THE leader of a program which empowers young people to develop confidence and life skills has won the 2016 City of Clarence Citizen of the Year.
Anthony “Ant” Edler, of Risdon Vale, is the coordinator of the Risdon Vale Bike Collective.
Managed by Third Place Communities, the program works with disadvantaged and at-risk youth to increase work readiness and recreational opportunities through the restoration of bicycles.
In the six years the program has been running, more than 600 bikes have been donated locally and through the successful “Sponsor a Bike to Africa” project.
Under Mr Edler’s leadership, and with the support and guidance of mentors and community volunteers, the Risdon Vale Bike Collective now includes community workshops, the Earn-A-Bike program and a second-hand bike business providing affordable bikes to the community.
The program also gives young people the opportunity to design, build and maintain local
bike parks and trails in Risdon Vale.
Mr Edler said the award recognition would enable him to build on the project’s success.
“Hopefully, the more people who hear about the Risdon Vale Bike Collective means the more support we can get and therefore, use to further strengthen [it],” he said.
“It is never just the work of one person that makes these things happen, so this award really recognises the hard work and sacrifices everyone has made.”
Clarence Mayor Doug Chipman said Mr Edler was a deserving winner who had contributed greatly to the local community.
“Ant has been the driving force of the Risdon Vale Collective and its success,” he said.
“He has given young people in need of support the confidence, encouragement and life skills, as well as the satisfaction of giving to others in need.
“There has been a marked improvement in kids re-engaging with school. They can definitely see the benefits of their hard work, especially when bikes are given away or sent to Africa.
“This program has brought the community together and the support for it is huge. Ant has played a big role in that.”
The Risdon Vale Bike Collective is currently looking at funding for the next five years to allow it to focus on building healthy attitudes and strong characters among young people in Risdon Vale.
Other recipients of the 2016 City of Clarence Australia Day Awards are:
Wendy Andrew, of Howrah – Senior Citizen of the Year
Ms Andrew has been caring for the environment and encouraging the appreciation of it and the history of the Clarence Plains Area since she moved to the region in 1991 seeking “a quiet life”.
She has been a driving force of two longstanding community organisations – the Tranmere-Clarence Plains Land and Coastcare Inc., and the Clarence Plains Historical Society for 20 and 15 years respectively.
Ms Andrew was instrumental in the development of the Old Rokeby Historic Trail, the restoration of the heritage fence and Knopwoods Tomb at St Matthew’s Church in Rokeby.
She was also the driving force behind Council developing a catchment management plan for the Clarence Plains Rivulet, which helps residents connect with their heritage and take pride in the history of their area.
Campbell Remess, of Acton Park – Young Citizen of the Year
Eleven-year-old Campbell Remess has shown that age is no barrier to helping others less fortunate.
Campbell began “Project 365” which set him a target of making 365 bears a year and giving them away to sick children in hospital and others in need.
Using his own pocket money and in his spare time, Campbell has made in excess of 400 bears for sick children, giving them comfort and hope.
Campbell also makes special bears for auctions and fundraisers. He has sent a bear to the Lindt café in Sydney after the siege in 2014 and to people affected by the recent terrorist attacks in France, including Tasmanian Emma Parkinson.
Clarence Eating with Friends – Community Event of the Year
Clarence Eating with Friends is run by the Clarence Community Volunteer Service.
Clarence Eating with Friends is part of a statewide program that grew out of a concern that many older people in our community were eating alone.
The program reduces social isolation by bringing people together to share a nutritious, low-cost meal and make new friends.
Running for more than 11 years, Clarence Eating With Friends has become very popular. Every six weeks, approximately 60 people attend this lunch at the Motor Yacht Club in Lindisfarne. The program has become essential to improving health and wellbeing and building community capacity.
The 2016 City of Clarence Australia Day Awards were presented by Mayor Chipman and Australia Day Ambassador Sally Wise at the Bellerive Boardwalk.