Press Release

Hello Sunday Morning awarded $300,000 in Macquarie’s 2015 Social Innovation Award

Sydney, 31 August 2015

A charity set up in 2010 to change Australians’ relationship with alcohol has won Macquarie’s 2015 Australian Social Innovation Award.

Macquarie Group’s philanthropic arm, the Macquarie Group Foundation, today announced that the 2015 Social Innovation Award judges had chosen Hello Sunday Morning (HSM) for its proposal to help binge drinkers overcome risky drinking habits.

Macquarie’s Social Innovation Award is presented biennially to an Australian not-for-profit organisation to recognise, promote and reward new ideas that meet pressing community needs, alleviate disadvantage and promote social inclusion.

The judges said the HSM initiative clearly demonstrates there is a demand for this type of program in Australia. While support services exist online and offline for ‘dependent’ drinkers (alcoholics), no services exist for people who drink to excess but are not physically dependent.  This is despite almost four million people in Australia classified as binge drinkers, with research in 2013 showing almost half of them actively tried to reduce their alcohol consumption.

More than 50,000 people have registered to complete HSM’s three-month online program, or have downloaded the ‘moderation’ iPhone app, which allows people to set smaller, daily goals to reduce their consumption.

HSM has developed a cost and time efficient model for delivery of screening and brief intervention (known as ‘sBI’) in general practice and emergency departments using emerging digital technology. It is currently conducting a pilot project with GPs to determine how they could use HSM to conduct sBI with patients, and then easily refer them to ongoing support.

HSM proposed that Macquarie’s Award funds would help it kickstart the integration of technology to work with general practice doctors and emergency departments, the primary gateways for alcohol treatment and support.

Macquarie will be funding this initiative alongside the Commonwealth Department of Health, VicHealth and the Australasian College of Emergency Medicine to integrate HSM’s technology with emergency departments and GPs across Australia.

Macquarie Group Foundation Chair Shemara Wikramanayake said Macquarie received 70 high-quality submissions from a cross section of organisations, from which 11 finalists were chosen.

“The submissions demonstrated the ingenuity and innovation we have seen from many in the sector and the finalists particularly demonstrated their commitment to developing innovative programs,” she said.

The Social Innovation Award finalists were:

  • The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC), Australia’s largest organisation dedicated to protecting, supporting and empowering asylum seekers living in the community
  • Fighting Chance Australia, which aims to enrich the lives of young people with significant disabilities
  • Good to Great Schools Australia, which believes in an Australia where a child’s prospects are not determined by their ethnicity, location or socio-economic status
  • Royal Far West, which has been providing health services to children living in rural and remote New South Wales since 1924.
  • Social Ventures Australia, which works to improve the lives of people in need. Offering funding, investment, and advice, SVA supports non-profit partners to increase their social impact.
  • St John’s Youth Services, which provides accommodation and support services to young people and children experiencing homelessness
  • The Sydney Story Factory, which uses storytelling and creative writing to support the literacy development and confidence of young people, particularly those from marginalised backgrounds.
  • The Malpa Project, which works to inspire Indigenous youth with a strong sense of cultural pride, belonging and leadership to make positive life choices and create employment pathways in their communities.
  • The Smith Family, which invests in children’s education to help break the cycle of disadvantage in families from low-SES background.
  • Women’s Community Shelters, a social franchise model that involves community participation, industry best practice and use of technology to support the establishment of new women’s shelters.

The judging panel for the 2015 Social Innovation Award comprised Rupert Myer AO from the Myer Foundation and Tony Graham, Shemara Wikramanayake and Sheryl Weil from Macquarie Group.



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