NAME: NSW Rotary Emergency Services Community Awards

TYPE: Three-event series culminating in a hybrid awards gala dinner

ORGANISERS: Rotary Districts of NSW, managed by Admire Events

VENUES: Sydney Masonic Centre (SMC) and a further eight live satellite locations from Casino In the north to Mollymook on the South Coast and out west to Dubbo.

PAX:  230 across nine locations


The NSW Rotary Emergency Services Community Awards (RESCA) is traditionally a three-part live event series, honouring emergency services personnel. For the past six years prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event has commenced with a morning tea at NSW Parliament House to open nominations for our emergency services personnel. In 2020, this was scheduled for March 25.

At the second event finalists are announced. This was supposed to take place at NSW Parliament House on June 17 2020. The final event, a high-end awards dinner announcing the winners is usually attended by over 350 people, including the NSW Governor, Minister for Emergency Services, various Commissioners, the finalists, colleagues and family members. In 2020, this was originally planned for August 1.

In March 2021, the event was selected as a NSW State Finalist in the Meetings & Events Australia Industry Awards for Related Cause Event of the Year and Event Legacy.


With COVID rearing its head just a week before the initial event, swift decisions were made to re-design the launch, and after a few re-schedules and the uncertainty of COVID lingering, organisers forged ahead with re-designs for the subsequent two events as well. Recognising and honouring the 2020 emergency services personnel was a certainty – this group could not be let down.

Both the launch/nominations event and the event announcing Finalists became pre-recorded videos, released via social media. The launch video was released as per the original event schedule, while the announcement of finalists was released on August 19. Collectively, the videos reached over 50,000 people and garnered the highest number of nominations as a state-wide program. #recordbreaking


The awards dinner was traditionally held in Sydney with around 350 attendees, many travelling from regional NSW. This event would prove the most challenging to re-design, not to mention convincing the committee that it could be successfully done differently.


The broadcast studio at Sydney Masonic Centre helped deliver the hybrid awards gala dinner | All photos: Oneill Photographics


With finalists residing up to 1,000km apart, as far north as Casino and Mollymook on the South Coast and as far west as Dubbo, and restrictions easing a little in terms of numbers and travel, it was decided finalists being recognised in person rather than just over video was not only important, but somewhat achievable – it just needed collaboration.

The solution utilised the ONAIR Studio at Sydney Masonic Centre as the main location with the formal dinner and live broadcast reaching eight satellite locations, where finalists, their families and supporters were present, enjoying dinner and being part of the announcements in real time.  10 to 50 people attended the locations with a total of 230 attending events in person across all sites. 45 people joined the dinner at Sydney Masonic Centre and the broadcast studio above the dinner helped to deliver the broadcast elements. The hybrid dinner took place on October 30.


Many well deserving finalists were joined by their emergency service commissioners in the satellite locations, along with Rotarians and family members.

Keeping things COVIDSafe, tables were set with minimal numbers and catering served individually.  All guests were temperature checked upon arrival – that was different.

A live Facebook stream was accessible on the event page, so family members not in attendance could access the awards. And each guest, across all locations, still received a very special box of chocolates – no one missed out.


“Huge congratulations to Admire Events for delivering a brilliant NSW RESCA event last night!! Everything went according to plan and it was a most enjoyable and memorable evening in this new post-COVID era.”