A strong and passionate supporter of multicultural youth, gender equality and mental health awareness and support has been named the 2020 NSW Young Volunteer of the Year.

Twenty-year-old Harpreet Kaur Dhillon was awarded the accolade at a virtual ceremony for the 2020 NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards today in front of more than 400 special guests, volunteers and their families, and representatives of volunteering organisations from across the state.

The NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards are an annual program run by The Centre for Volunteering to recognise the outstanding work of volunteers in every region across NSW.

The awards are in their 14th year and have grown to become one of the largest celebrations of volunteering across Australia.

Harpreet Dhillon has used the adversity she experienced as a young person from a multicultural background growing up in suburban Sydney as the inspiration to improve the lives of others through volunteering.

She’s an advocate for gender equality, multicultural youth and mental health through organisations such as Girl Guides, the NSW Council of Social Services, Settlement Services International and the Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network.

At 17, Harpreet was the youngest Australian civil society delegate to attend the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York and is the Director at the Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights.

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.

The Centre for Volunteering CEO Gemma Rygate said:

“The past 12 months have thrown up challenge after challenge for communities across the state and volunteers have continued to give their all in the face of this tremendous adversity.

“These awards are our way of saying thank you and reminding everyone across the state of the value of volunteering.

“Congratulations to our awards winners announced today and thank you to all our finalists, nominees and the volunteering community across NSW.”

NSW Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services Gareth Ward said:

“Kim Hill epitomises the selfless community spirit that shone bright throughout last year’s unprecedented bushfire season and is a very deserving recipient of this year’s Volunteer of the Year award.

“Whether they are donating their time and skills responding to natural disasters or coaching children’s sport, volunteers are part of the fabric of our communities.

“There has never been a more fitting time to recognise the enormous sacrifice our volunteers make, and no better opportunity to say thank you for the work they do.”

ClubsNSW CEO Josh Landis said:

“Without volunteers, registered clubs wouldn’t be able to accomplish all the wonderful things that they do for their local communities, so it’s a natural fit for our industry to support this incredible program.

“Well done to all the volunteers who were recognised at today’s ceremony for their extraordinary work. These people have continued to donate their time and effort to support others, despite the challenges of bushfires, drought, floods and COVID-19.

“I’m proud to represent an industry where 32,000 volunteers help to make clubs such great places.”