City of Parramatta Citizen of the Year Awards
The City of Parramatta Citizen of the Year Awards recognise and honour the outstanding achievement and excellence in the local community and highlight the importance of service to the Australian nation. These awards are part of Council’s Australia Day program, and provide a great opportunity to celebrate local heroes for the contribution they deliver to our community.
Being nominated for a Citizen of the Year Award is a great honour and it is an opportunity for the community to pay tribute to neighbours, friends or colleagues who make them proud to be an Australian.
There are many reasons to nominate an individual or group to receive an award, including achievement in education, sports, environmental care, community engagement, business, welfare, arts and culture, leadership, civic responsibility, volunteering, offering acts of kindness, or a noteworthy contribution to the Parramatta community.
The Award categories are as follows:
Citizen of the Year:
A person who has made a noteworthy contribution to the City of Parramatta in any of the below age groups
- Young Citizen of the Year in honour of David Shakespeare OAM: 16-30 years
- Citizen of the Year: 31-64 years
- Senior Citizen of the Year: 65 years and over
Note: the age of the nominee must fall into the applicable category as of 26 January of the ceremony year. Selection of Citizen of the Year Award recipients will take into consideration activities in the year prior to January of the ceremony year, in addition to past and future activities.
Community Group Award:
A local group or organisation, which has provided an outstanding contribution to the City of Parramatta community. This includes projects and events.
Note: The Community Group Award must be for a group, project or activity which has contributed to the City of Parramatta in the 24 months prior to January of the ceremony year.
Nass is responsible for a number of community initiatives aimed at fostering a stronger and more connected community. In the past year, Nass played a pivotal role in assisting people who are experiencing homelessness, by organising a shelter project with integrated support services such as counselling and job assistance, to facilitate a holistic approach to rehabilitation. Through mobilising volunteers, securing donations, and collaborating with local businesses, Nass created a safe and welcoming space for those in need. This initiative addressed the urgent need for shelter, provided immediate relief to those experiencing homelessness and significantly increased the number of individuals who successfully transitioned from homelessness to stable housing. His commitment also extends to establishing a community garden and nurturing youth development through mentorship programs.
As the president of Melrose Park Football Club, Julie’s leadership has transformed the club into a vibrant hub of inclusivity and positive community engagement. Julie has created a welcoming and inclusive environment, particularly for newly-arrived refugees from Afghanistan, providing an opportunity to play soccer and fostering a sense of belonging, while simultaneously building a strong sense community within the club. Julie’s efforts to integrate refugees from Afghanistan into Australian society through soccer have been exceptional, forming three dedicated teams and providing a platform for skill development and belonging. Julie’s visionary approach is further evident in the annual ‘Street Football World Cup’, an event bringing together players from diverse backgrounds, fostering unity and a shared love for soccer.
Ronda is one of the few exceptional individuals who are dedicated to the vital work of Parramatta heritage protection. Despite her age and health challenges, Ronda dedicates her time to preserving history through participation in neighbourhood organisations such as the Parramatta and District Historical Society and the Parramatta Female Factory Friends. Using her theatrical storytelling skills, she engages audiences with captivating narratives of colonial Sydney, portraying her Irish ancestor Sarah Scott with remarkable flair. Rhonda is a passionate advocate for heritage preservation for the future generations, regularly writing submissions on the value of our local history. Ronda also volunteers her time to help organise and run various events and tours around the Parramatta Female Factory and Hambledon Cottage.
Support Organisation for Homeless and Asylum Seekers
Support Organisation for Homeless and Asylum Seekers (SOHAS) is a charitable force committed to enhancing the quality of life for people of marginalised and vulnerable communities in Parramatta and surrounding Western Sydney. The organisation supports people in need including seniors, asylum seekers, international students, temporary visa holders, people experiencing homelessness, and refugees. SOHAS champions various initiatives, from distributing essential groceries and aiding victims of domestic violence to collaborating with emergency services during crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic. SOHAS also provides free counselling and employment assistance to immigrants and refugee communities, helping them to find jobs and integrate into their communities.