The 2017 Access Awards have recognised individuals and organisations that are working to make their business and service accessible to all people in the community.
There were 33 finalists this year, almost double that of 2016.
The overall winners were Joy Carr and Shirley Ryan who received the Individual award, while the Quality Hotel Powerhouse Tamworth won the Business award.
Louise Carriage was recognised as runner up in the Individual category.
Ms Carr has been a volunteer member of the Nundle Access group for more than 8 years. She was the prime mover for the construction of an Esi Access walkway from Nundle Recreation Ground to allow access up a hill to the town amenities and has been actively involved in securing large amounts of funding through many avenues, spending many hours of physical work digging, weeding, sourcing and planting to provide an attractive landscape.
Through her tenaciousness, Nundle now has a magnificent walkway which benefits all members of the Community.
Ms Ryan was recommended because of her tireless fundraising for the Nundle Esi Walk Project. She has a background in Geology and has used this knowledge to assemble specimen cards with samples from her collection. These cards have been sold through the Nundle Visitors Centre for a gold coin donation. This has raised over $4,000 for the Esi Walk.
Louise Carriage was awarded a Highly Commended certificate for her efforts in bringing Paralympic Sport, Goal Ball to Tamworth.
The sport offers blind/vision impaired people the opportunity to participate in physically demanding game on an equal bases with their sighted friends – as every player is blindfolded.
Louise is currently fundraising to secure the necessary funding to have Goal Ball played in Tamworth as a regular competition.
Quality Hotel Power House Hotel received the Business Award.
The Quality Hotel Power House Hotel, under the management of Ben Davies, is a passionate supporter for people with disabilities.
Mr Davies and staff volunteer time to give quality training in the Power House kitchen to people who have a keen interest in the hospitality industry. Clients are treated as one of a team in a mainstream community and have the same opportunities to cook and create as the staff. This gives them a sense of pride and achievement. They are encouraged to gain further skills in the hospitality industry and gain certification.
Mr Davies has a philosophy that even if someone with a disability many not always be able to participate physically, they can participate on a sensory level via smells of herbs and spice.
Mr Davies is a chef and is often seen at disability events donating time and ingredients to cook for the community.
Other finalists include Ability Links, Side Walk Café – Calala, Co Care – Tamworth, Karen Drury, ABC New England North West Radio, Imagine Better – Celebrate Together Committee, Kevin Clifton, Fiona’s Mini Bus Rental, Oxley High School – Youth Frontier Programme, 2017 Links for Life Disability Expo, One of a Kind, Northern Daily Leader, Jarrad Harland, Rural Fit Pty Ltd, The Centre Pharmacy, Ben Davies – Powerhouse Boutique Hotel, Joy Carr, Lenny’s Business, Connexions Café, Tamworth City Toyota, 360 Fitness Club, Paul Rolfe, Louise Carriage, Billabong Clubhouse, Meals on Wheels – Tamworth, Riding for the Disabled, Nazareth Care – Tamworth, Tamworth Golf Club, Pro Active Physiotherapy, Northcott Tamworth, Bunnings Hardware, Carlo’s IGA, Mrs Shirley Ryan.