A local artist and an exhibition highlighting men’s mental health have been announced as this year’s recipients of Port Lincoln City Council’s Australia Day awards.
The council has named Karen Carr as this year’s Citizen of the Year and Mentally Fit EP will receive the Community Event of the Year for its Rotary Men’s Wellness Campaign.
The winners will be officially presented with their awards at the council’s Australia Day celebrations on the Port Lincoln foreshore on January 26, with official proceedings to begin at 10am.
Ms Carr has been recognised for her passion and commitment to the community through her various community projects across Port Lincoln and wider communities.
In the past year Ms Carr has been involved in the ‘Leafy to Sleepy Connection’ project at Tumby Bay, the ‘Something Fishy’ project on Porter Street in Port Lincoln and the ‘Oggy’ mural at Port Lincoln Junior Primary School.
Ms Carr thanked her family and friends who had supported her ideas, especially those who shared their knowledge and skills.
“I believe public community art has an ability to connect people to each other and their environment helping to install a strong sense of pride and ownership in a community,” she said.
“I have enjoyed encouraging people to get involved who would not necessarily consider themselves to be artists and watched them happily grow in confidence, skills and knowledge.”
Ms Carr said she loved the local environment and looked for a chance to highlight lesser known animals and plants.
The Rotary Men’s Wellness Campaign was awarded for empowering people across the Eyre Peninsula region to take charge of their lives and build mentally fit, connected communities.
The campaign aimed to highlight men’s health, educate men about resources and services available in the region and remove the stigma around talking about mental health issues.
Mentally Fit EP community development manager Lain Montgomerie said it was “fabulous” that the campaign was recognised with the award.
“The other good thing is it keeps this topic in the spotlight as well,” she said.
“It helps to affirm that the work we are trying to do is helping.”
Port Lincoln mayor Brad Flaherty said it was an honour to be a part of Australia Day celebrations and to see the community come together to celebrate the people in it.
“The Citizen of the Year is a quite important (honour) and if you look at Karen Carr...she’s had significant community involvement,” she said.
“The Mentally Fit EP program was a wonderful, well thought out program that involved significant engagement and created awareness of being mentally fit on Eyre Peninsula.
“I think we’ve got some wonderful people doing some wonderful things out there.”
The council has also called for nominations for Young Citizen of the Year however no nominations were received.
Mr Flaherty said the council would embark on a program to approach community organisations, schools, sporting organisations and church groups to encourage nominations.
“We have many young people in our community who have achieved great things over the past year and should be celebrated for their efforts,” he said.