Lock downs are continuing but that hasn’t stopped the celebrations for the 2021 NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards at our special virtual ceremonies. Today we applauded the amazing tales of volunteers in the Illawarra who have been at the heart of their local community during these challenging times.

Thank you to all our nominees!

Congratulations to our award winners; lifesaver, Lifeline volunteer and student representative Benjamin Hamill; aged care volunteer Lynette Phoenix; Phillipa Drewett from Burrawang RFS and the entire team at Kind Hearts Illawarra.

The 2021 NSW Volunteer of the Year for the Illawarra is Benjamin Hamill.

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

Young Volunteer of the Year – Benjamin Hamill from Wollongong.

Ben was a patrolling member at Sandon Point SLSC between 2013-2020 and is now Patrol Captain and Probationary Trainer at Scarborough Wombarra SLSC. Ben has been a Telephone Crisis Supporter and Student Mentor at Lifeline South Coast since June of 2019. He is the Undergraduate Student Representative on the University of Wollongong Education Committee, and the Clubs and Societies Representative and Deputy Chair of the Student Advisory Council.

Adult Volunteer of the Year – Phillipa Drewett, from Burrawang

Phillipa has volunteered for Burrawang Rural Fire Service Brigade for 11 years. As President she has been instrumental in building membership so it can continue to support the local community. As the brigade’s Training Officer, she delivered training for 10 new members after the Black Summer fires. She also helps Burrawang residents prepare for emergencies and is a major driver of local fundraising activities.

Senior Volunteer of the Year Lynette Phoenix from Coniston

Lyn visits aged care residents at the IRT William Beach Gardens every week to provide them with support and meaningful activities, whether that is a friendly visit, pampering, providing activities or just enjoying a cuppa and a chat. Throughout the pandemic Lyn continued to phone residents to check in.

Volunteer Team of the Year – Kind Hearts Illawarra – Albion Park

The Kind Hearts Illawarra outreach team turn hundreds of kilos of food that would normally go into landfill into hampers for individuals and families in need in the Shellharbour and Wollongong area. The team is totally run by volunteers and provides hot meals, fresh food hampers, drinks, clothing hygiene packs, blankets, jackets and their time to listen. They have been on the frontline during Covid 19, supporting people dealing with homelessness, food insecurity and isolation struggles.

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.

Watch a quick recap of the Outer Western Sydney and Illawarra ceremonies here!

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.