Volunteers from across Newcastle and the Hunter regions stood in the spotlight today for a dollop of thanks and a heap of praise for the 2020 NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards.

The awards were held virtually this year, but their stories of community spirit and goodwill were very real.

Thank you to all the region’s volunteers, the nominees and award winners: Fourth Year psychology student Taylor Kirkwood from the Cerebral Palsy Alliance, Centre for Hope founder Geraldine Moran, 40-year Newcastle Netball Association volunteer Lucia Wilcox and the dedicated Newcastle team from Victims and Witnesses of Crime Court Support.

The 2020 NSW Volunteer of the Year for the Hunter region is Centre for Hope founder Geraldine Moran.

2020 NSW Volunteer of the Year Award recipients for the Hunter are:

Young Volunteer of the Year – Taylor Kirkwood from Belmont North

Fourth Year psychology student Taylor Kirkwood has been an invaluable volunteer for the Cerebral Palsy Alliance. Taylor has been volunteering with the Lego Therapy Group, a social development program for children with autism development spectrum disorder.  The only session he skipped, was to fight fires with the Lake Macquarie RFS. He also delivered groceries for CPA residents during the pandemic.

Adult Volunteer of the Year – Geraldine Moran from Cams Wharf

Geraldine founded the Centre for Hope in 2011 and since then has consistently given up to 50 hours of her time each week to the invaluable support service for young indigenous and non-indigenous people. She has helped provide 3,000 coaching sessions for more than 4,000 students and supports programs like the One Mob Voice Choir, Wheels of Hope as well as drop in centres in Windale and Tanilba Bay.

Senior Volunteer of the Year – Lucia Wilcox from Wickham

Lucia has been a 40-year volunteering veteran for the Newcastle Netball Association as a coach, administrator and fierce advocate for better sporting facilities for players across all age groups. Her dedication has helped thousands of players participate and excel in the sport at all levels of the game.

Senior Volunteer of the Year – Lucia Wilcox

Volunteer Team of the Year – Victims and Witnesses of Crime Court Support – Newcastle Volunteers

The 15 highly trained volunteers from the Newcastle team for the Victims and Witnesses of Crime Court Support service have provided invaluable emotional and practical support for people in extremely traumatic and stressful circumstances. In just under two years of operation they have helped hundreds of victims and witnesses during thousands of court attendees.

Please click here to watch a short video of todays 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.