The 2023 Volunteer of the Year Sydney City and Eastern Suburb awards ceremonhy started our 2023 Awards celebrations of volunteering excellence.
Championing vulnerable families to supporting emergency services, today’s Randwick ceremony, on Bidjigal and Gadigal Country, showcased incredible community spirit.
We were pleased to raise a glass to all local volunteers for their invaluable contributions. Additionally, we celebrated outstanding individuals and groups honoured for exceptional volunteering over the last 12 months.
A huge congratulations goes out to 2023 Sydney City and Eastern Suburbs Volunteer of the Year Leanne Hillman. As a dedicated Support Officer, she is being recognised for her work in supporting victims and witnesses of crime in the court system.
Special mention to winners including student Adam Leizer, SES Deputy Commander Anthia Kollaras, and ReLove co-founders Ren Fernando and Ben Stammer.
This event marks the first of many as part of the NSW Volunteer of the Year celebrations. We visit 25 regions, shining a light on the tireless efforts of volunteers across the state.
2023 Sydney City and Eastern Suburbs Volunteers of the Year award recipients are:
Young Volunteer of the Year – Adam Leizer
Kids Giving Back
Student Adam Leizer volunteered with Kids Giving Back for seven years, cooking meals for the homeless. Delivering food and providing clothing, his commitment began at only 12 years old. Now, he’s extending his involvement to the Order of Australia’s Young Australian Leaders Network.
Adult Volunteer of the Year – Anthia Kollaras
Waverley Woollahra SES
Anthia has been a valued and dedicated volunteer with the Waverley Woollahra SES for the past 14 years. She has worked in a variety roles including as a Team Leader, Rescue Officer, and now as the Deputy Unit Commander for Operations.
She dedicated thousands to replacing roof tiles and skylights, and removing tree branches across the state. Additionally, she’s involved in pumping out water and operating flood boats. All the while, she provides guidance, support, and leadership to unit members.
Senior Volunteer of the Year – Leanne Hillman
Victims and Witnesses of Crime Court Support Group
Leanne has been a volunteer Court Support Officer with the Victims and Witnesses of Crime Court Support Group since 2009.
As part of this scope, she provides support and information to victims and witnesses who are feeling vulnerable, anxious, isolated, and traumatised during court proceedings. Her volunteering also crosses over into regulatory, governance, and administrative support for the group.
She has been the driving force behind the organisation’s expansion across Sydney, Parramatta, and Newcastle, where 118 volunteers have provided critical support to more than 25,000 victims and witnesses of crime.
Volunteer Team of the Year – ReLove Co-Founders
Ren Fernando and Ben Stammer co-founded ReLove in 2020, alarmed by discarded furniture during the COVID pandemic. Witnessing the waste, they acted to repurpose it.
ReLove donates pre-loved furniture to families in crisis and repurposes office equipment. Working with businesses, they rescue and reuse items. Since inception, the organisation has supported over 700 families.
Finalists are announced at 25 Volunteer of the Year regional award ceremonies throughout NSW. Following this, your regional winners are invited to the Gala State Ceremony for the announcement of the 2023 NSW Volunteer of the Year.
The 2023 NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards is supported by principal partners the NSW Department of Communities and Justice and ClubsNSW, which represents the state’s 1,400 not-for-profit clubs.