Sector kicks up heels
THEIR outfits may be whimsical, but the work that community workers do is anything but lightweight.
To celebrate a year's hard work, community workers from the Clarence Valley to Tweed Heads will gather on November 10 for the Community Sector Ball Awards, being held at the Byron Community Centre.
The theme this year is a Midsummer Night's Dream, giving workers all the reason they need to forget the demands of work and indulge in a little fun and frivolity.
"It's the one night of the year when people get to wear fancy dress and come together," said Liina Flynn, communications officer for the Northern Rivers Social Development Council.
Lismore Mayor, Jenny Dowell, a judge of last year's inaugural award night, said workers in the community sector tend to be modest and to not big note their achievements.
"Most other sectors, like business, have awards that recognise excellence, but community sector workers often hide their light under a bushel - their emphasis tends to be more on those they serve," Cr Dowell said.
"There's a collegial atmosphere among community service workers because they understand the human side of life and frailty. The awards are a chance for them to be recognised by their peers, to let their hair down and have fun."
Julie Leete, manager of Interrelate Family Centre in Lismore, one of the sponsors of the awards, said the night is an important acknowledgment of a group of workers who are often poorly paid.
"They're often very qualified but don't get the recognition - particularly financial - that other sectors do," Ms Leete said.
To nominate a worker for one of the awards, go to the NRSDC's website before Friday this week.
Ms Flynn called for more nominees for the Private Sector Partner award that acknowledges the contribution businesses make to community services by donating time or resources.