Dedicated Sporting First Aid Legend has been named 2023 Central Coast Volunteer of the Year 

Patrol Captain and rugby league First Aider, Terry Vella, has been named the 2023 Central Coast Volunteer of the Year for his dedication to safety on the sand, in the sea, and on the turf throughout the region. 

The recognition comes as part of the NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards. Today’s Regional Ceremony, held at Gosford Golf Club on Darkinjung Country, also celebrated category winners Jenna Smith, John Avis, We Care Connect Volunteers and treasured nominees in the region.


2023 NSW Volunteer of the Year Award recipients for the Central Coast NSW region are:Central Coast Award Winners with Adam Crouch MP, Emily McBride MP, Gordon Reid MP and Rik Hart

"Volunteers from across the state’s Central Coast give their time and energy to help make their local community a better place. They help build healthy and well-connected communities across the region...Their tireless work helps support people across health, education, sporting, and community sectors. Our awards recognise their work and give us the chance to say thank you."

Gemma Rygate, The Centre for Volunteering CEO

Young Volunteer of the Year - Jenna Smith

Jenna Smith gives her time to raise awareness about the plight of abandoned and homeless pets for numerous organisations across the Central Coast including SoCares, Peggy’s Promise, Claws n Paws and Bateau Bay Neighbourhood Centre.  

She raises funds and collects food and other pet essentials, while also highlighting the vital role shelters play in community wellbeing. Her volunteering not only provides essential supplies for animals, but also educates the public on the urgent need for compassionate and medical care for shelter animals. 

Young Volunteer of the Year - Jenna Smith

Adult Volunteer of the Year – John Avis

John Avis is a dedicated mentor and facilitator for the Junior Lifesaver of The Year program which has propelled North Avoca Club to new heights of success. He has organised the youth leadership and development camp for 30 youth at Narrabeen Sydney Sports Centre. His innovative Junior Club Captain program enhances the leadership skills for Rookies and Juniors. 

Senior Volunteer of the Year – Terry Vella

Terry Vella is a volunteer Patrol Captain and Training Officer at Shelly Beach Surf Lifesaving Club, helping other volunteer club members with training in radio and advanced resuscitation techniques. With 48 Surf Lifesaving and First Aid awards, he serves as a key official at surf lifesaving events at club, state, and national levels. Off the beach, Terry continues his commitment to safety as the First Aid Officer in the NSW Rugby League competition. 

Senior Volunteer of the Year – Terry Vella

Volunteer Team of the Year – We Care Connect Volunteers

The 76 members of the We Care Connect volunteer team are dedicated to mitigating the effects of childhood disadvantage caused by factors like unemployment and domestic violence. The team focuses on enhancing life outcomes and self-esteem for at-risk and marginalised youth, many of whom grapple with severe trauma. They provide clothing, educational resources, and essential toiletries, helping to restore a sense of normalcy and dignity to these young lives. 

Volunteer Team of the Year – We Care Connect Volunteers

Finalists for the awards are announced at 25 Volunteer of the Year regional award ceremonies throughout NSW and are invited to the Gala State Ceremony for the announcement of the 2023 NSW Volunteer of the Year at the Gala Ceremony on Thursday 7 December in Sydney.

The 2023 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 1,100 not-for-profit clubs.

Principal Partners

Award Sponsors