Volunteers from across Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs were today recognised for their outstanding contribution to volunteering at a special ceremony in Randwick.

The NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards is an annual program run by The Centre for Volunteering which has grown to become one of the largest celebrations of volunteering across the country.

Regional finalists for the awards are announced at 21 ceremonies throughout NSW and are invited to the Gala State Ceremony in Sydney for the announcement of the 2019 NSW Volunteer of the Year.

The 2019 NSW Volunteer of the Year Award recipients for the Sydney City/Eastern Suburbs region are:

Award CategoryAward Recipient
Adult Volunteer of the Year Linda Deutsch, the Junction Neighbourhood Centre and City East Community College Mentor Program, from Vaucluse.
Senior Volunteer of the Year Philip Feinstein, Music for Refugees from Bondi Junction
Volunteer Team of the YearWright of Passage Volunteer Team from Sailors with DisABILITIES
Sydney City and Eastern Suburbs 2019 Volunteer of the Year Philip Feinstein, Music for Refugees

The Centre for Volunteering CEO Gemma Rygate said volunteers from across the region had given so much to the local community.

Delilah Scott from the Wright of Passage Volunteer Team from Sailors with DisABILITIES and Philip Feinstein, Senior and Overall Regional Winner.

“Your volunteers build connections for people in communities across the region,” Ms Rygate said.

“They help to build such positive experiences and links to services across health, education and community sectors. Our ceremony today recognises their work and allows us to say thank you.”

Linda Deutsch was awarded the 2019 Adult Volunteer of the Year for the region for her work teaching English language skills to people from non-English speaking backgrounds at the Junction Neighbourhood Centre. Linda also helps newly arrived skilled migrants find work as a volunteer mentor at the City East Community College.

Wright of Passage Volunteer team members with Marjorie O’Neill MP, State Member for Coogee (Right).

The Sailors with Disabilities Wright of Passage volunteers were awarded the 2019 Volunteer Team of the Year for their work helping young people who have disengaged from school or TAFE via a workplace learning program that teaches new skills and provides a pathway to work.

The program was based around the repair and restoration of a wooden boat that the team and participants helped sail from Sydney to Hobart for the Australian Wooden Boat Festival.

The Sydney City and Eastern Suburbs 2019 Volunteer of the Year is Philip Feinstein who founded the Music for Refugee Program to help provide self-esteem, confidence and happiness for refugees at the Villawood Detention Centre. He has helped collect musical instruments to donate through the program and was invited to extend its work at the Christmas Island Detention Centre.

Phillip’s passion for volunteering also extended to the collection of medical and other urgent items for the Burundi refugee community living in extreme hardship in Uganda. He’s also a volunteer bus driver for the elderly and helps with a stop smoking course targeted at refugees and Aboriginal people.

The 2019 NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards are supported by principal partners the Department of Family and Community Services NSW and ClubsNSW, representing the state’s 1,400 not-for-profit clubs.

Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services Gareth Ward said volunteers made an enormous contribution to local communities.

“A vibrant volunteering sector leads to healthy and strong communities,” Mr Ward said.

“In NSW, volunteers contribute more than $5 billion to the economy each year and their social contribution is even greater. The NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards are a fitting way to say thank you.”

ClubsNSW CEO Anthony Ball said that volunteers were the backbone of licensed clubs across the state, so it was a natural fit for the industry to support such an important program.

“The calibre of our local volunteers never ceases to amaze me, and I’m proud to represent an industry in which around 32,000 volunteers help to make clubs such great places,” Mr Ball said.

“I congratulate all the volunteers who were recognised at today’s ceremony for their dedication and commitment.”