It’s been tough across the NSW South Coast – but the region and its people are bouncing back thanks to the support of its committed volunteering community. Strong communities come together during tough times to rebuild and volunteers are always there at the core.

So it’s timely to recognise this effort.

The South Coast regional ceremony for the 2020 NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards is our way to give thanks on behalf of everyone across the state.

Well done to our special award winners: high school teacher and mental health advocate Paul Hamer from Scouts NSW, Carleen May who has been volunteering for many organisations across four decades; and the team from WIRES mid-south coast who have cared for and protected native animals who share their community.  

The 2020 NSW Volunteer of the Year for the NSW South Coast region is Paul Hamer, co-founder of the Scouts Mental Health First Aid for Youth program.

2020 NSW Volunteer of the Year Award recipients for the South Coast are:

Adult Volunteer of the Year – Paul Hamer from Catalina 

High School Teacher Paul Hamer helped establish the Mental Health First Aid for Youth program for the NSW Scout organisation. Paul has helped train over 200 scout leaders across NSW in vital skills to identify and help support young people experiencing mental health issues.

South Coast Volunteer of the Year – Paul Hamer

Senior Volunteer of the Year – Carleen Maley from Tathra

Carleen has been supporting multiple causes and organisations and thousands of people throughout the Far South Coast and other remote regions for the past four decades. She has given more than 60,000 hours of her time over this period for the VIEW Club of Australia, the Bega District and Pambula Hospitals and the Telstra Connected Seniors program.

She has helped raise more than $1 million for the Smith Family, but her contribution across so many other areas of support has been immeasurable.

South Coast Senior Volunteer of the Year – Carleen Maley

Volunteer Team of the Year – WIRES Mid-South Coast Branch

The 97 team members from the Mid-South Coast Wires Branch have given their land and lounge rooms to help care for sick and injured animals that share their local communities. They provide a 24/7 response that was so important during the recent bushfires that devastated the region.

More than 2,750 rescues were made over that period, in the most dire and desperate circumstances. The team also includes three trained volunteer shooters who take on the responsibility to humanely euthanize injured animals.

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.