Four outstanding Casey residents and one volunteer group were recognised for their inspiring contributions to the community at the 2021 Casey Australia Day Awards event held on the eve of Australia Day.
Sumandip Kaur was named the 2021 Casey Citizen of the Year for her physical activity and mental health program for community members during the COVID lockdown, Ajantha Weerakkody the Casey Senior Citizen of the Year for her work with Sri Lankan seniors , Livinia Walden the Casey Young Citizen of the Year for her mentoring work and animal rescue contributions and the Subhashini Singhal was named the first 2021 Casey Local Hero of the Year for her youth mentoring and community achievements .
Multicultural Youth Support Services were announced as the 2021 Casey Community Group of the Year for their work in supporting migrant families and promoting inclusive communities.
City of Casey Administrator, Noelene Duff acknowledged all the finalists across the five categories and congratulated the winners and nominees for the well-deserved recognition.
“It’s fitting that on Australia Day each year we celebrate the individuals and community groups who give so much to our community and make Casey and our country such a wonderful place to call home,” she said.
“Today, we celebrate our nation, our people and what it is to be Australian. Most importantly, we celebrate the many people who give their time, passion and energy to help build a better community here in Casey.
“I’d like to congratulate our 2021 Casey Citizens of the Year, along with all the nominees for these prestigious awards. Thank you for the contribution you all make to our community.”
Casey Citizen of the Year – Sumandip Kaur
Sumandip, is a qualified fitness instructor who promotes healthy eating and exercise as key to feeling happier and mentally stronger no matter what life brings.
Offering online classes seven days a week for all ages and abilities has required many hours in preparation but it has brought Sumandip’s clients huge rewards.
Senior citizens, those with mental health challenges and families have been connected and engaged by Sumandip’s generosity of spirit and real enthusiasm to keep everyone positive and achieving their goals during COVID-19 and beyond.
Sumandip’s commitment and dedication have been very much appreciated by her community.
Casey Young Citizen of the Year – Livinia Walden
Livinia has consistently excelled in her hobbies, her commitment to volunteering and her real desire to help others. She always looks for ways to mentor younger people, support peers, protect animals and encourage others to achieve their potential and build a healthier and happier community.
A recognised leader at school, in scouting and in her volunteer work, Livinia has immense energy and an ability to embrace change, foster inclusion and support people in times of need.
Livinia will no doubt continue to carve a significant way forward for improving the health, inclusion and development of her community and inspiring other young people to follow in her footsteps.
Casey Senior Citizen of the Year – Ajantha Weerakkody
Ajantha established the Sri Lanka Community Services Association in 2019 to support senior citizens in Casey and continues as their active Secretary and organiser. She recruits volunteers to help raise funds to support their excellent work and projects.
With over 50 members, Ajantha leads with clarity and a dynamic energy to ensure that life is joyful, meaningful, healthy, and active for everyone. She organises excursions, language classes, singing and art sessions and much appreciated concerts.
There is no doubt that Ajantha’s zest for life is infectious and is inspiring others to practice respect, love, and honesty in their daily lives.
Casey Local Hero of the Year – Subhashini Singhal
Studying, volunteering, leading, supporting, mentoring, and enjoying every moment of her busy life, Suba-sheeny shows us all that by being focused and dedicated, positive and helpful, someone can achieve so much.
Focussed in her plans to make a difference in her community and achieve her goals , Subhashini will no doubt continue to make a difference in her neighbourhood with purpose, knowing that she has been acknowledged by this award for her hard work and heartfelt enthusiasm to make the lives of others better.
Casey Community Group of the Year – Multicultural Youth Support Services (MYSS)
MYSS is a community not-for-profit organisation that helps African youths in the City of Casey. They deliver services to new migrant families and help embed them into the community.
MYSS provide counselling to individuals and families, support family networks and mentor young people in Casey. They engage the wider Casey community to educate residents about the various migrant cultures in the area.
MYSS also provide free educational assistance to African school children. They work to build inclusive communities by engaging volunteers to assist children with their education. This helps these children grow into the community and have excellent prospects of giving back to the City of Casey in the future.
Casey Australia Day Awards
The Casey Australia Day Awards have been celebrating remarkable Casey citizens for four decades. Every year, when our nation celebrates Australia Day, Casey celebrates the achievements and contributions of eminent Casey citizens.
Details on the 2021 Casey Australia Day Award recipients
- Casey Citizen of the Year – Sumandip Kaur
- Casey Young Citizen of the Year – Livinia Walden
- Casey Senior Citizen of the Year – Ajantha Weerakkody
- Casey Local Hero of the Year – Subhashini Singhal
- Casey Community Group of the Year – Multicultural Youth Support Services
Special mention: The Lions Club of Cranbourne were awarded Highly Commended in the Community Group of the Year category for outstanding contribution to the community, and Jawed Niazi was awarded Highly Commended in the Citizen of the Year category for his community interpretation and family violence services.
Nominees for Individual Awards:
- Adam Sadiqzai
- Ajantha Weerakkody
- Bassir Qadiri
- Damien Kuzek
- Dannii Cross
- Jawed Niazi
- Kerrigan La-Brooy
- Kimben Lim
- Livinia Walden
- Preety Sharma
- Sharon Williamson
- Subhashini Singhal
- Sumandip Kaur
Nominees for 2021 Casey Community Group of the Year
- Casey ADRA Cafe
- Bakhtar Cultural Association
- Community Information and Support Service Cranbourne
- Cranbourne Rotary Club
- Lions Club of Cranbourne
- Meow and Friends Community Vet
- Multicultural Youth Support Services
- Paulino Loro Foundation
- Transit Soup Kitchen and Food Support