A Melbourne-based mortgage broker has been recognised for his initiative which helps combat loneliness and isolation within his community, a cause which has become all the more important with the social distancing introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
John Ng, owner of finance brokerage Money Jar Concept, has been awarded the City of Maribyrnong’s Citizen of the Year Award for his unique form of storytelling which has spotlighted more than 100 people through Melbourne’s inner west.
Ng modelled his ‘Humans of SKY' Facebook and Instagram pages after 'Humans of New York', the photoblog of portraits and interviews collected in New York City, which was started 10 years ago by photographer Brandon Stanton.
Now in its fourth year, the page has more than 5,000 followers and allows Ng to exercise his writing skills as a journalism graduate.
“The idea behind Humans of SKY is to break down the barriers that have been developed over the years by people relying so much on social media and build rapport, harmony and common good will," said Ng.
“I want to help the local community and encourage people to get to know their neighbours."
The page has connected people with distant family members from the other side of the world, raised awareness of cancer sufferers and increased foot traffic for local small businesses.
This year, Ng plans to officially launch an offshoot, Humans of SKY (Business Stories), which he believes will help businesses recover from the economic impact of COVID-19.
Because of his passion for the project, Ng enjoys the combined challenge of running his mortgage broking business with further developing the Humans of SKY concept.
“In this day and age, it’s important to have your own brand and something you are recognised for outside of your job,” he said.
“I am often asking myself what kind of legacy I am going to leave and Humans of SKY is something I am proud to have created.”