Congratulating Charlestown Electorate Organisations

Tonight I wish to recognise a number of people and organisations in my electorate of Charlestown. CanTeen is the Australian organisation for young people living with cancer, renowned for its successful annual National Bandanna Day.

Recently I had the privilege of visiting the CanTeen Hunter premises at Kotara in the electorate of Charlestown and was impressed with the level of service and support that it provides for young people who have had their world turned upside down by cancer. I was surprised also to learn about the level of service it provides to young people with close friends and family members diagnosed with this terrible disease.     

Understandably, when people are diagnosed with cancer the focus is almost entirely on them in an attempt to find the right treatment, specialist and facilities. During this time family and friends, the people around those sufferers, can be left struggling with a range of emotions that they experience. Often they are unsure how to deal with those emotions while supporting their families or friends. It is even more difficult for young people who are already struggling with the issues of growing up, let alone having to deal with supporting family members with cancer. I commend CanTeen for all the work that it does in helping young Australians deal with the challenges of living with cancer.     

I recognise also the work of Boyd Conrick. Boyd is a father, a firefighter, a lifesaver, an athlete, a coach and a beach lover. Boyd joined surf lifesaving at a young age. He worked as a professional lifeguard in the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie area for seven years and has been involved in promoting beach safety for more than 20 years. He is an active member of Redhead Surf Lifesaving Club in my electorate. After taking part in numerous surf rescues Boyd saw firsthand how dangerous our beaches, coastlines and waterways can be and he noticed how little engaging literature on beach safety was available for children. This led Boyd to write and create his own children's book entitled At the beach with Lizzie and Luke. The book has been well received and has contributed to Boyd recently being awarded Volunteer of the Year by Redhead Surf Lifesaving Club, and the Rotary Newcastle service award for Outstanding Contribution to Fire and Rescue NSW. I commend Boyd for his proactive approach to educating our children and community in beach safety.     

Some nominees and category winners at the 2017 Lake Macquarie Business Excellence Awards included Charlestown constituents Lauren Haskens, Michael Nolan and Ryan Bennett, who were all Young Business Person of the Year finalists. Lauren Haskens is the owner and director of A Growing Understanding which is a speech pathology centre providing fun and effective speech pathology services to children and their families in the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie areas. Michael Nolan—whom I have had the privilege to commend in this place before—is the owner and director of the Michael Nolan Vocal Studio, which prides itself on the quality of singers that it produces. Ryan Bennett was awarded the Young Business Person of the Year award. Ryan is the co-founder of Zimpleweb, which provides all web services from design to search engine optimisation under one roof.    

I congratulate also Mega Save Chemist, Charlestown on being a finalist in the Excellence in Business Practices and Excellence in Customer Service by a Whole Business awards. Located only a short walk from my office, Mega Save Chemist in Charlestown Square is a locally owned and run pharmacy where staff are renowned for delivering high-quality customer service. Its team was voted not only the best pharmacy in the Hunter 2016 but also the best pharmacy in Australia 2017 at the Small Business Awards. The chemist offers a wide range of free services to the community, including a baby health nurse, packing and deliveries of medication and monthly health clinics.    

Mega Save Chemist, Charlestown was the only chemist to be nominated in the 2017 Business Awards, a reflection of its hard work and dedication to customer service. I commend and congratulate all the finalists and category winners of the Lake Macquarie Business Excellence Awards and I wish them all the best in the future with their growing businesses. I thank them for the services they provide to the people of Charlestown.