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Thursday, 21 June 2007
Page: 125

Ms BURKE (9:36 AM) —Today I want to put on the record my appreciation and thanks to, and complete admiration for, one of my local heroes, Eileen Mosden. Eileen is the Coordinator of the Amaroo Neighbourhood House. Eileen has spent 20 dedicated years at this wonderful centre, and it was recently recognised in the Keep Australia Beautiful Victoria Sustainable Cities Awards. She was awarded the Dame Phyllis Frost Award. This was indeed a high honour. Dame Phyllis Frost was patron and founder of the Keep Australia Beautiful organisation. This award recognises individual or group achievement in keeping sustainability alive and encouraging it within communities.

Eileen is the first individual to ever receive this award. It is truly an amazing effort. Eileen does not like her accolades to be recognised. She is one of those passionate people who do so much for our communities and we need to sing her praises loud and clear and to cite her as a role model for so many other people.

Amaroo Neighbourhood House started out, like so many neighbourhood houses, as a tiny little organisation with not a lot going for it: a couple of meals a week, a few little craft courses. Now it is thriving centre that runs almost 24/7 and people can come to it and feel part of a community and feel connected. We now have a sustainable gardening program and a sustainable eating program. We have one of the busiest op shops going. People are fed out of the centre most days of the week. There are courses, there are domestic violence programs and there is even a minishelter for women in need. There are English language classes. It is a phenomenal organisation and Eileen is at the heart of all this. She does have a terrific committee of management around her who do great work. While she always recognises them, everyone agrees Eileen is the heart and soul of the place.

The Amaroo Neighbourhood Centre was also recognised in the Keep Australia Beautiful Victoria Sustainable Cities Awards, in the community pride awards—recognising the centre’s achievements since 1984 in the development of a community amenity and in improving the quality of life of locals and their access to public facilities and open space. This is truly an amazing little organisation, and I really am so proud that it was recognised like this.

I had the great honour of seeing Eileen and the wonderful people from the Amaroo centre on the night that they were to win the awards, because I was opening there the local art show, another great institution. They were all a bit antsy because they had to get into town, as they had been told they must go to these awards. They said, ‘No, the annual art show is on,’ but I insisted that they get a cab. They had been standing around, all quite bereft as to why they were being made to go to this thing when they were not going to win—and of course they did. It was a terrific effort. Again, the art show was an amazing success. Substantial artists present their works, they are recognised and rewarded and the funds from the sales of the artworks go to this little neighbourhood house that just does so much for our community—and I cannot speak more highly of it.