catching up with Anne Mitchell


We caught up with Anne Mitchell who won the Unsung Hero award at the 2016 HESTA Community Sector awards.

Anne is the Manager of Steps Outreach Service, the homelessness program of Concern Australia. Steps is an outreach and support service for young people and families with children who are experiencing homelessness and disadvantage.

A mother and grandmother, Anne’s dedication to changing lives one step at a time has earned her the nickname ‘Mum’ from many people she helps on Melbourne’s streets.


Anne, can you recall what it was like the night you won the Unsung Hero award at the HESTA Community Sector awards?

When I won the HESTA Unsung Hero award I was astounded that I had won but very appreciative.

The warmth and support of all the people I met on the Awards night (including the ME Bank CEO, HESTA CEO and all HESTA staff) was so comforting and affirming.


Kombi Clinic bucket hat and van


Anne Mitchell, Unsung Hero, 2016 HESTA Community Sector Awards.  


You then went on to feature in an ad for HESTA. Tell us about the experience.

Making the ad in 2017 was totally out of my comfort zone but, once again, all the HESTA staff and film crew were very warm and supportive and interested in our work with young people experiencing homelessness. The campaign including TV ads and billboards helped to increase awareness and support of our program to the wider community.

"The campaign including TV ads and billboards helped to increase awareness and support of our program to the wider community."



Some of your clients featured with you in the campaign and it was clear you’d built up strong relationships with them. How are they going?

Being part of the ad was a wonderful experience for them. They gained ‘fame’ and recognition from being in the ad, for example, one of my clients Sarah was in Centrelink one day and the staff member asked if she was the person in the ad. They still send me posts on Facebook when they see the ad on TV and are very excited to see their photos and images still being used. I met with Julian (who speaks at the end of the ad) the other day and he told me he had just shown it to his new girlfriend who was very impressed!


What did you end up doing with the prize money?

I donated the prize money to my program, Steps Outreach Service. As we have a very small budget, this made a huge difference for us in helping us continue our work and helping more young people who are experiencing homelessness.


Had you had any experience with HESTA prior to winning the award?

I did not know much about HESTA prior to winning the award but I am now a HESTA member. I have added some additional money to my account. I have found HESTA to be very helpful with clear communication. I enjoy reading the stories in the magazine and respect the fact that they are a dynamic organisation committed to making a difference in the community. They acknowledge and affirm the amazing work of smaller organisations and individuals in the welfare and healthcare space which otherwise often goes unnoticed.

I would definitely recommend health and community service workers to nominate others for the awards. It is absolutely a worthwhile experience!


Read more about Anne's HESTA award win > 


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