Volunteers from the Northern Rivers region have put in countless hours during 2021 to support their local community. So, it was fantastic to be able to share their stories at our Northern River virtual ceremony for the 2021 NSW Volunteer of the Year awards. Thanks to COVID-19, we couldn’t get together in person, but we could still zoom in to say thank you online.

Congratulations to the award winners, Dr Ian Tiley who has supported and empowered Aboriginal communities across three states through Communities First Development; Mark Wilson whose work in growing the Friends of the Koala Inc nursery has given this iconic local species a fighting chance at survival; and the volunteer Management Committee behind the Byron Bay Community Centre.

The 2021 NSW Volunteer of the Year for the Northern Rivers region is Dr Ian Tiley.

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

Senior Volunteer of the Year – Dr Ian Tiley from Maclean

Dr Tiley has been a volunteer with Community First Development since 2002, working on 27 projects, across 12 Aboriginal communities in NSW, Queensland and Western Australia. His volunteering has resulted in successful funding proposals that have allowed organisations to keep their doors open and continue to provide services to Aboriginal communities, mentoring in governance and administration, development of business and operational planning documents, the establishment of a transparent finance and accounts systems, and the creation of local and regional partnerships.

Adult Volunteer of the Year – Mark Wilson from Goonellabah

Mark Wilson is the Nursery Manager at Friends of the Koala Inc. Over 30 years his experience, knowledge and connections have enabled him to propagate and distribute tens of thousands of trees to feed koalas, as well as educate hundreds of people through school talks and educational days. He also makes significant contributions to his local Lions Club and community transport.

Volunteer Team of the Year – Byron Bay Community Association Management Committee

The nine team members give about 80 hours of volunteer time a week to the largest charity of its kind in NSW. They provide invaluable support to Byron Community Centre staff in running community services, markets and community events and managing the Byron Theatre – which are all at the heart of the local Northern Rivers community.

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.