Frances Penington Award winners

Last updated: 16 February 2018

The Frances Penington Award celebrates an individual public or community housing tenant, or a group of tenants, who have made an outstanding voluntary contribution to their community.

The award honours the late Frances Penington who, as a Commissioner of the Housing Commission, was the first woman appointed to the board of a statutory authority in Victoria.


Ashburton, Ashwood and Chadstone Public Tenant Group

The Ashburton, Ashwood and Chadstone Public Tenant Group was established in 2005 to represent the needs of local public tenants.

This group of about 40 people meet monthly to discuss issues within the community.

They have advocated strongly for local tenants, organising forums and information sessions.

The group hosts a number of social events, including a popular annual Public and Proud celebration.

The group has used these social events, offering free food and entertainment, to bring the local community together and help people get to know each other.

Their efforts have created a real sense of pride within the Ashburton, Ashwood and Chadstone community.


Marlene McKay

Marlene has been a part of the Park Towers Housing Tenants Association for over 25 years. In that time she has been the group's Secretary and occasional Chair.

She is a long-standing advocate for the interests of the tenants on the Park Towers estate in South Melbourne.

Marlene has developed information in the languages spoken by the local tenants and trained and mentored many tenant volunteers.

She has also led the development and upgrade of the estate's community facility and motivates and organises community events.

In addition to her strong commitment to the tenants of Park Towers, Marlene has helped other tenant associations in the southern suburbs.

Marlene is held in high regard within the South Melbourne community.


Michael Aboujundi

Michael came to Melbourne from Syria as a refugee. Michael, who developed a vision impairment at 12, completed the journey alone and without support.

He is an advocate and spokesperson for tenants on the Northcote housing estate and represents them on the board of the Victorian Public Tenants Association.

For more than 10 years, Michael has helped residents to resolve tenancy issues on the Northcote estate. His ability to speak and translate Arabic has been invaluable in understanding and resolving tenants’ concerns and seeking improvements to public housing.

He organises a range of events and other estate activities for public housing tenants. He is an effective advocate for refugees and builds community awareness and understanding about the issues they face.

Michael is committed to building social inclusion in his community, both through his hands-on leadership and advocacy. He is a highly regarded member of the community.


Derrick Bwihambi

Derrick Bwihambi started life in the Democratic Republic of the Congo before emigrating to Shepparton in 2007. 

Derrick established the Congolese Traditional Dance Group of Shepparton, which promotes the talents of culturally diverse performers and groups currently living in public housing.

He is also involved in a number of other projects; and works to build community awareness of the issues facing former refugees


Alan Sanders

Alan Sanders has been recognised because of his active involvement in the Carlton public housing estate community.

He is a member of the Carlton Redevelopment Communtiy Liaison Committee, the Redevelopment Tenant Network, the Carlton Safety Group and Carlton Neighbourhood Watch.

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