2015 Youth Work Awards Recipients

2015 Youth Work Awards

The third annual NSW Youth Work Awards were celebrated at a gala awards ceremony on Tuesday 3 November 2015. Each of the 58 nominations, within 9 categories, shared a story of incredible contributions to the health, safety, and wellbeing of young people in NSW. The nominees in each of the nine categories are listed below, with a profile on each winner.

The 2015 NSW Youth Work Awards were proudly sponsored by the SMC Conference and Function Centre.

(Nominees with winner in bold, highly commended in italics)

Innovation in using Data to Tell Stories

Fusion Youth

Fusion Youth introduced an innovative data collection system across multiple service delivery locations. The team now has access to accurate and immediate information from the field to analyse data and trends from individual programs or the service as a whole.

Best Partnership

Glebe After Dark

Glebe Youth Service has been running ‘Glebe After Dark’ for the past 10 years, with a variety of activities for young people to participate in. Through their 4-way partnership with The Treehouse, Save the Children Australia, and Weave Youth and Community Service, ‘Glebe After Dark’ can expand to meet the growing demand and deliver great outcomes for local young people.







  • 2Realise Productivity Bootcamp
  • BUPA Residential Aged Care Berry
  • Midnight Basketball Mt Druitt
  • RYDON (Regional Youth Development Officers Network)
  • Safer Celebration
  • VIP Program

Outstanding Project or Service Working with CALD Young People

Multicultural Youth Affairs Network

MYAN NSW engages, connects and builds the capacity of the youth and multicultural sectors to effectively meet the needs of young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds. The MYAN NSW Youth Reps program brought together 10 young people to acquire new skills in leadership, public speaking and advocacy.






  • Common Cultures Project
  • Youth for Youth

Outstanding Project or Service Working with Aboriginal Young People

Marrickville Souths Fitness and Breakfast Club

The Marrickville South Fitness and Breakfast Club (MSFBC) is a collaborative project that has successfully removed barriers to participation for young people in Marrickville South, influencing attendance at school, engagement with local services and uptake of healthy living behaviours. The program has also strengthened linkages between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities in Marrickville South.









  • Wings Drop-in Centre
  • Fact Tree Youth Service
  • Getting it Together Services
  • Ungooroo Aboriginal Corporation Indigenous Youth Support

Youth Work Volunteer of the Year

Kellie Coghlan

Kellie has played a crucial role as a volunteer with YWCA NSW, successfully engaging a difficult client group in the ‘Healthy Outcomes, Positive Engagement’ program. Kellie brings enthusiasm and passion to inspire others and is respected as a strong positive role model.


  • Kristy Williams

Youth-led Project of the Year

Interns Australia

Interns Australia is the support and advocacy body for interns in Australia. In 2015, they passed policy through the ALP National Conference and the ACTU Congress to commit to protect intern rights, consulted various unions and major industry bodies, and are now recognised as the peak body for interns in Australia.


  • The Bright Minds Project
  • Care2Change Out of Home Care reference group
  • Cessnock Youth Entertainment Committee
  • Claymore Youth Advisory Committee: Clean up Claymore Project
  • Headspace Youth Advisory Committees
  • iGen Youth Opportunities Project - The Forgotten Lands
  •  “Y, Y Not? Let’s talk about sex”

Youth Service of the Year


BackTrack is an innovative youth program providing an alternative pathway for disadvantaged and marginalised young people. Through its multicomponent intervention model and collaboration with local schools, BackTrack has successfully engaged over 500 young people with 87% of participants now engaged in education or employment.


  • Blacktown Youth Services Association
  • Byron Youth Service
  • Caretakers Cottage Youth Refuge
  • Fairfield City Council – Youth Community Projects
  • Launchpad Youth Community
  • Mountains Youth Services Team
  • Whitelion Inc
  • Youth Solutions 

Youth Worker of the Year

Sue Underwood

Sue is tireless, patient, caring and passionate in her approach to supporting young people in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney. In the past 12 months, Sue encountered 2,600 young people during the night patrol program. She has provided intensive support to 20 young people, has 72 existing clients and has helped around 500 young people who were highly intoxicated either from alcohol or other substances by assisting them home or making sure they were safe.






  • Clarinda Masters
  • Marisa Mya Bouasengphachanh
  • Yvonne Dengate
  • Kylie Fitzmaurice
  • Fran Garcia-Darke
  • Joanne Homsi
  • Peter Hope
  • Shane Kennedy
  • Annette Lawrance
  • Adam McKenzie
  • Angie McMillan
  • Samey Minkara
  • Alex Mobbs
  • Dean Naylor-Clark
  • Amy O’Neill
  • Daniel Saeed
  • Ania Stepien
  • Adam Wiseman

Lifetime Achievement Award

Laurie Matthews

Laurie is a committed caseworker who has been helping disadvantaged young people and their families for over 40 years. Laurie founded Caretakers Cottage in 1972, one of the very first youth refuges in NSW. After two decades of youth work, Laurie developed new programs for young people in Out of Home. Laurie now serves as CEO for Caretakers Cottage and has provided a comprehensive response to youth homelessness in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney.

Andrew Cummings

Andrew has worked in the youth sector for over 20 years in a wide variety of capacities. Throughout his career, Andrew has advanced the cause of young people and youth work, and many of his initiatives and training programs are still currently operating in the UK, Europe and Australia.


  • Latif Jufri
  • Anh Nguyen


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