There were thanks and kind words all-round for the COVID safe celebrations at the Central Sydney virtual ceremony for 2020 NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards. It’s been a tough year for volunteering, but we’ve seen people of all ages step up to help build healthy and well connected communities.

Thanks to all the region’s volunteers and the nominees and a special congratulations to our award winners: MYAN Youth Ambassador Harpreet Kaur Dhillon, Meals on Wheel driver and friend Helen Macias, Happy Hen gardener Janet McIntosh and the teaching team from Auburn STARTTS.

The 2020 NSW Volunteer of the Year for the Central Sydney region is Harpreet Kaur Dhillon MYAN Ambassador and advocate for gender and social justice.

2020 NSW Volunteer of the Year Award recipients for the Central Sydney region are:

Young Volunteer of the Year – Harpreet Kaur Dhillon from Eastwood   

Twenty year-old Harpreet Kaur Dhillion has already achieved so much at such a young age. The MYAN Youth Ambassador and director at the Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights is a passionate advocate for gender and racial equality. She has contributed to many state, national and international forums to help discuss and promote mental health, young people and reproductive rights.

Adult Volunteer of the Year – Helen Macias from Winston Hills

Helen has volunteered for more than a decade as a driver for the Parramatta Meals on Wheels service. The former flight attendant and mother of two continued to volunteer during COVID-19 restrictions, as demand for nourishing and healthy meals for people in need increased. She not only delivers meals but sits, chats and shares her time with the MOW clients.

Senior Volunteer of the Year – Janet McIntosh from Eastwood

Janet volunteers each week at the Henley Green Community Gardens to help provide fresh produce for the Sydney Community Service which services people in need throughout the local community.

Volunteer Team of the Year – STARTTS Auburn Women’s English Classes Teachers

The five volunteer teachers with the STARTTS program help up to 15 refugees and asylum seekers at two classes a week. The classes help them adapt, understand and establish strong relationships with their local communities. Their clients have often experienced trauma, violence, deprivation or loss of family members. Two of the teachers are founders of the English classes at Auburn and have volunteered for 18 years. The others have volunteered for 11 and 5 years.

Please click here to watch a short video of the Central Sydney ceremony.

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.

Please note: STARTTS clients faces are covered for privacy