2018 State Awards recipients
The highest award is the State Award of Honour for service of an outstanding and exemplary nature to the Neighbourhood Watch (NHW) program.
Neville Bredden – Neville has been leading the NHW group around Creightons Creek in Strathbogie for the past 28 years and over that time has also taken on other responsibilities like Security, Publicity and Newsletter. He is well known and respected in this rural community and has worked to maintain interest and support in the NHW program – especially when the crime rate is low and residents become a bit complacent. Nev has been able to arrange for the local newsletter to be printed free, but donates the paper himself. Then he and the other Committee Members hand deliver them – and being in a rural community, that’s quite a few kilometres to be travelled.
David Cheatley – David has led the charge, along with the team of NHW volunteers in Torquay/Jan Juc, to provide a safe place for the local community, including the large holiday tourist population. His engagement with a wide range of community partners has enabled the delivery of a variety of innovative projects. Time will not allow me to list them all, but importantly, they include ways of educating the community of the need to “Lock It, Remove It or Lose It” to combat the lingering problem of thefts from cars. In a mentoring role, he is currently assisting two small groups of residents establishing NHW groups in their area.
Suzanne Dunlop – In just a few short years, Suzanne has turned NHW in Boroondara around and volunteer numbers are increasing again. As Chair, Suzanne has built a strong relationship with the Boroondara Police and local Councillors, and has established a NHW presence across the City through her involvement in organising displays at street festivals, Volunteer Expos, Neighbourhood Houses, as a member of the Council Safety Committee and the Volunteer Resource Centre, to name a few.
Richard Heal - Richard has filled leadership roles in Manningham NHW for all 32+ years he has been a member of the organisation, including Manager of his local Area for all of that time. He was Chair of Manningham from 1993 to 2001 during a significant period of rebuilding and became Deputy Chair of the LGA in 2010. As well as his NHW duties, Richard held leadership roles in Scouting for over 40 years and in the North Balwyn Probus Club.
Ian Hiscock – Ian has been a solid and hard-working NHW member for more than 32 years after establishing the group in his local area of Moonee Ponds. Sometimes he has run this group single-handedly, but still found time to attend and contribute at additional events such as the Moonee Valley Festival, Safe Plate Days, barbecues and other forums on behalf of NHW. He is also a regular contributor at district meetings, offering constructive and sound advice of crime prevention issues.
Gil Newton – Gil first joined NHW in Chadstone before shifting to Dandenong some 10 years ago. Gil is a very active contributor at Safe Plate Days, Dandenong Show, Coffee with a Cop and so on – providing transport where needed, helping in the kitchen, setting up and packing away at the end – he is always last to leave. In addition, he picks up Newsletter from the printers and delivers a large number of them to the local residents and businesses.
Nella Palmieri – Nella plays an integral role in Whittlesea City NHW Group as Events Co-ordinator and excels in engaging people of all ages. Her initiatives have included talks to scout groups, attending seniors groups and retirement villages, organising NHW volunteers to assist at local Blue Light Discos, running the canteen at the discos and in the past 6 months alone, she has assisted Police to conduct some 15 stalls promoting motor vehicle security. It is not only NHW that benefits from Nella’s involvement as she also volunteers for CFA, SES, Whittlesea Combined Pensioners’ Group, the annual Agricultural Show and City of Whittlesea.
Merle Rigby – Merle has been a valued volunteer with NHW Winchelsea since its inception and as well as holding the position of Treasurer for the past 19 years, she assists with all the group’s activities. Merle is heavily involved in the planning and co-ordination of the Good Neighbour Schools’ Day, an annual event which brings together more than 700 students from the rural districts surrounding Winchelsea. After handling the grant applications and seeking donations, she will be found at the Community Centre assisting with set up and then, on the day, Merle will be in the kitchen.
John Smith - John has been instrumental in maintaining a number of NHW groups across Bendigo as well as Maiden Gully, his local group, where he has been on the Committee since its inception. He is community focused, takes every opportunity to promote the NHW message and is always willing to help others. He has been tireless in organising events and raising funds for projects, including the purchase of a vehicle for the Proactive Police Unit in Bendigo some years ago.
Marjory Wilson – Marjory has been the very effective Secretary of St Leonards NHW for the past 17 years. In addition to maintaining meticulous records of all meetings, managing correspondence with local police, NHW Victoria, Greater Geelong Council, she has also worked tirelessly for the safety of local residents. Marjory has successfully petitioned for the installation of a safe pedestrian crossing in town as well as many other safety features. And when she puts down her pen at the end of a meeting, she heads to the kitchen to ensure everyone has a cuppa and something to eat.
Maureen Fowler and Debbie Medley – Together, Maureen and Debbie work as a team to bring KC the Neighbourhood Watch Dog to life in Casey. In 2018 alone, KC Dog and Minder have visited over 18 kindergartens multiple times, involving over 2,000 children, helping to bring together different cultures and backgrounds and reinforcing who they can and should go to for help and who to trust. These visits are so well received that they are already taking bookings for next year. In addition to the KC Dog program, they both fulfil other roles within Casey NHW, including Secretary, Treasurer and assisting at other events ranging from shows, safe plate days to sausage sizzles.
The David Lentin Memorial Award for the Neighbourhood Watch group with the most acclaimed program initiative was awarded to Neighbourhood Watch Latrobe City, for their Morwell Primary Schools Year 6 Community Art Project and Family Fun Day. This ongoing project, which started as a way to tackle recurring graffiti in a Morwell subway, now involves 4 local primary schools and provides an opportunity to engage with Emergency Services in a meaningful way.
Congratulations to all nominees and recipients.