On Sunday 9 September an excited group of participants from IOE’s Lilydale program donned their Sunday best and headed to Government House for the presentation of the Victorian Premier’s Volunteer Champions Awards. The group of five, Ben H, Terrie M, Sarah W, Dominique R and Josh H represented the PAG cooking program group who had been nominated for the voluntary role they have played in providing healthy freshly-cooked meals for isolated seniors in the Yarra Junction area.

260 nominations resulted in 45 successful award recipients on the day, representing a variety of commendable endeavours throughout the state.

‘It was a really special day. We were particularly proud to receive the recognition’ said Jessica D who runs the meals program “We were the only disability group, so it was just about the amazing voluntary contribution the group has made to the elderly citizens of the Yarra Valley. The elderly citizens were originally all Italian, so we often cook Italian style food for them. They love it and think our food is much better than the meals on wheels they used to get!’

The IOE group was nominated for the award by the Shire of Yarra Ranges Volunteer Coordinator in recognition of their volunteer contribution. The award was presented by The Honourable Linda Dessau AC, Governor of Victoria and was accepted by Terri M on behalf of the group. All the participants received certificates and badges for their achievement. Following the ceremony refreshments were served in the garden and pictures were taken, with everyone enjoying the vibe of the day and being the centre of attention.

In the program for the awards, under the heading ‘Teamwork’ the IOE Meals team’s contribution was received the following praise ‘Thanks to the initiative and cooperation of this group of eight young volunteers with a disability, isolated seniors now connect every week in Yarra Junction over a healthy freshly cooked meal. Food aside, the greatest benefits for young and old are lasting inter-generational friendships, sharing of stories and the confidence gained through building community connections.’

Well done to you all!

Take a look at the video of the PAG group in action

Read more at https://www.ioe.org.au/premiers-volunteer-champions-award-winners