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Carer-Friendly Business Awards 2017 Winners

Carers Queensland’s Carer-Friendly Business Awards is about recognising and celebrating Queensland employers, employees and businesses that go the extra mile to make life better for some of the 500,000 carers in Queensland.

Last year’s state Carer-Friendly Business Awards winners and the carers who nominated them were recognised at the Carers Week Launch and Gala Lunch event in Brisbane.
Some stories from last year’s winners may provide you with some ideas for your nominations this year.

Great Employee
Naomi Kiehne, Mecure Hotel, Townsville

The Great Employee Award is for employees of a company or service provider that goes the extra mile in helping carers. Last year’s winner was Naomi Kiehne, nominated by June Wilkinson who is a long-term carer for multiple family members. After attending a Carers Queensland retreat funded by Carers Australia at the Mecure Hotel in Townsville, June nominated Naomi Kiehne, a hotel staff member who made all carers feel “welcome, special and valued in the community.” June says, “Naomi went above and beyond; nothing was too much trouble. Naomi makes us realise how valued we carers are and how important carers are to her business and the whole community.”

Great Employer
Target Country, Roma

Working carers need employers who demonstrate an understanding of their situation and support them with alternative work arrangements to help them balance work and their caring role.
2017 winner was nominated by Grant Baker, whose 15 year old son, Cameron has autism. Cameron’s dream was to work at Target. Grant said Target Country’s manager, Jamie Blackman, always made Cameron feel welcome in the local store. Jamie offered Cameron work experience as part of the Year 10 school program and extended this opportunity to ongoing after-school work experience. Grant says this gesture meant the world to Cameron. ”By working, he feels worthwhile and included in the community; something money can’t buy,” he says.

Jamie was surprised to receive the nomination for the Carer-Friendly Business Award, saying that autism should not be a barrier to employment.

Great Service Provider
Hummingbird House, Brisbane

Service Provider category acknowledges registered service providers and not-for-profit organisations that go ‘above and beyond’ in their services for carers. Last year’s winner was Hummingbird House, Queensland’s only children’s hospice. Heidi Holm nominated Hummingbird House. Her daughter Ivy was born with Edwards Syndrome and passed away on the following day.
Hummingbird House invited Heidi and her family to the hospice to say their final goodbyes to Ivy. Heidi described how Hummingbird House staff looked after her children so she could bathe Ivy for the first and last time, took foot and hand prints and organised a special ceremony for Ivy.

Heidi told us, “When your child has just died you really need a shoulder to cry on. You need a lot of love and support and this is exactly what we go from Hummingbird House.”

Great Service
Rainforest Beach Studio

The Great Service Award recognises a business that goes out of its way to improve the lives of carers in some way. Adrienne Penny runs Rainforest Beach Studio at Sunshine Beach and offered the beautiful room to unpaid carers for free, via Carers Queensland. Matthew Gould is one carer who has enjoyed Adrienne’s hospitality and he nominated her for this award. Matthew says, “I felt acknowledged and supported by taking up this offer, and having a few nights at Rainforest Beach Studio was so refreshing and relaxing. It uplifted me immensely. It was a wonderful gift, much appreciated.”