2015 Community Sport & Recreation Awards – Winners

Minister’s Award Winner

Doxa Camps Program, Doxa

girl abseiling

There’s now 5,000 young Victorians who would have ordinarily missed out on camps and organised sport and recreation that have connected with new friends and learnt valuable life skills in the great outdoors thanks to the Doxa programs.Doxa Youth Foundation has significantly expanded its active outdoor programs to engage more young people in 2015.

Doxa operates three outdoor recreation programs that challenge children in a very supportive and highly engaging environment. The staff use high impact models of adventure based learning to initiate sustained change across the children’s relationships at school, at home and with the natural environment.

Over 130 groups each year—comprising many of Victoria’s most disadvantaged schools and groups that support young people with special needs—partner with a Doxa outdoor program. These schools and community groups typically can’t afford the active outdoor programs that Doxa offers elsewhere.

As a not-for-profit organisation, Doxa takes great pride in increasing young people’s engagement in the outdoors. 

Young Volunteer of the Year Winner

Jessica Woodward, Life Saving Victoria


Jessica is passionate about water safety promotion and has organised water safety for a number of triathlons in East Gippsland. Promoting surf safety, cultural diversity and female leadership within surf life saving are all issues that are important to her.Jessica has a long history of contributing to voluntary patrols in her time as a Surf Lifesaving Lakes Entrance member. She is also an important member of the committee and holds multiple club positions.Jessica is an outstanding example of volunteering. Jessica has given extensive service to life saving, her club and the Gippsland community.

At just 19 years old, Jessica’s other accolades include the East Gippsland Shire Council Australia Day Young Citizen of the Year 2015 and the John Wishart Memorial Medal (Victorian Lifesaver of the Year) in 2014.

Community Sport and Recreation Facility Winner

TH King Pavilion & Stonnington Environmental Education and Design Centre 

pavilion glen iris

The development replaced the small, basic sportsground pavilion with a modern community facility with an innovative design that brings together a major sports pavilion, an environmental education centre and a community meeting space all under the one roof.In November 2014, residents of the City of Stonnington and surrounding areas welcomed the opening of the upgraded TH King Pavilion and the new Stonnington Environmental Education and Design Centre in Glen Iris.

The building incorporates a number of environmentally sustainable design best practice initiatives including energy efficiency, materials, water, waste and sustainable design innovation.

Community Umpire or Referee / Official of the Year Winner

Robyn Manhire, Dandenong Basketball Referees Association

basketball referee


Robyn works tirelessly for the sport of basketball, juggling a busy work and family life with local, state and national basketball commitments.

Robyn started refereeing at Dandenong Basketball Association in 1995 and quickly progressed to junior panel level. Twenty years on and she is still going strong, excelling in all areas of refereeing from her home association at Dandenong to state and national levels.

Through her hard work, commitment and determination, Robyn received her FIBA International accreditation in 2010—the highest level for referees in the world, which has seen her travel to Russia, New Caledonia, Guam and Fiji to referee. Last year she refereed the Women’s National Basketball League, ranked # 1 on the Men’s SEABL Panel and refereed a men’s grand final. This year, Robyn had the privilege of being nominated for, and attending the Under 19 Women’s World Championships in Moscow, Russia.

Outdoor Active Recreation Initiative Winner

Active in Parks, People and Parks Foundation

active parks banner

To ensure lasting change, Active in Parks programs are structured around educational outcomes that promote Healthy Parks Healthy People, and recognises that forging connections with healthy natural environments is intrinsically linked to human health. Active in Parks empowers communities to lead and develop their own health strategies around outdoor sports and recreation, and through www.activeinparks.org, connects people to thousands of outdoor activities. People and Parks Foundation’s Active in Parks is a community-driven program connecting people to outdoor sport and recreational pursuits for health and wellbeing outcomes. Active in Parks addresses the physical, mental and social health concerns affecting community issues by encouraging positive, sustainable behavioural change for individuals and their communities.

Service to Sport and Active Recreation Winner

Peter Cullen, Reclink Australia

volunteers oval

From simple beginnings in 1989, Reclink Australia has grown into a national organisation with a network membership of 240 agencies. In the past 12 months Reclink Australia has provided approximately 80,000 sport and recreation opportunities to 10,000 individuals facing disadvantage.Over 25 years ago, Peter took his unique experience and insight as an outreach worker in St Kilda and used it to establish Reclink Australia—an organisation that uses sport and recreation to address and overcome serious disadvantage.

At the core of Reclink programs is Peter’s commitment to using sport and recreation as a tool that can break the cycle of disadvantage. Peter has also played a critical mentoring role for many of the participants in the Reclink program, helping them address life issues and providing structure and support for them to make improvements. 

Community Sporting Event of the Year Winner

AFL National Inclusion Carnival

football players on oval

The 2015 carnival involved some fantastic, competitive football played between every state. Victoria Metro took out the Peter Ryan Cup in a thrilling grand final on Punt Road Oval against New South Wales/ACT.In August 2015, the AFL National Inclusion Carnival brought together representative teams of footballers with intellectual disabilities to participate in a week long, round robin carnival.

But the stories outside of winning games captured the true spirit of the carnival. They include the Victoria Country player handballing to his Tasmanian opponent so he could kick Tassie’s first goal for the game, and the independence gained by the Tasmanian player who, at age 27, had never spent more than a single night away from his parents. 

Community Sporting Club of the Year Winner

Flyaway Gymnastics Club

gymnastics club

The club’s team of 25 coaching and support staff pride themselves on their club’s participation strategy, which is to provide a welcoming and inclusive club environment for everybody, regardless of age, gender, background or ability.Flyaway Gymnastics Club’s ‘give it a go’ attitude and ability to be innovative is yielding great results for the club and their community. As a Gymnastics Victoria Inclusive Leader Club, Flyaway Gymnastics Club has grown from 150 members to more than 700 members in 2015, and now operates in both Wodonga and Albury.

The success of the club encourages more sports clubs in regional Victoria to adopt an inclusive club strategy for their local community.  The club was also voted by its peers and Gymnastics Victoria as the winner of the 2015 Gymnastics Victoria Club of the Year Award.

Community Coach of the Year Award Winner

Peter Mair, Southern Football Netball League

community coach

He has built a strong reputation as a coach and leader of the Southern Football Netball League (SFNL) umpiring group, and is well respected by his peers. Working collaboratively with key stakeholders, one of Peter’s strengths is building high performing teams within a supportive, inclusive and positive environment.Peter has been involved in umpiring for over 25 years, including being a boundary, field and goal umpire, mentor, observer, umpire’s coach and director of umpiring.

Part of Peter’s coaching philosophy is based around developing the life skills of the participant, such as effective communication, confidence and sound decision making, which leads to improved performance outputs.

Peter enjoys creating opportunities for all participants, whether new or experienced, male or female. He’s been a leader in developing women in the sport of umpiring, with the SFNL now having one of the highest female umpire participation rates nationally.