals and groups in our community in the coming years.”

The City of Gosnells also announced the 2018 Safe City Award recipients during the Australia Day celebrations, recognising those who make the City a safer place to live and visit.

“It’s important that we all feel safe living, working and visiting in the City of Gosnells, which is why the efforts of our Safe City Award recipients is so significant to our community,” Mayor Dewhurst said.

Citizenship award recipients were as follows:

• Citizen of the Year – Joel Cornwell

Known locally as Birdman, Joel helps to feed more than an estimated 1,500 people a week, by collecting discarded fruit and vegetables from markets and delivering them to those in need. His Cocky's Corner stand at the Canning Vale Markets is used to collect food that cannot be sold, before he distributes the produce to groups that feed people, including The Salvation Army, PAWS, women's refuges, Mission Australia, Communicare, WA Forest Alliance, Forest Rescue, Port Care, Church of Christ, Bethany Baptist Church and City Mission. As well as benefiting those in need, his efforts considerably reduce food waste.

• Youth Citizen of the Year – Tenuun Sanjaadorj

Tenuun is an active volunteer in the community, showing leadership across a wide range of community groups. At school he was a student councillor for three years, including Head Boy in 2017. He has served as captain of his local basketball team and was a member of the Southern River College Jazz Band. In 2015 he worked with local contacts and industry volunteers to coordinate events as a Beacon Student Ambassador. He also volunteers for the Friends of Mary Carroll Wetlands, was the 2016–17 Vice President of Public Relations at Gosnells Foothills Toastmasters, helps with local Afghanistan food nights and has organised a talent competition to boost community morale – all while maintaining high results through his academic studies.

• Active Citizenship Award (groups and events) – Gosnells Football and Sports Club

With four senior teams, a colts’ team and a women's team, the GFSC aims to enrich the lives of young men and women in the sport of Australian Rules football and was named the WAAFL’s Champion Club in 2017. But the club’s reach extends well beyond the football field. The club has provided coaches, drinks and first aid for a multicultural sports program, supporting over 180 young people over 10 weeks. The GFSC maintains close links with other community groups, including local junior football clubs, and providing access to its facilities for the Gosnells Men’s Shed, Bendigo Bank Gosnells Branch, and the Gosnells Laurel Club to host meetings and other functions. They support the City’s Illuminate Night Party by providing access to the grounds and parking facilities, as well as providing volunteers on the night. The club also hosted an Iftar dinner for 92 Muslim and non-Muslim people to celebrate Ramadan, designed and wore special jumpers to celebrate its NAIDOC game and raised $13,500 for Beyond Blue.

Safe City Award recipients included:

• Community Initiative Award – Save the Children’s Strength2Strength program

This 12-month strategic project based in the City of Gosnells is aimed at supporting boys, young men and community leaders from Afghan, Arabic-speaking and Burundian backgrounds to develop and strengthen positive attitudes towards manhood, masculinity and healthy relationships. The participants are engaged in fun weekly activities, through which they learn to be leaders for change on important social issues. It was designed as a preventative program, in response to Save the Children’s work with women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, many of whom have sought support from Save the Children for issues related to domestic violence.

• Constable Peter Ball Memorial Youth Award – Elizabeth Gibson

Ms Gibson has been part of the Gosnells Youth Advisory Council, now known as Young Changemakers, for nearly seven years. During this time, she was struck down by a car while crossing the road, resulting in an acquired brain injury. Since her accident, Ms Gibson has been determined to spread the word about road safety among her peers, including involvement in the City’s Roadwise program and recently speaking to school students at a 2018 World Day of Remembrance service.

• Community Kids Award – Caladenia Primary School

Year 6 students Ronan and Denver were inspired to spread road safety messages among the school community and nearby residents, following a near-tragic road accident. The students gained the support of their teacher and classmates to present to the school’s assembly about the need for every road user to be responsible for safer roads. They also obtained ‘slow down’ bin stickers from the City of Gosnells, invited Canning Vale Police officers to address students about road safety and met with Southern River MLA Terry Healy to discuss their ideas for changes in road signage and attitudes to driving in the community. The school’s P&C has become involved, and parents now regularly monitor the school’s Kiss and Drop zones. This award was presented last November, before the school year ended.