Volunteers from across the Central Coast were today recognised for their outstanding contribution to volunteering at a special ceremony in Gosford.

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 Central Coast are:

Award CategoryAward Recipient
Young Volunteer of the YearMatthew Calbert, Surf Lifesaving NSW and Central Coast, from Woy Woy
Adult Volunteer of the YearCatherine Cole, Surf Lifesaving NSW and Terrigal Surf Life Saving Club from Jilliby
Senior Volunteer of the YearGregory Mawson NSW and Central Coast RSL / National Servicemen’s Association from Niagara Park
Volunteer Team of the YearCentral Coast Local Health District Volunteers
Central Coast 2019 Volunteer of the YearGregory Mawson, NSW and Central Coast RSL / National Servicemen’s Association
Mayor Jane Smith from the Central Coast Council, volunteers from the winning Volunteer Team – the Central Coast Local Health District Volunteers, Senior and Overall winner Gregory Mawson, Adult winner Catherine Cole and Young Volunteer for the Central Coast Matthew Calbert and Gemma Rygate, The Centre for Volunteering CEO.

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

“Your volunteers build connections for people in towns and 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.”

The Central Coast Young Volunteer of the Year Matthew Calbert, is a former Surf Life Saving NSW Young Lifesaver of the Year who has dedicated hundreds of hours to making local beaches safer places, providing first aid, youth and community development.

The 22-year-old has also started to broaden his volunteering experience by joining the local SES.

The Central Coast 2019 Adult Volunteer of the Year is Catherine Cole a 25-year veteran of volunteering at the Terrigal Surf Life Saving Club – including 23 years of Christmas Day beach patrols. Cath has been an inspirational leader over the years, helping to coordinate Duke of Edinburgh training, surf safety and rip awareness, and youth development.

Cath also established an event to honour past female lifesavers who had gained their qualifications but had not been formally recognised by the Surf Life Saving Associations.

David Mehan MP, State Member for The Entrance, Liesl Tesch, AM, MP, State Member for Gosford, Senior and Overall Central Coast winner Gregory Mawson, Mayor Jane Smith, Central Coast Council and David Harris MP, State Member for Wyong.

The Central Coast 2019 Volunteer of the Year is Gregory Mawson who has been a relentless volunteer across local, regional and state RSL bodies and the Woy Woy Junior Rugby League Club.  His tireless advocacy for our war veterans has helped improve and support our returned servicemen and women across the Central Coast.

The Central Coast Volunteer Team of the Year is the Central Coast Local Health District Volunteer Team, which is celebrating 50 years of amazing support for patients, their families and healthcare across the region.

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.”