Cast your vote on award nomination

Published on Wednesday, 15 March 2023 at 10:19:17 AM

A unique Shire of Dardanup project to build community participation, connection, accessibility and inclusivity is in the running for a national award.

The National Awards for Local Government (NALG) are an annual celebration of local government achievements in Australia.

The awards highlight initiatives implemented by local governments that are innovative, make a difference to their local communities, display excellence, and have outcomes that are replicable across the country.

Winners for each award category are selected via a voting system open to the public and voting is now open.

The Southern Ports Festive Auslan Choir has been nominated in the Creativity & Culture Award Category.

You can cast a vote for the project by visiting the awards website. There is no need to create an account to vote.

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The community Christmas choir was convened by the Shire of Dardanup and sang and presented carols in sign language as part of a December 2022 festively-themed outdoor movie night event held in Burekup.

With funding support from Southern Ports, the Festive Auslan Choir project was created and implemented by the Shire’s Place and Community Events Team.

In preparation for the performance, 24 community members aged between 8 and 70 years attended an 8-week AUSLAN course facilitated by Kelly Hope from CODA (Child of Deaf Adult) Services.

Participants learned the signing of basic words, fingerspelling and six Christmas songs.

The Auslan Choir joined with Vocal Fusion Youth Choir for their 6.30pm performance at the Movies by Moonlight event in Burekup - part of the Shire of Dardanup’s Fuel to Go & Play Summer in Your Park Series held between December, 2022 and February 2023 and attended by almost 420 patrons.

Southern Ports Regional Manager Lee Smith said the organisation was proud to partner with the Shire of Dardanup and Hope CODA Services to deliver the initiative which enriched the community through important and positive social outcomes.

Following on from the success of the Choir, Kelly Hope was further engaged by the Shire to provide a signing service at three more outdoor music events held in early 2023 – also part of the Summer in Your Park Series.

The full 8-week program plus performance included involvement of four people with disabilities and celebrated their active participation.

Wide ranging positive local media coverage, including digital, print and radio, provided excellent positive exposure for Auslan as a universal language to the wider community and attendees at all of the summer events.

Participant Lauren Jones said: “My mum, my daughter Harlow, and myself had a great time. It was a lovely bonding experience for us. As you know, we already use Auslan in our family with my grandparents who are deaf, but to incorporate this in such a family friendly, fun and festive way was very special for us and created treasured memories.”

Voting closes on 14 April 2023.

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