Call for Nominations for Ian J. Cooper Awards for Access and Inclusion

BELLINGEN Shire Council invites individuals, groups, and businesses to nominate for an Ian J. Cooper Award for Access and Inclusion.

Held every two years, these awards are made to local services, groups, and businesses in acknowledgement of their efforts to improve access to their service and/or premises or groups who are inclusive of people with different abilities.

The Ian J. Cooper Awards are named after the late Ian ‘Mini’ Cooper who advocated for access and awareness of disabilities both locally and beyond.

Ian was born at the Bellingen District Hospital in 1954 and attended Bellingen High.

His mum Margaret Cooper still lives in Bellingen and is proud that her son’s legacy lives on.

He was well known for his actions in lodging complaints to Coffs Council against the Coffs City Cinema as well as the Attorney General’s Department over lack of access to the Coffs Harbour Court House.

He worked tirelessly to advocate for social inclusion and access to services that many of us take for granted.

For many, disability is part of what it means to be human.

Nearly 4.5 million people (approximately one in six people) in Australia live with some form of physical or non-physical disability, visible or invisible.

The Ian J. Cooper Awards are about acknowledging the great work that is being done in our community to make it a more inclusive place to live, work and play.

They celebrate our community’s efforts to champion Ian’s legacy of supporting people with different abilities and recognise that there are many ways to make a difference.

Previous winners have included Riverside Holiday Park, Dance for Life, Urunga Library, Community Transport, YMCA, North Beach Holiday Park, Bellingen Public and High School, Lifehouse Pantry, It Takes a Village, Urunga Neighbourhood Centre, Marg Hopper, Raleigh Hall, and the Accept Difference Campaign.

Nomination forms can be completed and submitted by any member of the Bellingen Shire community on behalf of a group, business or service or an organisation can self-nominate.

Winners of the awards will be announced at a celebration to be held in December to coincide with International Day of People with Disability.

Information will be provided closer to the time.

Forms are available now from Bellingen, Urunga and Dorrigo libraries, Bellingen Shire Council Administration Centre and on the Bellingen Shire Council website at

Completed nomination forms can be returned to the same place or emailed to

Nomination forms must be submitted by Friday 4 November 2022.

Further information can be obtained from Councils Community Wellbeing Planning Officer, on 6655 7300 or by emailing

Leave a Reply