It’s been tough for communities across the NSW Central West over the past 12 months – but the regions strong volunteering spirit is always there to help people pull through.

It was entirely appropriate for us all to dial in and say thanks at today’s online regional ceremony for the 2020 NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards.

Special congratulations to our award winners; young mental health advocate Torren Burton, first aid leader Kerry Burchett, Bev Cooney who has a goal to make Bathurst a dementia friendly town; and the amazing team of volunteers from the Arts in Health program.

The 2020 NSW Volunteer of the Year for the NSW Central West region is Bev Cooney, founder of The Neighbourhood Centre Dementia Café.

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

Young Volunteer of the Year – Torren Burton from Spring Hill   

Torren has been a mentor to other young volunteers training at Headspace Orange, the mental health service for younger Australians. He helps to raise money and awareness and advocate for mental health issues for young people throughout the region.

2020 Young Volunteer of the Year for the Central West – Torren Burton

Adult Volunteer of the Year – Kerry Burchett from Molong

Kerry has been volunteering with St John Molong Cadet Division for the past 25 years. She now leads the division, looking after equipment, supplies and logistics. She also conducts weekly training for the team of volunteers as well as providing first aid at dozens of community events each year.

Senior Volunteer of the Year – Bev Cooney from Bathurst

Bathurst Rotary Club volunteer Bev Cooney helped establish the Dementia Café – cleverly name Dcafe – at The Neighbourhood Centre in Bathurst. Volunteers have been trained to help run the café which provides a space for people with dementia to come together, interact and maintain a sense of connection with the local community and its people.

Volunteer Team of the Year – The Arts in Health volunteers

The 10 Arts in Health volunteers help vulnerable residents at the Oberon Multipurpose Service to create art, music, dance and movement. The program is part of the Arts out West program run by the Oberon Arts Council. A trained artist leads the program with the support of the volunteer team members, helping participants to live engaged and fulfilling lives.

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.