Last updated: 04 Dec, 2019

Twelve Victorian organisations have taken out the top gong for their outstanding efforts to improve the health of communities right across Victoria at the 2019 VicHealth Awards.

Download media release 

The VicHealth Awards have been celebrating outstanding achievements in health promotion for more than 20 years, with this year’s Awards seeing a record number of nominees.


Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos said the VicHealth Awards acknowledge the programs, campaigns and organisations, that make a real difference to the lives of Victorians.


“Congratulations to the finalists and the well deserving winners at tonight’s awards. It’s inspiring to see so much innovation from our world-class health promotion sector, which is helping more Victorians to get fit and live healthier, happier lives.”


Winning projects include:

  • a program to increase food health literacy to help reduce obesity and provide local job opportunities
  • coordinated local activities to increase the physical activity levels and social connectedness of young people in regional Victoria
  • and a volunteer-led program which repairs donated bikes for children and families in need.

VicHealth CEO Dr Sandro Demaio said the VicHealth Awards recognise the incredible impact these organisations have on the health and wellbeing of Victorians.


“Every nomination represented this year – finalists and winners – should be so proud of the positive change they’re making in their communities,” Dr Demaio said.


“The twelve winning nominations, in particular, are standout projects that show the powerful impact health promotion can have on people’s lives.”


“We’re proud to be able to highlight this amazing work via the VicHealth Awards, and celebrate the people making a positive difference, so Victorians regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, sexuality or postcode can live healthy, happy lives.”


The VicHealth Awards are the state’s highest accolade for health promotion, recognising the efforts of local grassroots projects, state-wide campaigns and everything in between.


Read about all about the winners and finalists in the VicHealth Awards in an online Finalist Gallery.


2019 VicHealth Award winners:

Promoting healthy eating

Cardinia Food Circles - Cardinia Shire Council together with Sustain: The Australian Food Network, Monash Health, Monash University, Koo Wee Rup Regional Health, Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation, Cardinia Food Movement, Port Phillip and Westernport Catchment Management Authority, Casey Cardinia Libraries, Southern Migrant Resource Centre, The Community Grocer, United Africa Farm

Cardinia Food Circles is a 10-year program that’s changing the food systems across the Cardinia Shire for the better. A wide range of partners are working together to increase fruit and vegetable consumption and food health literacy, reduce obesity, and increase local food and farming employment opportunities.

Learn more


Encouraging physical activity

Bikes for Kids That Need Them - Dr Cranky's
Dr Cranky's is a volunteer-based program that’s currently working in 12 school communities. The program repairs and donates bicycles, locks and helmets to disadvantaged primary school children to get more kids and their families riding to school and being more physically active.

This quote from one participant sums it up nicely - "That one bike you started us with has had a big impact - it’s taken us from a bunch of car-addicted sloths to a bike loving, fitter family. Thank you!"

Learn More

Preventing tobacco use

Supporting the LGBTIQ Community to Become Smokefree - Quit Victoria together with Melbourne Queer Film Festival and Thorne Harbour Health
The goal of this program is to improve the mental and physical (and financial) health of the Victorian LGBTIQ+ community by reducing the prevalence of smoking in the community.

Activities included partnering with the Melbourne Queer Film Festival on the Keep The Vibe Alive competition, sponsoring the SmokeFree Minus18 Queer Ideas Festival and the SmokeFree Space at Midsumma Carnival Day and ChillOut Festival, and ensuring Quitline provides a safe and supportive service to the LGBTIQ+ community

Learn more

Preventing harm from alcohol

Who's it Gonna Hurt? - Wodonga Council together with Dutch Media, Deakin University

This project improved the drinking culture amongst males working in the manufacturing industry aged 35 to 55 years in Wodonga by creating physical and social places that made it easier for the men to support their peers to engage in low-risk drinking.
Learn more

Improving mental wellbeing

headspace Work and Study Service – headspace

headspace’s Work and Study Service is an online service that provides employment, education and clinical mental health support for young people aged 15-25 who are experiencing mental health challenges and facing barriers with work and study. The service supports young people to develop skills, capacity and confidence to reach their work and study goals.
Learn more


Improving the health and wellbeing of young Victorians

Latrobe Streetgames – GippSport together with Latrobe Health Assembly
This pilot program of coordinated local activities designed to increase the physical activity levels and social connectedness of young people aged 12-25 in Latrobe City. Throughout the pilot, the Latrobe Streetgames delivered over 300 programs and events including Street Soccer with CMY, Table Tennis with Latrobe Youth Space, and All Access Days with Latrobe Leisure & Latrobe City Council. Key to the success of the program has been the ‘Streetgames Crew’ – a group of 30 young people who act as a steering committee providing advice and input into the planning & design of Latrobe Streetgames
Learn more


Improving health through arts

Big hART - Project O Frankston - Big hART together with Mahogany Rise Primary School, Monterey Secondary College, Victorian Government - Creative Victoria and Office for Women, The Angior Foundation & Perpetual Trustees, The Matana Foundation

Project O Frankston is designed to tackle the urgent issue of family violence. It harnesses the optimism and creative power of cultural expression to support girls and young women to tap into their potential, challenge gender stereotypes and cultural norms, and foster leadership and self-advocacy.
Learn more

Improving health equity

Aboriginal Breast Screening Shawl - BreastScreen Victoria together with Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO), Victorian Aboriginal Health Service (VAHS), Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Deakin University

This Aboriginal community-led initiative addresses the barriers preventing Aboriginal women participating in breast screening by creating a culturally safe service. The shawls, designed by Aboriginal women, were made for Aboriginal women in the trial to wear during their breast screen. They are a culturally safe alternative to being naked from the waist up or asking for a standard screening gown. The shawls aim to improve Aboriginal women’s experience with breast screening. 100% of the women who participated strongly agreed the shawl increased their feeling of cultural safety, of comfort, and that it was easy to use.

Learn more


Promoting gender equality

Let’s Talk Money – Women’s Health in the North

‘Let’s Talk Money’ is a financial literacy program aiming to boost the money management skills of migrant and refugee women living in the Northern Metropolitan Region of Melbourne. In particular the program promotes women’s financial independence and decision-making. Recognising that newly arrived refugee and migrant women face barriers including lack of financial information in their first language, cultural attitudes impeding their access to financial institutions, and social isolation, ‘Let’s Talk Money’ is a unique financial education model that uses a bilingual peer educator approach.

Learn more

Research into action
Exploring Men's Risky Drinking Cultures - Monash University together with Turning Point
This research looked at the factors that influence men’s risky drinking practices in five social worlds across metropolitan, regional and rural Victoria. This innovative research used a social media scroll-back method which involved participants scrolling back to photos and posts on social media that they had uploaded or in which they were tagged so they could reflect on the importance and the meanings of specific drinking ‘events’ recorded on social media.
Learn more


Communications in health promotion

Doing Nothing Does Harm - Our Watch
This campaign targeted men and women aged 25-35 to take action against sexism and disrespect towards women. The campaign used a series of short, interactive videos that recreated everyday situations and challenged the viewer to click "do something" when they saw sexism and disrespect towards women.
Learn more


Outstanding reporting of women’s sport

Kate O’Halloran - Kick Like A Girl: Increasing Visibility and Equity for Women in Sport
Kate has used her many years as an experienced journalist to lobby for equal coverage and quality of coverage of women’s sport matches, particularly in Australian Rules. Most recently Kate lobbied for the ABC to commission a weekly column dedicated to covering AFLW matched and a radio program on RRR that focuses on the issues affecting AFLW players and the community including the AFL’s policy on trans and gender diverse inclusion.
Learn more


Media Contact:

Imogen Baratta,  VicHealth Acting Senior Media Advisor on 03 9667 1319, 0435 761 732 or  [email protected]