Sustainable Cities Awards 2021
Social Well-Being Finalists

Rotary Club of Caroline Springs
BusyFeet Melton is a dance and movement class for children with disabilities aged between 6 and 16. It is a special place where everybody is respected for their individual capabilities.

BusyFeet is totally volunteer based with one-on-one support. Rotary Caroline Springs’ members have been the instigators and are involved in the commencement and management of BusyFeet Melton since inception in 2014.

The program is the winner of the City of Melton Community Program of the Year 2015 and the 2016 City of Melton Access and Inclusion Leadership Award.


Fawkner Food Bowls
Fawkner Commons
Fawkner Commons was developed by Jen Rae (FairShare Fare) and Sally Beattie (Fawkner Food Bowls), to help provide COVID-safe alternatives for the provision of food staples whilst supporting the growing local food economy. It was launched in May 2020 in partnership with The Community Grocer and Fawkner Bowling Club with support from the Open Food Network, Moreland Council and the Victorian State Government.

Along with food provisioning, Fawkner Commons aims to foster social inclusion, social cohesion and community resilience through pay-it-forward initiatives, meal programs, volunteering and community activities, partnerships, collaborations and advocacy.

Between May-December 2020, we distributed over $116K worth of fresh produce and essentials via our food box program, helping many local businesses keep afloat; distributed over 2400 prepared meals (via Natalie Abboud’s Soup Kitchen, Lentil as Anything Pop-up and Humpday Take-Away; and, distributed 1525 no-cost food hampers.


David Winter
Meals on Wheels
In early April 2020, Meals on Wheels started providing two meals a week to aged people who were forced to isolate in their homes. Later, a new category – International students – was added.

Everyone involved in the organisation and delivery of the meals were volunteers.

Each cook made 10 freshly produced meals (main and dessert), volunteer drivers collected fruit and fresh bread from the bakery and then collected the packed meals that had been prepared that day. Twice a week, they prepared the runs (with maps) and ensured that there was no repetition of meals. They catered for gluten free, Fodmap and vegetarian as well meat dishes.


RAW (Resilient Aspiring Women) Garden Australia
Conversations + Compassion = Community
RAW is a grassroots community/ volunteer-based organisation, bringing together women from diverse multicultural backgrounds into the garden in Bayside.

The goal is to create and maintain a vibrant, sustainable, safe, non-threatening environment to build resilience, support aspirations and healing through sharing of stories. When women thrive, communities thrive.

The RAW strategy/project is to deliver annual programs of regular events based on storytelling, cooking, arts and personal development. Storytelling is the heart of the program and provides and avenue to share stories of resilience, improving mental health and building community connections that underpin a thriving community.


Yarra Gospel Community Choir
In March 2020, in response to COVID-19 restrictions, Yvonne Giltinan, supported by a skilled team of volunteer choristers, took Yarra Gospel Community Choir online, with the aim of continuing to support choir members in isolation.

Yvonne and her team put in hundreds of hours of work to set up and deliver choir sessions on YouTube. Chat comments could be added during these sessions so that isolated members felt they were involved and included.

These sessions attracted around 100 participants each week, including newcomers.

Extra weekly Zoom sessions were conducted for each section of the choir, enabling people to see how others were doing – and providing invaluable social support during social isolation. These community initiatives have been an important way of achieving social distancing without social isolation!


Port Phillip Community Group
Share the Food
COVID-19 set the challenge to feed and look after more people than ever before.

The Port Phillip Community Group helped 55 clients at a weekly food market, distributing 23,549 food parcels and meals up to March 2021. The group was inundated with families and individuals who faced unemployment, housing insecurity and isolation, and an increased risk of hunger.



Sikh Volunteers Australia Inc
Free Food Home Delivery Project
Over 142,200 free meals were cooked and delivered to the homes of the needy during the COVID-19 support period in 41 suburbs of nine councils, covering almost the whole of south-east Melbourne and city.

This also included 4,000 meals delivered to the residents living in North Melbourne and Flemington Housing Commission Towers.

SVA also served 8,000 and 22,500 meals during the 1st and 2nd circuit breaker lockdown respectively.

The SVA team also assisted residents of Mount Dandenong who were affected by power disruption due to storms.


Days for Girls Keilor Gateway Cluster
Menstrual Health Making a Difference
The Keilor Gateway Cluster (KGCV) of Days for Girls (DfG) makes reusable, washable, sanitary kits for vulnerable females to manage and learn about menstrual health, so they can attend school or work.

Volunteers have fundraised, sourced materials, prepared, sewn, packed and distributed close to 3,000 kits since 2016.

Managed and mentored by the team, a women’s centre, a sewing group, a DfG distribution centre was established with the aim of becoming a sustainable social enterprise producing the kits locally.

Despite communication issues, personal tragedies, extreme weather and a global pandemic, many of the project’s aims have been met.


Belgrave Lantern Parade
Belgrave Lantern Parade/Festival
During non-COVID times, the parade is attended by approximately 9,000 to 11,000 people, with the street being closed and reclaimed.

A non-curated free community arts event, the handmade lanterns range from a 500-gram yoghurt container, umbrella frames with draped fabric, to large exotic shapes like dragonflies and cockatoos with articulated wings.

There is also a scattering of family pet dogs bedazzled with fairy lights and prams decorated the same with tiny humans participating in the spectacle.

It’s a grassroots community event running on minimal funding and a whole lot of heart.

COVID times called for reimagining, and with additional storm chaos experienced by the area, the community lanterns were displayed in shop windows for a less crowded, extended lantern viewing – still creating magic for and with the Community.


Dani-Ela Kayler
HERE ME – Teenagers Take Up Space
HERE ME – Teenagers Take Up Space is a youth arts project empowering young people to share their voices addressing dominant societal misconceptions about youth. A physical enactment of inhabiting and taking up space that reframes community perception of public spaces and young people’s place in it.

The project was facilitated by experimental performance maker and secondary teacher Dani-Ela Kayler during the Easter school holidays in 2019 and 2021. It identified the social isolation of young people living in and around Belgrave, and the lack of engaging holiday programs offered to young people aged 12-18.

The project was a free 3-day intensive workshop recruiting young people from a diversity of local schools, resulting in a socially engaging, off-beat, public performance art flashmob-style event.

Participants were upskilled in physical theatre and acro-skills, and co-collaborators of the work. Through direct engagement with public space, HERE ME made visible youth culture; the physical enactment of taking up space in 15-20 locations, accompanied by billboards with text inviting participation and reflection of young people’s concerns and aspirations for their collective futures.


Renate Crow
Stretching Our Wings
With the support of a COVID-impact grant from Council, a series of workshops were run in-person and online, connecting participants of all ages.

Renate designed and created kits for each participant, regardless of ability, to be able to create and decorate their own bird out of a recycled 2L milk bottle. Thirty-eight completed birds were then ‘loaned’ to create a pop-up installation for the wider community to enjoy. The birds were arranged flying out of the nest, the nest being symbolic of staying at home during lockdown.

The result was a beautiful sculpture displayed at the local community hub. During a subsequent snap lockdown and the Dandenong Ranges being severely battered by storms, this community artwork was able to give a spot of joy and light in literally dark times with the power outages.


FoodPatch Art
Feeling Our Way Forward with Ephemeral Art Play
‘Feeling Our Way Forward with Ephemeral Art Play’ was a month-long community event based at Coronation Park, Healesville, Yarra Ranges – Wurundjeri Country.

A creative hub was set up in the park, with five artists onsite to engage with locals, school groups and tourists. Hundreds of people came along, with many attending multiple times each week to see the artwork developing.

Some participants took their work home; some left them onsite; others took inspiration to make creations elsewhere. Everything was for and about community.

There was also a workshop and a free music event – ‘Community Voices in the Park’.


Glen Park Community Centre Inc.
Community Pantry
Glen Park Community Centre acknowledged the demand for emergency food relief and material aid had increased in the local community. As a result, Glen Park’s Social Enterprise Cafe “Cafe on the Park” launched an initiative called the “Community Pantry” in 2017 in an effort to meet the increased demand for emergency food relief and material aid, with the main objective of alleviating the financial burdens and stress associated with individuals and families struggling financially to put food on their tables.

Cafe on the Park works tirelessly to ensure the Community Pantry is stocked full of fresh fruit, vegetables, bread, non-perishable items of food and personal hygiene items; all within a safe, comfortable venue hosted by Glen Park Community Centre.

Glen Park Community Centre formed a relationship with Eastland Shopping Centre, who generously donate material aid and provide a dedicated space at the shopping centre for members of the community to donate to the Community Pantry.

The Community Pantry now operates on a fortnightly basis to cater to the increased demand and regularly receives donations from local community members.


Creative Communities
Put Out Your Poetry
Put Out Your Poetry was a creative response to the social isolation caused by COVID-19. It invited all residents across the Yarra Ranges municipality to write and display poetry on their rubbish bins prompted by poems, written by local writers, on the rubbish trucks that service the streets of these areas.

As people went on their daily walks they were delighted by poems in unexpected places and had a chance to feel part of a community project.

Haiku, a form of poetry consisting of just three lines, was selected due to its accessibility for all ages and writing abilities.

By using rubbish bins and trucks, the project sought to create an opportunity for all people, including those without the skills or technology to engage online, a way to express themselves creatively and connect with others.

Put Out Your Poetry harnessed creative expression and physical activity to support community mental health and reduce social insolation brought about by COVID-19. Community participation and positive feedback exceeded expectations, with over 700 residents receiving stickers and 80 per cent of people stating that they felt more connected through participating in the project.


City of Stonnington
Stonnington Environmental Champions
In 2020, Council piloted its first ever Environmental Champions program.

After receiving strong community interest, 25 community members were selected to take part in 12 weeks of training to develop their leadership capability and develop and deliver local projects to create a more sustainable Stonnington.

Champions learned about the climate emergency, local environment, leadership, project delivery, behaviour change, communications, change-making and more.

Due to COVID-19, the program took place entirely online using Zoom.


City of Stonnington
Stonnington Nature Play Handbook
Outdoor activities such as nature play improve focus, motor skills and physical health, as well as assist children to develop resilience, independence and self-awareness.

The City of Stonnington has developed the Nature Play Handbook, a practical, easy-to-use guide that supports families and educators to encourage nature play and implement a nature play program in early year’s education.

Council continues to promote the handbook to encourage families and educators to support connection to nature, building resilience and supporting development.


Team Ballarat
We Are Ballarat
The adversity, uncertainty, health crisis and economic impact of 2020 was a scenario never before faced by the community. It was also a year that brought City leaders together to plan for what recovery and growth for their city could be.

There is no doubt opportunities will arise for Ballarat as result of the changes to the way they live, work and travel. There will undoubtedly be changes to what they value most on a global scale. The people are what makes Ballarat unique. People are contributing to a new cultural fabric, a rich tapestry of threads that are moving the city forward. Then, the We Are Ballarat campaign was born. The word “all” is in the city’s name, it is in their ethos.

“We are Ballarat, We are all Ballarat and We are ALL in this together.”


City of Ballarat Youth Services
The VicHealth funded New Local Project provided opportunities for meaningful social connections for young people through green and social good volunteering.

Volunteer opportunities were matched with program of webinars and workshops (virtually and face-to-face) with a focus on zero waste, sharing economy, food security, social enterprise, waste revolution, self- reliance, social enterprise and collective action.

Workshops and Activities for young people aged 12-25 included: Bees Wax Wrap Making Workshop by Girl Space Ballarat, 3 No Waste Cook Club Webinars and Online Workshops with Open Table, Love Food Hate Waste: Jam Making workshop with GCWRRG and Hidden Orchards and an Urban Gardening Workshop – Growing your own in small spaces and a visit to the Ballarat Tool Library.


City of Port Phillip
Visitor Summer Management Program
St Kilda Beach and surrounds are traditionally one of the most popular and contested areas in Victoria for locals and tourists during the summer months.

The City of Port Phillip’s Visitor Summer Management Program provides a coordinated response to minimise harm and negative impacts created by large crowds in this area during the extended summer period.

The program had to quickly respond to the pandemic to ensure the beaches and parks could remain open and COVID-safe for both locals, visitors, volunteers and staff.

The program successfully responded to anti-social behaviour, COVID restrictions (masks, physical distancing, restricted social gatherings), excess waste, hoon behaviour, illegal parties, at capacity beaches, rough sleepers and general safety. It also supported the area’s economic and social recovery with outdoor hospitality parklets and safe community programming.

Overall 2021 Sustainable City Finalists

  • Greater Geelong
  • Yarra Rangers