Sunshine Coast community spirit celebrated

Leon Stensholm Sunshine Coast. | Newsreel
Leon Stensholm, Citizen of the Year at the Sunshine Coast Biosphere Community Awards. | Photo: Supplied by Sunshine Coast Council.

A former elite athlete and natural bodybuilder turned mental health advocate has been named Citizen of the Year at the annual Sunshine Coast Biosphere Community Awards.

Leon Stensholm received the honour for his dedication to helping, mentoring, and supporting young people on the Sunshine Coast through his youth centre, Lookout 07.

Mr Stensholm’s  vision to create the centre emerged from his own deeply personal journey – the tragic loss of his brother and four clients to suicide.

He recognised disconnection and isolation from friends and family as the common denominator in their stories and knew something had to change, embarking 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 around 150 youths each week.

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

A ceremony was held today (June 13) on the second anniversary of UNESCO’s designation of the Sunshine Coast as a Biosphere Reserve.

The awards showcase the stories of 79 individuals, organisations and businesses contributing to a sustainable region.

2024 Sunshine Coast Biosphere Community Award 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 and Paul Calcott (jointly awarded).
  • Healthy Planet:  Craig Hosmer and Daryl Reinke and Hinterland Bush Links (jointly awarded).