Today we heard some truly remarkable stories of volunteering at the Central Sydney virtual ceremony for 2021 NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards.

It’s been such a tough year for everyone, but people have stepped up to meet the challenge in local communities across NSW. People like our 2021 Central Sydney Volunteer of the Year Sayeed Karimi from the Australian Afghan Hassanian Youth Association – which has distributed hundreds of care packages for people in need as a result of the pandemic, and at the same time continued to run a long list and valuable of programs to support refugees and migrants here in Australia.

Congratulations also to award winners, nursing student and emergency services volunteer Chris Tremelling; local community transport leader and advocate Ian Dear; men’s shed stalwart Joseph Wahbe and the Sydney Lifestyle Choir volunteers.

 2021 NSW Volunteer of the Year Award recipients for the Central Sydney region are: 

Adult Volunteer of the Year – Sayeed Karimi from Regents Park

Sayeed is President of the Australian Afghan Hassanian Youth Association. During the Pandemic he initiated care packages to help migrants, refugees, people who have lost their jobs and the elderly – a program that has so far helped more than 500 migrant refugees and asylum seekers and 250 vulnerable Australians. A refugee himself, Sayeed has dedicated 15 years to supporting the community in Australia.

Young Volunteer of the Year – Christopher Tremelling from Oatlands

Chris is an SES duty officer, emergency team member and trainer, and a first responder for St John Ambulance. The nursing student helped the Coffs Harbour SES modernise their Operations Centre and trained local members in the new technology. He also played a key role in transporting COVID related patients during the pandemic.

Senior Volunteer of the Year – Ian Dear from Huntleys Cove

Ian has volunteered for the Ryde based community transport organisation Stryder, an essential transport service that is integral to the lives of many elderly residents in the Northern Sydney region, since 2009. He also volunteers with the SES and Father Chris Riley’s ‘Youth Off the Streets’ program.

Volunteer Team of the Year – Lifestyle Choir – Royal Rehab from Ryde

The eight volunteers support Royal Rehab Community Home residents and people with disability during Lifestyle Choir performances and fortnightly rehearsals – which have continued by Zoom during COVID. The volunteers include allied health students and former Royal Rehab patients. They transport choir members, help them set for performances and support them on stage. The team has given more than 1,500 hours of their time over the past five years.

Photo taken pre COVID-19 pandemic. Source: Royal Rehab.

Club Volunteer of the Year – Joseph Whabe from Oatlands

Joe is a founder of the Oatlands Golf Club Men’s Shed, helping to deliver a long list of maintenance tasks to help keep the club operating for is members. The retired electrician also volunteers an extra ten hours a week to support the club and men’s mental health, on top of his regular Monday volunteer duties.

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 2021 NSW Volunteer of the Year.

The 2021 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.