By Jackson Russell
Awards recognising Access and Inclusion Champions, Community Group of the Year and Community Event of the Year highlighted the Mitchell Shire’s diveristy of volunteerism.
Recipients were presented with their awards at the Australia Day ceremony in Pyalong on Sunday.
Mitchell Shire Council youth council member Paris Ingham, of Kilmore, and Seymour College’s Inclusive Education Class were named joint Access and Inclusion Champions.
Paris is in her first year at youth council and has been a strong advocate for people of all ages with disability.
Paris’ mother Carol Ingham said since being in a wheelchair, Paris found there hadn’t been many accessible activities for her.
“She joined because the usual sports like netball, she couldn’t do, so youth council offered her a place to fit in. Through being part of youth council, she’s found that she’s got a voice,” Ms Ingham said.
“She is attempting to get a wheelchair sports day happening in Mitchell Shire so people of all abilities can participate in wheelchair sports.”
Paris has also made an impact on the senior council by highlighting accessibility concerns and has worked closely on the accessibility for the proposed Kilmore Hub.
Ms Ingham said she was exceptionally proud of her daughter.
“She could crawl in a heap and hide in her bedroom, but she hasn’t. She’s used her adversity as a catalyst to push her forward,” she said.
In its 161st year, Seymour Agricultural and Pastoral Society was named Community Group of the Year.
The volunteer-run society has been behind some of the best events and innovations in Seymour.
The 2019 Seymour Show was spearheaded by this group and is one of their greatest highlights each year.
The group is also involved in Seymour Alternative Farming Expo, Tastes of the Goulburn and other events.
President Jason Ronald said it was a great honour for the society.
“We’ve been going for 161 years and it’s nice to be recognised by the municipality as one of the groups that’s been effective and contributed to the community,” he said.
“We’re proud of our agricultural heritage and connection to the land. That’s all possible because of a dedicated group of volunteers who give their time to the society.”
One year after launching its 2019 Australia Day exhibition, Broadford Historical Society won the Community Event of the Year.
The exhibition delved into the history of the old paper mill that was such a large part of the town for many years.
Society members gathered photos of the mill over the years, put them on display and Graham Neill also created a DVD which received an honourable mention is a state history competition.
President Rod Mackenzie said the reaction to the exhibition was impressive.
“A lot of people came on the day and the schoolhouse was crowded with people looking at photos, uniforms and equipment. The response was so strong, we kept it up for several months afterwards,” he said.
“We try to bring local history to life and I think that’s a perfect example of it.
“Even though Graham was the lead, a lot of people put in a lot of work and it’s a reward for the effort of all those people.”