Honour Awards nod for Broken Hill legal centre
Two important LGBTI initiatives have garnered the Broken Hill-based Far West Community Legal Centre a nomination for an Honour Award. Reg Domingo reports.
“On behalf of a unique and dynamic rural and remote community legal organisation based in Broken Hill, we feel that this is such wonderful recognition. Often organisations in regions like ours don’t get recognised. It feels such an honour. We are all very excited.”
So says Tracey Willow, CEO of the Far West Community Legal Centre (FWCLC), about being nominated for an Honour Award. Thanks to its proactive work in reaching out to the LGBTI community of Broken Hill, the FWCLC is up for the Community Organisation Award.
Broken Hill is located 1,100km west of Sydney in the far west region of New South Wales. It has a strong mining heritage with a population of around 20,000. Apart from its brief appearance in the 1994 film The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, the town does not immediately spring to mind when it comes to its LGBTI culture and community. But FWCLC is changing all that.
Above: Wear it Purple BBQ outside the Far West Community Legal Centre. Top image: GLBTI Drive the Rainbow Tour
Established in 2000, the Far West Community Legal Centre provides accessible legal advice, and services to residents of Far West NSW. As well as Broken Hill, FWCLC also services the communities of Tibooburra, White Cliffs, Wilcannia, Menindee and Ivanhoe.
In the past year, FWCLC has spearheaded two important initiatives, which have been integral in jumpstarting the LGBTI consciousness of the region. These are the GLBTI We Belong Project, and the Far West NSW Festival of Respect Project.
Above: We Belong Project Launch at Pro Hart Gallery – collaborative partners
“The GLBTI We Belong Project is an evolving educational strategy,” Willow tells SX.
“It is an exciting collaboration with multiple partners including Warra Warra Legal Service, Lifeline Broken Hill, NSW Health and the Local Area Command.
“The project aims to work together in creative ways to promote respect and understanding of the GLBTI community in the Far West.”
Funded by grants from the Aurora Group, the project has already rolled out a number of key LGBTI activities.
Above: Some of the Far West Community Legal Centre Team – Pink Breakfast
“We developed six legal fact sheets on important areas of law relevant to the GLBTI community, led community events to encourage community participation, recognised and celebrated IDAHO and Wear It Purple days, held two community movie nights at the Silver City Cinema, and celebrated a launch event at the Pro Hart Gallery.”
Over five months, sixteen community events were held as part of The Festival of Respect, which encouraged the community to come together and share skills and resources in the name of human rights, equality and social justice.
From rallies and forums to breakfasts and picnics, events part of The Festival of Respect shone a light on issues such as stopping sexual violence against women, supporting those living with breast cancer, fostering responsible pet ownership and fighting HIV/AIDS.
Above: Tracey Willow & Teddy – Paws in the Park
“We celebrated our community through a gift of kindness day in our local shopping centre, organised a diversity and bubble float in the annual Christmas parade, and commemorated Human Rights Day, the anniversary of apology to the stolen generations, One Billion Rising, World Social Justice Day and International Women’s Day.
“We also orchestrated a GLBTI specific event – a cavalcade of cars that travelled throughout Broken Hill and promoted GLBTI pride. This was filmed by SBS2’s The Feed.
“It’s extraordinary what can happen when people creatively and passionately work together,” Willow says.
Above: Paws in the Park participant
Willow says that despite these successes, the road ahead is not going to be easy.
Indeed, it’s a tough time for community legal centres with many under threat because of Coalition reforms. But FWCLC are determined to overcome any hurdle in its path. Winning an Honour Award will give them the extra spring in their step.
“We face a bleak future,” Willow says. “Our funding has been decreased. We will fight for our service because our communities in the Far West deserve this. This recognition will energise our amazing team.”
NOMINATE YOUR FAVOURITE LGBTI COMMUNITY ORGANISATION
Nominations are now open for the 2014 Honour Awards, an event that recognises people and organisations whose work and achievements have made a difference to the lives of people in the LGBTI community in NSW. Nominations can be submitted in categories covering the business, health, education, community, legal, political, youth, media, arts and cultural sectors. Nominations close August 27. The awards will be presented at a gala ceremony at The Ivy Ballroom on Wednesday, September 7. Go to the Honour Awards website here.