Sustainable Communities - Tidy town awards open

By Simon Ruppert

The Sustainable Communities Tidy Town Awards 2020 are now open for nominations.

With Benalla and district having an array of local groups and committees dedicated to improving the area, there is no doubt many locals who could be put forward.

Has your initiative helped to inspire or empower the community?

Are you contributing to managing litter or reducing waste in Benalla?

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Have you embarked on a project that is preventing damage to, or restoring, the natural environment?

Is what you are doing engaging young people in your community or playing a vital role in combating loneliness or isolation?

If your answer to any of these questions is yes award organisers would like to hear from you.

The awards are a ‘Keep Victoria Beautiful initiative’, and have been going since 1983.

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They recognise individuals, groups and organisations that have gone above and beyond in making a difference to their communities.

Keep Victoria Beautiful and Tidy Town spokesperson Dick Gross said it was these initiatives and actions that fostered a strong sense of community and helped safeguard the environment.

“We are seeking entries from community groups, educational institutions, businesses and councils across rural and regional Victoria,” Mr Gross said.

“We want to reward those who have made a major contribution to building the wellbeing and resilience of their communities.”

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Sustainable communities are socially strong, constantly take action, help and support each other and are always planning ahead.

Winning entries from previous years have ranged from the creation of a pre-school children’s garden (complete with vegie patch, fire pit, chicken coop, fruit trees and bird feeders), the repair and alteration of donated school uniforms - which have helped hundreds of families clothe their children, to the successful treatment of waste-water from milk tanks and storage silos.

They have included creating a venue for the homeless to shower and wash their clothes and bedding; a historic storyboard trail which follows the journey of the Bpangarang people; and a community-led campaign designed to achieve zero net emissions by 2030.

“Over the years, the awards have gradually moved beyond simply rewarding towns for their tidiness,” Mr Gross said.

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“Instead they are now focused on recognising and celebrating grassroots initiatives and positive actions taken by communities and individuals

“It is these initiatives and actions that foster a strong sense of community and help safeguard the environment.

“Ultimately strong communities are the lifeblood of our rural and regional towns and critical to their long-term sustainability.”

The categories for this year’s Sustainable Communities – Tidy Town Awards include:

● Education;

● Energy;

● Litter;

● Waste;

● Environment;

● Indigenous culture;

● Heritage and culture;

● Community;

● Social wellbeing; and

● Young legends.

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There is also the opportunity for towns to win the overall Sustainable Community of the Year award, and for individuals to win the Dame Phyllis Frost award, which goes to those who have made a particularly outstanding contribution to their community.

In addition, a $1000 grant will go to a promising new project, which is regarded worthy of supporting and getting off the ground.

Entries close on May 1.

The winners of the awards will be announced at a gala event that takes place in Beechworth on September 5.

● To enter this year’s Sustainable Communities – Tidy Town Awards, go to awards click here.

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