Last updated: 09 Dec, 2021

Outstanding commitment to health and wellbeing celebrated as 2021 Victorian Health Promotion Awards finalists unveiled 


41 incredible organisations and individuals committed to improving the health and wellbeing of their communities have been unveiled today as finalists in the 2021 Victorian Health Promotion Awards.

Victorian Minister for Health Martin Foley said the awards acknowledge extraordinary people, groups and projects that have made a vital difference to communities across Victoria in the past 2 years.

“The 2021 Victorian Health Promotion Awards recognise some of our state’s remarkable people and organisations. The 41 finalists unveiled today have gone above and beyond to support their community’s health and wellbeing during what has been an incredibly challenging time,” Minister Foley said.

This year’s awards recognise a wide range of initiatives,many of which have supported communities to reconnect and rebuild following the impacts of the global pandemic and the 2020 bushfires.

VicHealth CEO Dr Sandro Demaio said more than 150 outstanding organisations and individuals were nominated for awards this year.

These awards are a chance to recognise and celebrate the inspiring individuals and dedicated organisations working tirelessly to make our communities happier and healthier,” Dr Demaio said

The 41 finalists include a vast range of people and projectsincluding those working to empower young people, deliver healthy food to communities doing it tough,and support people to take care of their mental wellbeing or get active.

2021 Victorian Health Promotion Awards finalists by category

Outstanding Health Promotion View more

5 Ways to Wellbeing Greater Bendigo 

5 Ways to Wellbeing works with key community leaders to deliver mental health promotion and illness prevention in a range of places including schools, early learning centres, community organisations and workplaces. 


Cancer Council Victoria's Achievement Program 

The Achievement Program works with Victorian early childhood services, schools and workplaces to create healthier places to work, learn and play. 


Smoke-free Melbourne Policy 

The Smoke-free Melbourne Policy aims to create more smoke-free areas in the central city, reduce and de-normalise smoking, as well as supporting people to quit. 


GMHBA Geelong Cats Healthy Heroes 

GMHBA Geelong Cats Healthy Heroes empowers Year 5 and 6 students in Geelong to improve their health and wellbeing across a range of areas including physical activity, healthy eating, and mental health and wellbeing. 


Active Maribyrnong "Get Active! at Home Series” 

Get Active! at Home Series was an online program that aimed to keep people in Maribyrnong active throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. 


Smiling Mind Principal Mental Health & Wellbeing Program 

The School Principal Mental Health and Wellbeing Program is a whole-of-school approach that develops the skills and strategies for self-care as well as creating a safe workplace for principals and educators. 

Driving Health Equity View more

We Love Stories 

We Love Stories aims to support children under 5 years old from culturally diverse and low-income families in West Heidelberg, so that every child is ready to read and succeed at school. 


Cultivating Community: Food Relief 

Cultivating Community works with Melbourne’s public housing communities to provide support and access to healthy, affordable and culturally appropriate food. 


I CAN Network's Online Group Mentoring Program 

The National Online Group Mentoring Program offers safe, fun and validating spaces that are accessible to Autistic young people aged 8-22 years old. 


Wadamba Wilam 

Wadamba Wilam supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experiencing homelessness and who have historically fallen through the gaps in the health system to improve their health and wellbeing. 


Zoe Support Australia 

Zoe Support Australia works to re-engage young mothers facing disadvantage aged 13-25 years old in Mildura in social programs, education and employment, especially during periods of restrictions and isolation in Victoria. 

Building back better View more

Wellbeing Scripts System Building 

The Wellbeing Scripts System Building program empowered general practitioners and Neighbourhood Houses in the Central Highlands region to co-design social connection activities for people during the pandemic. 


Cooking, recovery and connections 

Cooking, Recovery and Connections was a community-driven response to support connection and wellbeing for public housing residents living in North Melbourne and Flemington during the pandemic. 


Flemington Mission – Caring for our Community 

Throughout the pandemic, The Flemington Mission operated every week to care for their community to provide free healthy food and social support for people facing greater barriers to experiencing health and wellbeing. 



In the small rural town of Mirboo North, BooFIIT was a fitness and wellbeing community that enabled social connection, physical activity and wellness to the participants in group classes during the pandemic. 


North Richmond Community Health – High Risk Accommodation Response 

The North Richmond High Risk Accommodation Response empowered residents in the local high rise public housing estates to develop their employment and leadership skills as well as build trust, positivity and collaboration. 

Future Healthy Award View more

Art Attack, Clunes 

Through circus and physical theatre, Art Attack was co-designed with and for young people in the rural town of Clunes to address mental wellbeing and social cohesion. 


Open Streets 

Bicycle Network's Ride2School program partnered with Moreland City Council to bring the Open Streets initiative to Brunswick East Primary School, which saw kids riding, walking, scooting and skating to school with no congestion and car traffic. 


STOKED – Youth Surf Therapy Program 

STOKED is a youth surf therapy program providing young people from Warrnambool, Moyne and Glenelg with an opportunity for social connection and active recreation. 


Kids Thrive 

Through a range of programs, Kids Thrive empowers children to create a healthy now for a healthy future, for themselves and their communities. 


Healthy Eating, Active Living Matters (HEALing Matters) Program 

The Healthy Eating, Active Living Matters (HEALing Matters) Program aims to improve the eating, and physical activity habits, wellbeing and life skills of young people aged 12-18 years old living in out-of-home care. 

Community Legend View more

Gina Poulos

 Gina Poulos is the founder and chairperson of Theodora House, an independent charity that provides emergency food relief to local communities enduring financial hardship. 


Joanne Watkins 

For almost 9 years, Joanne Watkins has been event director for Albert Melbourne parkrun. During the pandemic she hosted over 50 weekly cooking shows via Facebook which maintained social connection amongst one of Australia's largest parkrun groups. 


Josh Collings – Upper Murray community legend 

Josh Collings founded the Acres & Acres Cooperative – a market garden initiative that aims to empower and build the capacity of people In the Upper Murray region to grow, sell and supply fresh produce for its own community. 


Phillip Island Community and Learning Centre Inc. 

During the pandemic, the Phillip Island Community and Learning Centre assisted almost 10,000 people impacted by hardship, loneliness and social isolation during COVID-19 restrictions. 


Port Welcomers Program 

The Port Welcomers are a group of older volunteers who usually greet passengers arriving on cruise ships in Port Philip and Port Melbourne. During the pandemic they provided support to local community members who experienced isolation. 

Leading Health Promotion Research View more

Australia’s Food Environment Dashboard

Australia’s Food Environment Dashboard aims to provide an overview of the healthiness of Australia’s food environments and highlight priority areas for policy action.


FitSkills Partnership Project

This research aims to discover how the FitSkills physical activity program fosters positive attitudes for young people with disability.


Supporting LGBTIQ+ inclusion in community sport

This research contributes to understanding how LGBTIQ+ inclusion initiatives could be supported in community sport.


ENJOY active ageing in the community

The ENJOY project evaluates how older people’s use of community-based outdoor exercise equipment has affected their physical, social and mental health outcomes.



The SWIPE-app is an intervention to reduce alcohol craving and consumption among Australians experiencing harm from alcohol during COVID-19. 

Outstanding Media Reporting View more

Coping With Covid 

At the start of the pandemic, Emily Rice created Coping with COVID for 9News Melbourne. It was a week-long series of positive and practical stories to help people across Victoria to maintain their health, amid a frightening global health emergency. 


Life and Other Catastrophes 

Life and Other Catastrophes spans aspects of health and wellbeing, looking at mental and physical health, relationships, habits as well as social pressures. It acts as a resource, a comfort and an outlet for listeners as they are encouraged to call in to share their experiences. 


The Conversation Hour 

The Conversation Hour explores the issues that affect people across Victoria. It offers engaging discussions and inspiring stories that connect communities across the state. Topics have included women and girls wearing uniforms in sport, 'school refusers' looking for solutions within school system, and banning alcohol advertising during sporting events. 


Tamara McDonald 

Tamara McDonald’s reporting for the Geelong Advertiser promotes seeking help, reducing stigma and remaining active. Her stories feature both case studies of human experience and expert commentary, resulting in evidence-based reporting that readers can relate to. 

Excellence in Health Promotion Marketing View more

Covid Campaign: You Haven't Been Drinking Alone 

This campaign is a tongue-in-cheek video showing kids on a Zoom call, mimicking their parents’ harmful alcohol consumption. The tone is playful. But the message is serious. 


You are Not Alone Campaign 

This campaign provided information about how to seek help or support for someone experiencing abuse. It featured voices of women with lived experiences, enabling others to draw strength and hope. 


Food From Home: Promoting Edible Gardening in Melbourne's South East 

This campaign promotes the health and climate co-benefits of edible gardening in Melbourne's South East. It aims to help people overcome barriers to growing food at home to support more people eating home-grown produce. 


Feed Happiness 

This social media campaign improved awareness of how healthy eating and positive mental health contributes to better health outcomes for young people and families in Melbourne’s southern metropolitan region. 


Feeling It! (Sep-Nov 2020) 

This social media campaign supported young people to remain positive and engaged in education through an extremely disrupted school year due to the pandemic. It provided students with mental health promotion strategies, tools and resources to support good study habits, self-care and resilience. 


Drama Downunder Seasons Campaign 

This campaign aimed to prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases and promoted regular sexual health testing, treatment and behaviour change among the LGBTIQ+ community.