Utterly excellent!

Stars big and small were out in force at the annual HESTA & ACSA Aged Care Awards for Excellence on the Gold Coast last week. [Photos included]

Above: The Excellence Line-up…The 2012 HESTA ACSA award winners and sponsors at the gala dinner, Sunday 2 September at the Gold Coast Convention Centre.

By Keryn Curtis, who attended the awards dinner and the ACSA National Conference last week.

The annual HESTA & ACSA Aged Care Awards Gala Dinner, which kick-started this year’s Aged and Community Services Australia national conference was a typically glamorous affair.

Swirling mists and purple lighting (fortuitously the signature corporate colour for both organisations) added to the frisson of anticipation at the Gold Coast convention centre as winners of the five categories were announced by comedian, Jean Kitson, in two sections over the course of the gala evening. 

The top honours for the night went to John Metaxis, manager of Hellenic Community Aged Care, WA.  Mr Metaxis took out the Individual Award for Excellence for his advocacy and dedication to small stand-alone, rural and regional aged care providers in Western Australia, winning a scholarship to attend an international conference of his choice, courtesy of HESTA and ACSA.

Unfortunately Mr Metaxis is currently overseas and was therefore unable to attend the awards dinner.  However, HESTA CEO, Anne-Marie Corboy, said the Individual Award was the highest honour of the night, recognising exceptional service by an individual who has significantly improved the quality of services for older Australians.

“Over many years, John Metaxas has voluntarily mentored small aged care providers navigating their way through the challenges of operational management and regulatory requirements in regional areas,” Ms Corboy said. 

“John has also provided innovative ideas to recruit and retain an aged care workforce and to improve quality of care — collaborating with tertiary education institutions to provide training for medical students.”

Above: Chris McGowan with the Organisation Award for Excellence for Silver Chain

WA’s community care provider icon, Silver Chain, received the Organisation Award for Excellence for its well-known and outstanding leadership and innovation in health care technology.  The award was presented on the night to CEO, Chris McGowan, robustly supported by a strong contingent of Silver Chain representatives.

A support worker from the remote Kimberley region of far north Western Australia received the Employee Award for Excellence.  Rhonda Sawtell, a support worker from Frontier Services’ Ngamang Bawoona (Derby) was recognised for her dedication to supporting and caring for members of the Kimberley’s indigenous community.  Rhonda will be remembered well for her excited, emotional response to receiving the award.

Above: It was an emotional response from Rhonda Sawtell, winner of the Emplyee Award for Excellence. Pictured with Jean Kitson.

The Volunteer Award was presented to Shirley Nelson from Feros Care in northern New South Wales. A volunteer on the Feros Care Board of Directors, compere, Jean Kitson said Shirley’s passion and dedication to caring for others inspires all those she encounters.

Abby Dunnicliff, an orientation and mobility instructor at Guide Dogs SA/NT, was awarded the Trainee Award. Abby was commended for her contribution to improving the lives of older people and those with physical and cognitive impairments. 

Winners in the categories of Trainee, Volunteer, Employee and Organisation, share a prize pool of $30,000 provided by ME Bank.

ACSA CEO, Adj Prof John Kelly AM, commended this year’s high-calibre award winners.

“The 2012 award winners embody the remarkable ingenuity and dedication of the people and organisations that define aged care in Australia. Exemplary achievements and innovation result when people strive and succeed in delivering care and support above and beyond the call of duty,” Prof Kelly said.

In addition to the amusing compering role by Jean Kitson, guests were entertained by Raymond Crowe, self proclaimed as Australia’s only ‘unusualist’! Many will know Raymond Crowe for his shadow hand puppet show on ABC Tv’s Spicks and Specks program which was set to the soundtrack of “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong.  You can see the 2.22 minute hand puppet part of his performance on youtube.

A full list of the state winners who were competing for each of the awards is available on the ACSA website here.

The full list of judges for each award is also available.

Above: Night of stars…the 2012 HESTA ACSA Aged Care Awards for Excellence gala dinner at the Gold Coast Convention Centre

Above: Abby Dinnicliff from Guide Dogs SA/NT won the Trainee award for excellence. Pictured here with compere, comedian Jean Kitson.

Above: Winner of the Volunteer Award for Excellence, Shirley Nelson from Feros Care.

Above:  Amazing shadow hand puppetry by Raymond Crowe, part of the show!


Above: Shock and surprise from Rhonda Sawtell upon hearing her name announced as winner of the Employee Award for Excellence.

Above: Unusualist, Raymond Crowe

Tags: acsa-national-conference-2012, hesta, hesta-&-acsa-aged-care-awards, jean-kitson, me-bank, raymond-crowe,

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