community services awards

We are proud to present the finalists and winners across the two categories of Outstanding Organisation and Team Excellence in the 2020 HESTA Excellence Awards.



Outstanding Organisation finalists


Justice Connect


Justice Connect

Melbourne, VIC

Justice Connect is recognised for helping people and community organisations access legal support by designing and delivering high-impact interventions. Their work ensures people can access the right legal help at the right time, avoiding the negative impacts on their wellbeing or organisational health caused by legal problems. Justice Connect helps those who would otherwise miss out on assistance, focussing on people disproportionately impacted by the law and the organisations that make our communities thrive.

As a result of COVID-19, Justice Connect had to quickly enhance their capacity to deliver effective legal help online. Their Justice Connect Answers online platform now connects people with lawyers who can provide pro bono legal advice online.  They are also working to expand their Not-For-Profit Law program online to provide legal help for Australia’s 600,000 not-for-profit organisations.

Justice Connect is committed to achieving social justice by advocating for systemic change and continuing to share what they’ve learned across all the sectors they intersect.


Little Dreamers

Little Dreamers Australia

St Kilda, VIC

Little Dreamers Australia is recognised for their work to empower young people caring for a family member. With one in 10 children in Australia giving up their childhood to provide unpaid care to a family member, Little Dreamers delivers fun and proactive support programs to reduce the risk factors these young people face and to increase their life opportunities. 

Programs have been developed by young carers, for young carers, targeting the five main risk factors these young people face – social isolation, poor mental health, unemployment, financial and educational disadvantage. The aim is to ensure young carers feel cared for and supported.

Having moved six programs online as a result of COVID, Little Dreamers aims to ensure all young carers have access to reliable technology for their programs with Resource Packs mailed directly to young carers. Online delivery has allowed them to reach and support more Young Carers, both within Melbourne, interstate, and in rural and remote communities. 


Purple House

Purple House

Alice Springs, NT

Purple House is recognised for getting Indigenous dialysis patients home to country and providing a home away from home in Alice Springs.

An innovative Indigenous-owned and run health service operating from a base in Alice Springs, Purple House runs dialysis units in 18 remote communities across the NT, WA and SA, and a mobile dialysis unit called the Purple Truck.  The focus is getting patients back home so families and culture remain strong.

Before Purple House, patients were forced to leave country and move far away for dialysis, leaving communities without elders to share knowledge and families disrupted. Many patients are now home but there are still communities without dialysis and patients who need to live short or long term in Alice Springs.  Purple House’s base in Alice also offers primary health care, allied health, wellbeing, aged care, NDIS and a bush medicine social enterprise.

Purple House walks in two worlds...doing things culturally and clinically the right way. 


Team Excellence finalists


Wongee Mia


Wongee Mia, Ruah Community Services

Subiaco, WA

Wongee Mia is recognised for their innovative pilot housing project designed to end the cycle of evictions and long-term homelessness disproportionately experienced by Aboriginal people.

Meaning ‘Strong Home’, Wongee Mia is based on the understanding that services need to think differently about how they provide appropriate support for Aboriginal people. The project recognises that Aboriginal families need tailored and culturally appropriate support to help them deal with the kinship obligations that often lead to overcrowding and breaches when they are housed through mainstream programs.

The Wongee Mia program uses strong engagement and culturally responsive support to tackle inter-generational homelessness. It has active participation and endorsement from families who have direct involvement in program design.

Elders are integral to the success of the project and provide input through yarning sessions, assisting with recruitment of new staff and ultimately act as partners in the model. 



The Plenty Project, Midlas

Midland, WA

The Plenty Project, a program delivered by Midlas, is recognised for their innovation in providing emergency food relief to communities in need.

Covid-19 saw an increased demand for emergency food relief. Water fountains were shut off and public restrooms closed to contain the virus. But this meant the street community was not only cold and hungry, but also unable to get a drink of water or have a wash.

The Midlas team installed a (donated) vending machine outside their office that would dispense essential items for free, 24/7 – the Plenty Project was born. Filled with water bottles, soap, toiletries, and food items that could be consumed without the need of cooking, people in crisis could access essential items when they needed it, with dignity. Since April, the Plenty Project has dispensed more than 2000 items through the vending machine, delivered 450 food hampers to people’s doors, and has received more than 5000 item donations from the community.



Tresillian 2U Mobile Early Parenting Service

Tresillian & Mid North Coast Local Health District, NSW

The Tresillian 2U (T2U) Mobile Early Parenting Service is recognised for their innovative approach to delivering child and family health services to regional NSW.

Tresillian aims to support families with the best foundation possible for children’s early development and safety in their first 2,000 days. T2U is the first mobile specialist child and family health service in Australia, providing services in communities of lower population density that often struggle to receive specialist help.

Their fit-for-purpose motorhome and dedicated staff deliver equitable access to child and family health services for families with children aged 0-3 years within their own communities, working with local service providers. In 18 months of operation, T2U’s small by dedicated team (1.5 FTE) has provided more than 1,000 occasions of service to rural families in need.



Check out the other HESTA Excellence Awards finalists

allied health | aged care | disability services


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Learn more about the HESTA Excellence Awards