15 March 2024

Canberra Citizen of the Year for 2024 still in a bit of shock about the award, but ready to do more good

| James Coleman
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Roundabout Canberra CEO Hannah Andrevski founded the not-for-profit in 2018. Photo: James Coleman.

As a long-term Commonwealth public servant, Hannah Andrevski had never run a charity before, but needs must. She had all the pre-loved belongings from her two children and no way of getting them to other local families who would benefit from them.

“I was on maternity leave … and I wanted to pass on my second-hand goods to local children, and there wasn’t any easy way to do it at the time,” she said.

“So while I had some time on my hands … I reached out to a few local women’s refuges to ask if they thought something like this would be helpful.”

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The result, Roundabout Canberra, was born in early 2018 with a mission to provide safe, essential baby and children’s items to families across the ACT and surrounding areas from its headquarters in Holt, west Belconnen.

“Over the past six years, I’ve been very determined to just do whatever we need to do to make sure that we’re supporting the local children that need our help,” she said.

“I’m determined, and I believe in what we’re doing very deeply.”

women sorting clothing

More than 250 volunteers prep the donations for distribution. Photo: James Coleman.

Items donated to Roundabout are cleaned and sorted, and safety checks are performed by around 250 volunteers. The charity then works with more than 500 social workers and support workers from more than 100 organisations in Canberra and the surrounding regions to distribute the items to families in need.

Locations include public hospitals, women’s and domestic violence refuges, migrant and refugee support services and more.

Last year, Roundabout Canberra helped more than 4000 children. In the past three months alone, it has gifted over 3000 items and helped over 750 children. Hannah hopes this year’s effort will help 5000 children.

woman with her family and Andrew Barer

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr with Hannah Andrevski’s family. Photo: James Coleman.

“We saw a real increase in need from COVID through to now, with cost of living pressures that so many families are experiencing,” Hannah said.

“But we know that there are between 8000 and 9000 children living in poverty in the ACT and … that’s not even taking into consideration the children who are living in families who just aren’t able to pay their bills. We know we are not yet meeting the demand.”

The name of the charity is more than just a nod to Canberra’s love of roundabouts – it reflects a mission to reduce waste and a commitment to a circular economy where items are passed from one child to another.

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Hannah was a 2019 Westfield Local Hero and a nominee for the 2020 ACT Local Hero award. She also won the Galent Management Consulting Profound Influence Award at the 2019 Volunteering Awards for the Canberra Region.

“I think I’m still in a bit of shock over receiving this award,” Hannah said.

“It’s just been really amazing to see how Canberra’s rallied behind our organisation, and without that community, we just wouldn’t be able to do what we’re doing.”

The Canberra Citizen of the Year is named around Canberra Day each year to honour those “who are making a significant contribution to the local community” across any category, from business to volunteering.

hands holding a medal in a display box

The award also included a medal. Photo: James Coleman.

The Canberra Times initiated the award in 1977, and when self-government began in 1989, the ACT Government assumed responsibility.

Last year’s recipient was Katrina Fanning, who was recognised for her dedication to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and her contribution to rugby league at a local, national and international level.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said this year’s award recognised Hannah’s “outstanding commitment to families in Canberra and the broader region”.

“Hannah leads this organisation with passion and enthusiasm. As a proud Canberran, she’s playing a vital role in supporting people across our community. Congratulations.”

Visit the Roundabout Canberra website for more information or to donate.

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