The Youth Council Program by the Illawarra Centre for Enablement (ICfE) was awarded Highly Commended in the 2022 Youth Action Awards by Youth Action NSW in the category Outstanding Work with Regional Young People.  The Award Ceremony, held on 17 November 2022 at the Australian Theatre for Young People (ATYP) in Dawes Point, Sydney, was opened by The Hon. Natasha MacLaren-Jones, Minister for Families and Communities, and Minister for Disability Services and was hosted by Kate Munro, CEO of Youth Action NSW and a panel of youth leaders.

The Youth Council members, Tristan James, Ben Johns, Amar Sultan, Alvin Chung, Ben Healey, Cellina Zayya, Julia Messore and Ishan Datar are to be congratulated for their steadfast commitment to assist youth in the Illawarra since the Youth Council was founded in 2021. Their Illawarra Youth Survey engaged over a hundred youth through an online survey to highlight the challenges youth were facing during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2021. The Report was endorsed by more than 60 Illawarra organisations, leaders and MPs. Finding that youth were wanting opportunities to connect, they organised and facilitated a Grill and Chill event in October 2022 after liaising with a number of Wollongong based organisations to support them with this, including local charity, Makuta that supported this event.

Dr Diann Rodgers-Healey, founder and principal of the Illawarra Centre for Enablement and who has been working with the Youth Council to develop their leadership capacity said, “It is wonderful to see the Youth Council recognised by a peak body representing young people and the services that support them in NSW. Being recognised this way in the company of some noteworthy organisations and their incredible programs for youth in NSW, is a huge achievement.  As what we do is an entirely voluntary commitment, I am so proud of my young people’s commitment to assist youth in the Illawarra.  The Council members have each come a long way in their personal leadership and as a team, and are looking forward to regrouping on a new agenda for 2023!”

Each category was awarded Winner and Highly Commended.

The Life Read Program by Coast Shelter was also awarded Highly Commended in this category. This Program works with young people aged 17-24 years to help them obtain private rental accommodation. We then provide up to 3 years case management while the young people receive a Rent Choice Youth (RCY) rental subsidy from DCJ. More info:

The Winner in the Outstanding Work with Regional Young People category was Tocal College in the Hunter Valley. It provides a unique blend of agricultural training and practical experience for school leavers who may be interested in careers in agriculture. The College was originally set up in the 1960s as an Agriculture Education setting for “wayward boys”.

The other shortlisted nominees in the Outstanding Work with Regional Young People category are:

SHS/HYAP, YPSpace Kempsey & Port Macquarie

YPSpace supports Young People aged 12-25 who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, across Dunghutti Country in Kempsey and Birpai Country in Port Macquarie. More info:

Violence Prevention Education, KYUP!

KYUP! Project is a youth-serving nonprofit organization with over 15 years’ of experience delivering gender-specific, out-of-school programming to girls in NSW. More info:

Becoming U, Uniting NSW/ACT

Becoming U empowers our young people aged 8-18 to unleash their potential and use it to thrive. We work side-by-side with youth in the Nambucca Valley and those important to them, designing together innovative and sustainable projects that create connection, well-being, and life-changing opportunities. More info:

The annual NSW Youth Work Awards were founded by Youth Action NSW in 2013 to create an annual celebration of the exceptional work of youth services and youth workers across NSW. 

Awards were also given for the following categories: Outstanding Work with Young People from Diverse Cultures, Backgrounds, and Experiences, Outstanding Work with First Nations Young People, Outstanding Use of Data & Evaluation, Outstanding Partnership, Outstanding Youth Participation, NSW Youth Service of the Year, NSW Youth Worker of the Year, NSW Youth Sector Volunteer of the Year, NSW Emerging Youth Worker of the Year, NSW Youth Work Hall of Fame.

More information about the shortlisted nominees is at

The Youth Council was represented by Council Members (L-R) Ben Healey, Ben Johns, Tristan James & Alvin Chung.
Youth Action NSW CEO Kate Munro (centre) with Alvin Chung, Ben Healey, Ben Johns, Lani Nethercott and Diann Rodgers-Healey