ACT Clubs honoured for 2023

November 15, 2023
Clyde Mooney

Industry VIPs and guests gathered this month to celebrate the ClubsACT 2023 Clubs and Community Awards.

The event reportedly saw the largest attendance to date, as hundreds gathered at Ainslie Football and Social Club, in the heart of the capital.

ClubsACT members are not-for-profit community clubs that exist to give back to the local community.

Craig Shannon took on the role of CEO nearly three years ago, bringing a background and experience in community and not-for-profit sectors.

A couple of years ago the association’s awards were repositioned to focus more on the positive impacts the venues have on the community, and Shannon suggests the renewed focus has “been a success” and reflects society’s evolving needs.

“Each award category tells a story, which highlights an often overlooked feature of our community; the narratives that have always existed, but haven’t always been covered.”

Flying the Emerald Isle flag for Canberrans, the Canberra Irish Club was awarded the Arts & Culture Award. 

Established in 1975, it goes beyond its mandate to cultivate and foster Irish culture and prides itself on being a venue for a broad range of community groups. However, amongst the many cultural events and activities it has supported over the years, highlights have included Irish language and dancing lessons, and of course traditional music and celebrations of Ireland’s national day, St Patrick’s Day, 17 March.

And for the first time in its history, the Canberra Racing Club, led by CEO Darren Pearce, was awarded the prestigious Heart of the Community (Small Club) Award, recognising outstanding efforts by a club that has had a significant positive impact on the community.

The Racing Club also has two individual employees honoured, with Elizabeth Francis awarded Emerging Talent of the Year, and Ken Lewis honoured for Individual Service to Industry.

Full list of ClubsACT Clubs and Community Award winners for 2023

Arts & Culture: Canberra Irish Club

Hospitality Innovation: Vikings Group

Contribution to Sport, Community Development and Wellbeing: Ainslie Group

Celebrating Diversity & Social Inclusion: Eastlake Group

Education, Learning and Development: Vikings Group

Sustainability & Environment: Ainslie Group

Emerging Talent: Thoroughbred Park – Elizabeth Francis and Karin Kaeser – Erindale Vikings

Individual Service to the Industry – Person of the Year: Thoroughbred Park – Ken Lewis

Extra Award for Special Recognition for Service to the Industry: Ian Mackay, Canberra Southern Cross Club

Heart of the Community (Small Club): Thoroughbred Park

Heart of the Community (Large Club): Ainslie Group

L-R: Canberra Racing Club’s CEO Darren Pearce, Ken Lewis, Elizabeth Francis and former chair Ian Mackay, accepting awards


Canberra Irish Club, ClubsACT

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