Blacktown City’s disability stars shine at annual awards

Rita Nichola Disability Awards 2021.jpg

Blacktown City Mayor Tony Bleasdale OAM has congratulated award winners following the Blacktown City Disability Awards.

Council recognised six outstanding recipients across five award categories at a special ceremony and talent showcase held on the International Day of People with a Disability.

“These awards were a fantastic opportunity to recognise the incredible contributions and successes of people with lived experiences with a disability, carers, advocates and disability service providers in our great City,” Mayor Bleasdale said.

“People with a disability make wonderful contributions to our community and these awards were a chance to celebrate them and their achievements.

“Council is committed through its policies of inclusion to ensure all members of our community are given fair and equal access to the facilities and services they need.

“Congratulations to all award recipients and the 11 finalists in this year’s awards.”

Angela Hatchman was named Volunteer of the Year for her unwavering work with Lalor Park disability group ‘We Matter’.

Ms Hatchman was awarded for her strong commitment to the rights of people with a disability, serving on the board of the organisation and helping lead the group through NDIS changes in 2019.

Community Advocate of the Year was awarded to Natalie Nobes for her work as a support worker for deaf people.

Ms Nodes, who is profoundly deaf, is studying a Certificate III in Individual Support at a community college and aspires to specialise in disability.

Through the assistance of two interpreters, her family and staff at the college, Ms Nobes is determined to achieve her educational goals.

Rita Nichola was named Inspirational Young Person of the Year for her advocacy in her everyday life and through her short film about her personal experience with disability.

Ms Nichola, who loves to cook meals and bake cakes to share with her family, was recognised for her incredible attitude in life and her dedication to sharing her story and encouraging others to strive for greatness regardless of obstacles.

Inspirational Person of the Year was awarded to Shahid Matthews who is renowned for his smiling face and ‘can do’ attitude.

Mr Matthews, who is committed to making a mark in his community, finds joy in nature, being creative and making others laugh.

He is not one to let his disability define him – “I have the ability to do anything”, he said.

The Organisation or Business of the Year Award was given to co-winners Therapy Care and Multicultural Disability Advocacy Association NSW (MDAA).

Therapy Care is an NDIS service producer in Blacktown City and has faced many challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite the tough time, Therapy Care continued to provide exceptional, personalised care in a COVID-safe manner, including home-schooling support and specialised support at home and over the phone.

MDAA was recognised for its work through its volunteers in Blacktown City, which includes projects regarding COVID-19 awareness and vaccination.

The association advocates for people with a disability in the area of NDIS appeals with a 98 per cent success rate.

The event included a disability showcase and featured performances from young people from local schools and disability groups.

The annual event is based on the United Nations sanctioned day in honour of people with a disability and will celebrate 30 years in 2022.

Picture: Councillor Kathie Collins OAM presents Rita Nichola with the Inspirational Young Person of the Year Award at the 2021 Blacktown City Disability Awards.

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