Wonderful recognition for our Cultural Diversity and Relationships manager Kaye Graves who was presented with the Victorian Multicultural Commission #diversityheroes Community Innovation Award at Government House in Melbourne last night.

The award recognised projects that apply innovative solutions for the benefit of a community and which improve understanding of a culture with a wider audience.

A series of understanding islam information sessions in Bendigo was judged the best nomination for the award.

The judge's note read:

"Kaye Graves, who manages the cultural diversity team at Bendigo Community Health Services, was integral in combating the anti-islam sentiment that erupted in response to a 2015 proposal to build a mosque in the regional city in partnership with a group called Believe in Bendigo.

"BCHS held six 'understanding islam' sessions throughout 2016 and 2017. As well as fostering greater intercultural understanding among everyday community members, the sessions provided health workers and other service providers with useful insights which have improved the way they support Muslim families.

"The success of the original sessions led Kaye and BCHS to co-ordinate a session targeted at local hairdressers, acknowledging the central role they play in conversations in the community. The hairdressers involved reported that the session was extremely beneficial in building their understanding of diverse cultures."

Kaye attended Government House with CEO Kim Sykes, Settlement Services case worker Zahir Azimi and former BCHS staff member and Bendigo Islamic Association representative Conchita Ollivier.