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Shining a light on our volunteers from Parramatta, the Hills and Northern Districts

NSW 2018 Volunteer of the Year Award winners Eliza Dang, Jan Pike and Evelyn Lester

Outstanding volunteers from across Parramatta and the Northern Districts honoured at NSW Volunteer of the Year Award ceremony

Volunteers from across the Central Sydney region were today recognised for their outstanding contribution to volunteering in NSW, at a special ceremony in Parramatta.

The NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards is an annual event run by The Centre for Volunteering and is the biggest celebration of volunteering across the country.


The NSW Volunteer of the Year Award recipients for the Central Sydney region are:

Award Category Winner
Young Volunteer of the Year Eliza Dang, Royal Rehab

from Putney

Adult Volunteer of the Year Evelyn Lester, Hills Unit of the NSW SES

from Winston Hills

Senior Volunteer of the Year
Jan Pike, Riding for the Disabled

from Winston Hills

Volunteer Team of the Year Heaven on Earth Volunteers, Heaven on Earth

from Northmead

Overall Regional Winner Jan Pike, Riding for the Disabled

from Winston Hills


The Centre for Volunteering CEO Gemma Rygate said volunteers from across the region had made an enormous contribution to the local community.

“Volunteers from across the area give their time helping in schools, hospitals, for sporting clubs, the environment, and with so many community based organisations,” Ms Rygate said.

“They all give so much without asking for anything in return.

“It was so pleasing to recognise their outstanding efforts and also celebrate the special contribution of the volunteers chosen to represent the region in November at the State Final of the NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards.”

Each week, the NSW Young Volunteer of the Year for the Central Sydney region Eliza Dang spends time with a patient at the Weemala Community Home run by Royal Rehab. She also mentors other young volunteers to help them support and communicate with patients living with a disability.

Evelyn Lester from the Hills NSW SES Unit has dedicated much of the past 15 years of her life supporting the local community during emergencies and times of need. She was selected as the NSW Adult Volunteer of the Year for the region for her role as Local SES Controller, in particular her tireless work to grow and develop the membership and skills base of the unit.

Sixty-five year old Jan Pike has been volunteering with Riding for the Disabled for 38 years, from teaching horse riding and dressage, to managing the national organisation and its volunteers. The former Paralympian has spent her entire life helping people living with a disability experience the joys of horse riding which has earned her the NSW Senior Volunteer of the Year and overall NSW Volunteer of the Year for the Sydney Central region.

The Heaven on Earth team of 80 volunteers was awarded the Volunteer Team of the Year for their work providing cooked meals for the homeless three nights a week in Parramatta, Liverpool and Blacktown as well as support for refugees and people in prisons.

The 2018 NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards are supported by principal partners the Department of Family and Community Services NSW and ClubsNSW, which represents the state’s 1,400 not-for-profit clubs. They are also supported by Etchcraft and Thrifty Car & Truck Rentals.

NSW Minister responsible for Volunteering, the Hon. Ray Williams, said the state’s 2.1 million volunteers contributed more than $5 billion to the NSW economy every year.

“Nominating local volunteers for an award or a certificate is a special way of saying thank you,” Mr Williams said.

“The fact that so many nominations were received this year is recognition of the amazing effort of volunteers across NSW who help build stronger communities.”

ClubsNSW CEO Anthony Ball said that volunteers were the backbone of registered clubs across NSW.

“ClubsNSW is very proud to support the NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards and every one of the amazing volunteers recognised today,” Mr Ball said.

“Clubs across NSW rely on 32,000 volunteers to help make their venues a vibrant and enjoyable experience,” Mr Ball said.

“They also contribute so much more to our wider community, adding billions of dollars to the NSW economy each year.”


Photos from the event can be viewed here



The Centre for Volunteering would like to thank the generosity of the following organisations for their ongoing support of the NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards:


The NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards is an annual program launched in 2007 by The Centre for Volunteering to recognise the outstanding efforts of the 2 million+ volunteers in NSW, and to promote the importance of volunteering to the community.  The Awards are a celebration of the amazing commitment and achievements volunteers make in our communities and a chance for us to come together to give our thanks. The Awards acknowledge the efforts of thousands of volunteers, volunteer managers, volunteer involving organisations and corporates in bringing about social change through volunteering.