Volunteers from Lake Munmorah, Mardi, Gosford, Ettalong Beach, Watanobbi, Wyong and Wyong Beach were recognised for their outstanding contribution at the 10th Annual Volunteer of the Year Awards in Shelly Beach today.

The top award went to Gaynor Hobart of Watanobbi who received both the overall 2016 Central Coast Volunteer of the Year Award and the Adult Volunteer of the Year Award for her work with the Central Coast Centre Riding for the Disabled, Somersby.

Chief Executive Officer of The Centre for Volunteering, Gemma Rygate, said volunteers improve people’s lives by helping out, keeping people connected and creating a sense of belonging in communities.

“This year The Centre for Volunteering received a record number of nominations: More than 7,500 nominations recognising more than 100,000 volunteers a record number since the awards began 10 years ago,” Ms Rygate said.

“Volunteering is in the DNA of Australians: In NSW more than 2.3 million people volunteer – if volunteering were an industry it would employ more people than any other sector including mining and tourism,” Ms Rygate said.

Ms Rygate said Gaynor won both the Adult and the Overall Central Coast Volunteer of the Year for 2016 for her dedication as both a coach working directly with the horses and children, as well as her work behind the scenes on the committee, which is equally time-consuming.

“Gaynor inspires the children to feel confident around the horses because of her expertise in handling the animals, Ms Rygate said.

“Equally, Gaynor’s patience and sheer pleasure in helping children with very challenging physical needs to become proficient in the saddle is totally infectious – she believes the kids will master the skill and that flows on to her students who have grown in confidence under Gaynor’s skilled guidance.

“Indeed some children who have never spoken before literally have found their voice in the saddle – talking to their horse or responding to Gaynor’s gentle instructions, the first time some of them have ever spoken out loud.”

The Winners of the 2016 Central Coast NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards are:

Award Category Winner
Overall Winner

Volunteer of the Year

Gaynor Hobart, Central Coast Centre Riding for the Disabled Somersby
Student Volunteer of the Year Chantel Johnston, Wyong Shire Council Action Team


Youth Volunteer of the Year
(up to 24 years)
Jamie Carter, Conservation Volunteers Australia

Wyong Creek

Adult Volunteer of the Year

(25 – 64 years)

Gaynor Hobart, Central Coast Centre Riding for the Disabled , Somersby


Senior Volunteer of the Year

(65+ years)

Lorraine Griffiths, Samaritans Foundation

Lake Munmorah

Volunteer Team of the Year Ronald McDonald Family Room Volunteers, Gosford Hospital

The Minister responsible for volunteering, John Ajaka, said the awards are an important way of recognising the vibrant contribution individual volunteers make towards strengthening communities across NSW.

“Our incredible volunteers make NSW the beautiful and rewarding place it is to live and work,” Mr Ajaka said.

“Central to volunteer satisfaction is meaningful recognition of the vital and diverse contribution of volunteers.”

Twenty regional Volunteer of the Year Award ceremonies are being held around the state.

All regional winners will be in the running for the overall NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards, which are announced at a gala event in Sydney on Friday, December 2, in the lead up to International Volunteer Day.

The Volunteer of the Year Awards are generously supported by principal partners the NSW Department of Family and Community Services, and ClubsNSW, the industry body which represents the states 1400 not-for-profit clubs, as well as Bupa Aged Care.


The NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards is an annual program run by The Centre for Volunteering to recognise the outstanding work of volunteers in every region across NSW. Twenty award ceremonies are held across NSW from August to October where nominees are recognised with certificates and winners announced.

Regional winners will be entered into the overall State 2016 Volunteer of the Year.