Volunteers from across Sydney’s Inner West were today recognised for their outstanding contribution to volunteering at a special ceremony in Burwood.

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 Mid Western Sydney are:

Award CategoryAward Recipient
Young Volunteer of the Year Rishabh Somani, Strathfield Rotary Club, Boys High School Interact Club, Salvation Army, from Homebush
Adult Volunteer of the YearBronwyn Bancroft, Boomalli Aboriginal Artists College, from Rozelle
Senior Volunteer of the YearAbla Tohamy Kadous, Islamic Women’s Welfare Association, from Strathfield
Volunteer Team of the YearAsylum Seekers Centre Employment Team from Newtown
Mid-Western Sydney 2019 Volunteer of the Year Bronwyn Bancroft, Boomalli Aboriginal Artists College.

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 communities and suburbs 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.”

Senior winner Abla Tohamy Kadous, Young recipient Rishabh Somani and Asylum Seekers Centre Employment Team volunteers.

The NSW 2019 Young Volunteer of Year for the region is Homebush Boys High School Student Rishabh Somani. Through the Strathfield Rotary Club he has given up about 200 hours of his time over the past 12 months to volunteer with numerous organisations including the Salvation Army, the Rotary Club, the local Harmony Day celebrations and Red Nose Day.

Bundjalung women, artist and Rozelle resident Bronwyn Bancroft has spent 30 years mentoring and supporting indigenous artists at Boomalli Aboriginal Artists College. Boomalli is dedicated to supporting Aboriginal Artist from NSW language groups and is one of the longest surviving Aboriginal owned Cooperative in Australia.

Bronwyn has spent the past decade building the organisation up after it faced financial ruin and closure and has been named the Mid-Western Sydney 2019 NSW Volunteer of the Year for her dedicated and tireless efforts.

Ms Jodi McKay MP, Leader of the Opposition, Shadow Minster for Multiculturalism, State Member for Strathfield, congratulating Aunty Euphemia Bostock, who is collecting the Adult and Overall Volunteer of the Year Awards on behalf of recipient Bronwyn Bancroft.

Abla Tohamy Kadous helped establish the Islamic Women’s Welfare Association about 35 years ago and at aged 70 she continues to manage 50 volunteers and staff who help refugee families fleeing violence and oppression. She builds connections with families and support services and links to external activities and events.

Abla’s work helps make her members feel like they belong in their community by socializing with others though cooking and sewing and gaining knowledge of the Australian way of life such as how to vote, learning English and interfaith forums. She is a very deserving recipient of the NSW 2019 Senior Volunteer of the Year for the region.

The 2019 NSW Volunteer Team of the Year for the region is the Asylum Seekers Centre Employment Team. Over the past year alone the team has helped 332 asylum seekers gain employment and to have their educational qualifications recognised.

The 2019 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.

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.”