Eight inspiring Melbourne Awards finalists

This year’s Melbourne Awards shine a light on community champions who have shown great leadership, kindness and generosity during COVID-19.

The Melbourne Awards are the City of Melbourne’s highest accolade, celebrating inspirational people who dedicate their time and energy to making this city a world leader.

The 2020 awards recognise people who have made a significant contribution in the following categories: business, digital innovation, youth, community, essential services, and arts and culture.

Read on to discover just a few of the finalists.

1. Virtual school holiday fun

Home-delivered activity kits for kids aged 5 to 12 and full days of online fun and education led by experts have been a great help for working parents in recent months. This innovation was the brainchild of KidsCo, a company that ran on-site school holiday programs at workplaces before COVID-19.

2. Live music in your lounge room

Enjoy live music from home thanks to the weekly Isol-Aid Festival on Instagram. At the end of each set, the musicians tag the next artist to perform, sending fans down a rabbit hole of new music discovery. This event draws a growing community each week, with more than 18,500 unique viewers.

3. Selfless service

Driven by sewa (selfless service) the Sikh Volunteers group has been working harder than ever to support people of all backgrounds during COVID-19. Every day, volunteers have provided free food and water to people in need, distributing more than 84,000 meals in the past four months alone.

4. High-school hackathons

Nathaniel Diong has spent his lockdown helping educators adapt to remote learning and running virtual hackathons to inspire thousands of high-schoolers to build startups with social impact. He also helped run the global #StartingGood Virtual Summit, a free event for social entrepreneurs.

5. Stirring street art

Keep an eye out in Southbank for Peter ‘CTO’ Seaton’s eye-catching mural that depicts two masked people in a loving embrace. The self-funded artwork made a splash in the media and resonated with millions of viewers around the world who have been yearning for connection during restrictions.

6. Accessible pet care

The vets, vet nurses and animal welfare officers at Lort Smith have worked tirelessly to support much-loved Melburnian animals and their carers during COVID-19. They have also taken on a huge emergency caseload to help keep pets with their families regardless of financial circumstances.

7. Pioneering science

This Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory developed the first throat swab for COVID-19 and was the first lab in the world to grow the virus – a crucial step towards developing vaccines and treatments. The lab has also played an essential role in the Asia Pacific region’s public health response to the pandemic, and local testing blitzes.

8. First responders

Cherylynn McGurgan travelled with AUSMAT to Wuhan in China, the epicentre of the outbreak, to retrieve hundreds of trapped Australians. After returning home, she set up Melbourne’s first screening clinics at Royal Melbourne Hospital. Even contracting COVID-19 did not stop Cherylynn. As soon as it was safe, she was back on the frontline.

The Melbourne Awards are a great opportunity for community changemakers to be recognised, raise their public profile and create valuable networks to further their goals.

To read more about this year’s finalists, visit Melbourne Awards.

Watch the awards ceremony
To see the winners of the Melbourne Awards announced on television, including the announcement of the Melburnian of the Year, tune in to Channel 9 at 2pm on Saturday 21 November.