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Ex-bodybuilder claims top community award after creating all-inclusive space for kids

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A mental health advocate committed to helping young people in the region has been named Citizen of the Year at the Sunshine Coast Biosphere Community Awards.

Leon Stensholm – a former elite athlete and natural bodybuilder – was honoured today for his dedication to mentoring and supporting youth via his centre Lookout 07.

His vision to create the centre emerged from his personal journey after the tragic loss of his brother and four clients to suicide.

Mr Stensholm recognised disconnection and isolation from friends and family as the common denominator in their stories and knew something had to change.

He embarked on a mission to create a safe, welcoming, all-inclusive space for young kids, where meaningful connections support their path to physical, mental and social wellbeing.

His dream came to fruition in 2023 when he opened Lookout 07, which provides recreation facilities alongside resilience programs, mentoring and crisis counselling for about 150 youths each week.

The judges applauded Mr Stensholm for using his professional experiences to help so many young people each week, and for his generosity of space, time and skill.

They summed it up in four words: “We need more Leons!”

The ceremony was held on the second anniversary of UNESCO’s designation of the Sunshine Coast as a Biosphere Reserve.

The awards recognised, celebrated and showcased the stories of 79 dedicated individuals, organisations and businesses contributing to a sustainable region now and into the future.

Recipients at the Sunshine Coast Biosphere Community Awards.

Sunshine Coast mayor Rosanna Natoli said the impact the nominees had on region was humbling.

“The information we receive about the nominees shares just a fraction of the inspiring stories behind them,” she said.

“Today we recognised our volunteers, heard stories of support for those less fortunate, celebrated triumph out of adversity and were inspired by dedicated visions and unique solutions.

“We celebrated those protecting and enhancing our natural environment, contributing to the health and wellbeing of our community, people dedicating themselves and their organisations to our cultural vitality and those embedding sustainability into the core of their businesses.

“Each of our fabulous nominees should feel a sense of pride to be recognised by their community and we celebrate and are thankful for every one of them.

“These stories represent what is special about our Sunshine Coast Biosphere and why this is such a wonderful place to live, work, learn and play.”

Sunshine Coast Biosphere Community Awards recipients

  • Citizen of the Year: Leon Stensholm
  • Senior Citizen of the Year: Ken Mewburn
  • Young Citizen of the Year: Kurt Jones
  • Community Group or Organisation: endED
  • Healthy People: Trevor Picken
  • Biosphere Business of the Year: Go For Zero
  • Creative Arts: Helena Gulash, Paul Calcott
  • Healthy Planet: Craig Hosmer, Daryl Reinke, Hinterland Bush Links

Do you have an opinion to share? Submit a Letter to the Editor at Sunshine Coast News via news@sunshinecoastnews.com.au. You must include your name and suburb.

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