It may have been icy cold, but our volunteers received the warmest of receptions today at the virtual Blue Mountains regional ceremony for the 2020 NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards. Hats off to  volunteers from across the region have kept up the good fight in the face of bushfires and COVID-19.

A special mention to 21 year-old Oscar Van Niekerk who is a welcome face to young people with a chronic illness and the amazing 16 volunteer team members from YAWN who are a welcome shoulder to lean on for new parents across the region. And an extra big thank you to Mama Lana’s founder Roger Borg and Walter “Ernie” Oliver Nepean/Blue Mountains Cardiac Support Group.

The 2020 NSW Volunteer of the Year for the Blue Mountains Region is Roger Borg founder of Mama Lana’s Community Foundation.

2020 NSW Volunteer of the Year Award recipients for the Blue Mountains region are:

Young Volunteer of the Year Oscar Van Niekerk from Chronic Illness Peer Support Program

Oscar has been a peer leader at the Chronic Illness Peer Support Program for the past five years, which provides support for young people experiencing a chronic illness or condition. The 21 year-old Glenbrook resident coordinates camp activities and other events, monthly sessions and induction meeting. He established a special virtual program to maintain support services during COVID-19 map and also volunteers with the Sydney Children’s Hospital Network Youth Advisory Council. 

Adult Volunteer of the Year – Roger Borg from Mama Lana’s Community Foundation

Roger established the Mama Lana’s Community Foundation seven years ago to provide hot meals to the homeless and people experiencing financial stress or other trauma. The service operates out of Penrith and turns rescued food into home cooked meals and provides washing facilities and showers.

Senior Volunteer of the YearWalter Ernest Oliver from Nepean Retired Men’s Club and Nepean/Blue Mountains Cardiac Support Group

Ernie Oliver is a 15 year volunteering veteran with the Nepean Retired Men’s Club, proving support to older men across the region.

Volunteer Team of the Year – YAWN Volunteers from Connect Child and Family Services

The 16 YAWN Program volunteers provide in home support for young mothers and their families in the Blue Mountains and Penrith regions. The team has helped new parents overcome the additional barriers brought about by recent bushfires and COVID-19.

The NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards are an annual program run by The Centre for Volunteering which has grown to become one of the largest celebrations of volunteering across the country.

Regional finalists for the awards are announced at 25 ceremonies throughout NSW and are invited to the Gala State Ceremony for the announcement of the 2020 NSW Volunteer of the Year.

The 2020 NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards are supported by principal partners the NSW Department of Communities and Justice and ClubsNSW, which represents the state’s 1,400 not-for-profit clubs.

Senior Volunteer of the Year for the Blue Mountains region – Walter Ernest Oliver