An active women’s mental health volunteer worker and, a young women’s rights and gender equality advocate have respectively been awarded Hills Shire Citizen of the Year and Young Citizen of the Year at the 2022 Australia Day Awards ceremony held on 19 January.
Mercedes Durante was announced Citizen of the Year for her volunteering at The Hills Women’s Shed and in areas supporting mental health.
She is President of the Norwest Rotary Club and works with St John Ambulance on weekends.
Scarlet Bradatsch is passionate about wanting to help women and children impacted by domestic and family violence especially during lockdown.
This newly crowned Young Citizen of the Year worked to fill 150 backpacks with school supplies to be donated to The Sanctuary – The Hills Women’s Shelter. Her Year 6 project on women’s rights and gender inequality has been acknowledged by the Football Federation of Australia.
In addition to this, Shirley Purser secured the Senior Citizen of the Year Award, Chris Jones received the Environmental Citizen of the Year Award and the Lisa Harnum Foundation was awarded Community Group of The Year.
“The people and groups we celebrate come from all parts of our great Hills Shire community and they have served this region and its residents in every possible way,” Mayor of The Hills Shire, Dr Peter Gangemi said when congratulating the winners and thanking the finalists.
“[All nominees] have worked hard despite the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and are dedicated to making this region the best place in the world to live.
“I thank them for their kindness, generosity and their unwavering support to others.”
The special awards ceremony was held at the Pioneer Theatre.
Shirley has dedicated her life to The Hills community with a long list of volunteer achievements including being a charter member of the Zonta Club of Sydney Hills, a founding secretary and current co-chair of Western Sydney International Women’s Day Committee and many other organisations.
Shirley runs a volunteer sewing group making a bra support she designed for breast cancer patients who’ve had a mastectomy.
Chris is passionate about helping others and the environment. He is a member of the Cattai Hills Environment Network and a long-time volunteer at the Environment Centre at Annangrove. At the Centre, he has helped to establish various gardens that educate the public about gardening and the environment.
Lisa Harnum Foundation
The Lisa Harnum Foundation provides a much-needed service for women victims and survivors of domestic and family violence in The Hills Shire. Because of the nature of protecting the women and children accessing their services, the work of the Lisa Harnum Foundation often goes unknown by the community.
The staff of Lisa Harnum Foundation are tireless in their pursuit to support women and families experiencing and fleeing domestic and family abuse and are consistently at the forefront of raising awareness and advocating for change.
Main picture: Those who serve us in everyday life pictured (l-r): Lisa Harnum Foundation Founder and recipient of the Community Group of the Year Award Aileen Mountifield, Citizen of the Year Mercedes Durante, Environmental Citizen of the Year Chris Jones, Young Citizen of the Year Scarlet Bradatsch, Mayor Gangemi, Deputy Mayor Mark Hodges, Councillor Jessica Brazier, Councillor Reena Jethi and Senior Citizen of the Year Shirley Purser.