community services awards

We are proud to present the finalists and winners across the two categories of Outstanding Organisation and Team Excellence in the 2021 HESTA Excellence Awards.



Outstanding Organisation finalists


Justice Connect


Sacred Heart Mission

St Kilda VIC

Sacred Heart Mission is recognised for their dedication to the immediate needs of the St Kilda community and across the Melbourne metro area.

They provide support and services for people experiencing homelessness, disadvantage and social exclusion, including a meals program, trauma-informed case management, women’s crisis accommodation, long-term supported accommodation and more.

Due to Covid, the Meals Program pivoted to a takeaway service, providing an average of 235 free meals every day over the last 12 months. It is through the Meals Program that many people first engage with Sacred Heart Mission’s additional support services, be it crisis or long-term.

The prize money will support Sacred Heart Mission to reopen their Meals Program in a Covid-safe way, so they can once more welcome everyone to their table.

Little Dreamers

Share the Dignity


Share the Dignity is recognised for their work to ensure no woman, girl or person who menstruates goes without basic access to period products in Australia. They assist through advocacy and by collecting and distributing period products across Australia.

The team of 17, powered by over 5500 volunteers – known as Sheroes – work hard to support 2900 registered charities who distribute these products.

Other initiatives include two annual Dignity Drive’s where more than 3 million period products have been donated as well as their annual Christmas campaign It’s in the Bag. They have also placed 250 #PinkBox Dignity Vending Machines in areas where those in need can access them.

Additionally, Share the Dignity advocates for ending period poverty. In 2018, they were successful in axing the tampon tax, and this year have conducted the Bloody Big Survey on menstruation. completed by 125,000 is now a world-first report highlighting the prevalence of period poverty in Australia.

Purple House

SHINE for Kids


SHINE for Kids is recognised for their work supporting children and young people with a parent in prison.

SHINE for Kids is the only national charity to provide programs to these children and young people, operating in schools, the community and 29 correctional facilities across the country.

Services provided by SHINE for Kids includes access to mentoring, transport, education support, Aboriginal programs, child-friendly prison visits, intensive family case management and much more.

In 2019-20, SHINE for Kids supported more than 7000 children and more than 5000 families, 30% of whom identify as Aboriginal or Torres Straight Islander. 

In the future, SHINE for Kids hopes to purchase new books for their Storytime Initiative.

The Water Well Project

Malvern VIC

The Water Well Project is recognised for its work to improve the health and wellbeing of communities from migrant, refugee or asylum seeker backgrounds through free, interactive health education sessions.

By providing interactive sessions run by volunteer healthcare professionals, the Water Well Project facilitates discussion, provides accurate information and enables communities to access available health services.

The sessions have given people the knowledge, personal skills and confidence needed to improve their personal and community health by changing their lifestyles and engaging in preventative care.

The Water Well Project plans to engage new volunteers, return to in-person sessions and further expand their reach across the country.


Team Excellence finalists




Northbridge WA

The SHQ team is recognised for developing and implementing a clinician and consumer endorsed screening tool to identify and support women who are at risk or who have experienced intimate partner violence or reproductive coercion.

SHQ is a specialist sexual health service comprised of a passionate team of doctors, nurses, counsellors and a wide range of support staff. With this screening tool, they can better identify and support women who are at risk or who have experienced violence from an intimate partner.

SHQ is committed to building on and expanding the initial project. They are sharing their learnings with other community service providers, and building even stronger relationships across the community sector to help improve the safety and wellbeing of women.  

Wongee Mia

Senior case management team (homelessness services)

The Haymarket Foundation, Chippendale NSW

The Haymarket Foundation’s senior case management team is recognised for going above and beyond to support individuals experiencing homelessness who have fallen through service gaps.

The senior case management team is made up of three individuals, Grace Ivy Rullis, Dinsel Davies and Deborah Jurd, all of whom share a passionate commitment to finding long-term solutions for people experiencing complex homelessness. The trio are always on call.

During the pandemic, our homelessness services sector was forced to adapt rapidly, placing people experiencing or at risk of homelessness into hotel accommodation, providing outreach case management to ensure their safety and well-being. This work developed into a living skills program and within three months, participants supported by Haymarket showed improvement in developing healthy relationships, shopping and cooking skills, and financial literacy skills needed to budget for rent and food. The majority of participants are now permanently housed with post support


Zoe Support Australia

Mildura VIC

Zoe Support Australia is recognised for its support of young mothers aged 13-25 while they engage with social programs, education and employment.

Zoe Support works to deliver a holistic service including childcare, transport, study hubs, tutoring, pre-accredited programs, playgroups, case management as well as mental health, housing, food, and clothing support. 

The Integrated Family Services (IFS) program provides intensive support to high-risk clients, enabling them to achieve their education, employment and social goals.

Over the past year, 44% of IFS clients have enrolled in accredited education programs including through TAFE, with 54% enrolled in pre-accredited Learn Local programs.

If successful, Zoe Support will use the funds for training their team in youth mental health and cultural awareness, building a pantry of food essentials and strengthening their transport program.    


Check out the other HESTA Excellence Awards finalists

allied health | aged care | disability services

2020  finalists and winners:   allied health  | aged care  |  community services  |  disability services


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Learn more about the HESTA Excellence Awards