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

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 2018 Volunteer of the Year Award recipients for the Hunter region are:

Award Category Winner
Young Volunteer of the Year Jazmyn Wood, Meals on Wheels

from Garden Suburb

Adult Volunteer of the Year Jane Lander, Tighes Hill Public School

from Tighes Hill

Senior Volunteer of the Year
Geoffrey Nattrass, Northern Settlement Services

from Cooks Hill

Volunteer Team of the Year HammondCare at Home Volunteers, HammondCare

from Cardiff

Volunteer of the Year Geoffrey Nattrass, Northern Settlement Services

from Cooks Hill

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

“Volunteers from across the area give their time helping in schools, hospitals, sports, 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 the State final of the NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards.”

Year 12 student Jazmyn Wood is the NSW 2018 Young Volunteer of the Year for the Hunter region for her volunteer service to Meals on Wheels and Lake Macquarie Youth Council. For the past four years, Jazmyn has helped prepare meals one morning each week before school at the local Meals on Wheels service.

The NSW 2018 Adult Volunteer of the Year Jane Lander has left a remarkable legacy for the young students at Tighes Hill Public School. Over the past five years, Jane has established the school’s art cave out of a disused shed for seven Year 2 and 3 classes to immerse themselves in the creative arts.

The trained artist has volunteered her time several days a week, to help the young students learn about their own artistic talents while working with teachers to align the lesson to other aspects of the school curriculum.

The NSW 2018 Senior Volunteer of the Year and overall NSW Volunteer of the Year for the Hunter region is Geoffrey Nattrass, who has been giving his time to teach recently arrived refugees how to drive in a new and unfamiliar environment.

Over the past 12 months, the retired driving instructor has mentored 12 Afghani and Syrian humanitarian refugees, including six women, not just teaching them how to drive safely, but also supporting their efforts to gain greater independence and settle into their new communities.

The team of 26 volunteers at the HammondCare At Home Hunter Volunteers was selected as the 2018 NSW Volunteer Team of the Year for the region. The volunteers give more than 140 hours of their time each month vising people who may be socially isolated in their own homes.

The 2018 NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards is 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.