Business & Careers

GOOD VIBES // Behind The Scenes Of Healthy Cities Illawarra

How This Inspiring Local Organisation Is Making A Difference To The Health + Wellbeing Of Illawarra Communities

Healthy Cities Illawarra is an incredible not-for-profit organisation that has been operating locally since 1987, advocating for and collaborating with communities to deliver positive health and wellbeing outcomes.

We chatted to CEO, Kelly Andrews after Healthy Cities Illawarra were Highly Commended in the Oustanding Charity category at the 2023 Illawarra Women in Business Awards.

1 :: Tell us about Healthy Cities Illawarra.

HCI is a registered health promotion charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission and has tax deductible recipient status.

We aspire to be our region’s flagship health and wellbeing organisation, where we collaborate with our community to make a positive impact. We are committed to delivering health and wellbeing outcomes for the Illawarra and Shoalhaven communities.

2 :: How do you do that?

We do this by addressing social, economic and environmental causes of health inequality through advocacy, partnership and evidence-based programs.

This includes:

Advocacy :: we regularly provide submissions on government or corporate plans to advocate for the inclusion of health promoting principles e.g: age friendly design, active transport, urban greening, healthy and affordable food.

Community Programs :: walking, cooking and gardening, children’s healthy lifestyle programs, road safety, food security, Ambassador Program.

Partnerships :: Wollongong, Shellharbour, Kiama and Shoalhaven local governments, University of Wollongong, TAFE, Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District, community health centres and schools, other community organsiations, particularly those focused on vulnerable and disadvantaged communities.

3 :: How are you working differently to other organisations in this space?

Chronic disease makes up 85% of the burden of disease and has increased 38% in the last three decades. Chronic disease contributes to 9 in 10 deaths and cost more than $70 billion annually. But this isn’t inevitable – it can be prevented.

Healthy Cities Illawarra is different to other health organisations and charities because we focus on disease prevention, not treatment.

We look to create healthy environments so that healthy choices are easy – but there is a lot of work to do.

Prevention is better – and cheaper – than cure.

We can stop chronic disease before people get really sick by being more physically active, eating healthy food, avoiding tobacco and alcohol, and being socially connected.

The burden of chronic disease is getting worse and treating it when it is too late isn’t working – our health system is in crisis.

Preventative health programs and health promotion keeps people out of hospital, reduces the burden on overstretched health services and allows people to live healthier, more productive lives.

4 :: Amazing! So tell us a little bit more about you, Kelly. What do you love about living in the Illawarra?

Definitely the beautiful natural environment that surrounds us. My weekends are spent taking advantage of that and heading out to one of the many walking trails we have around here. And checking out the local markets!

5 :: And the all-important questions. Where’s your favourite coffee spot?

Camille’s on Chapman – it’s where we go as a team.

Amazing! A huge congratulations to the Healthy Cities Illawarra team for being Highly Commended in the 2023 IWIB Outstanding Charity category at the Illawarra Women In Business Awards.

Head here to find out more about Healthy Cities Illawarra.


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