Volunteers from across New England and the State’s North West were today recognised for their outstanding contribution to volunteering at a special ceremony in Tamworth. 

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 to celebrate the NSW Volunteer of the Year.

The NSW 2019 Volunteer of the Year Award recipients for the New England and Northern Inland are:

Award Category  Winner
Young Volunteer of the Year Lona-May Dennis, Cerebral Palsy Alliance from Inverell
Adult Volunteer of the Year Jenny Simpson, Barraba Pastoral, Agricultural and Horticultural Association from Barraba
Senior Volunteer of the Year Bruce Cooper, Somerton War Memorial Hall and Recreation Committee from Somerton
Volunteer Team of the Year Tamworth / Inala House Transport to Treatment Service
New England/Northern Inland Volunteer of the Year Jenny Simpson, Barraba Pastoral, Agricultural and Horticultural Association from Barraba

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 gives us the chance to say thank you.”

Lona-May Dennis was selected as this year’s 2019 Young Volunteer of the Year for the New England and Northern Inland region for her work helping people with cerebral palsy – particularly her unfaltering support for her sister Amber.  Lona-May and Amber were the first participants from the New England region to take part in the Krazy Kosci Klimb.

Jenny Simpson has been one of the driving forces behind the Barraba Show for the past 15 years. She has coupled this work with numerous other volunteer support roles, including her work for her local Meals on Wheels and with Oxley Community Transport where she is a volunteer driver helping to take people to medical appointments.

Nat and Liz from Tamworth Hillvue Cubs

Her remarkable volunteering effort earned her the Adult Volunteer of the Year Award and the Overall 2019 NSW Volunteer of the Year for the region.

At 90 years of age, farmer Bruce Cooper from Somerton is a volunteering veteran for the region having clocked up more than 70 years helping so many local organisations and community members. Bruce was named the region’s 2019 NSW Senior Volunteer of the Year.

The nine volunteer team members from the Tamworth / Inala House Transport to Treatment Service were awarded the 2019 NSW Volunteer Team of the Year. The team has helped drive 130 cancer patients over 15,000 kilometres to the North West Cancer Centre over the past year to help them get access to vital medical treatment.

View and download photos of the event here.

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.

New England – Northern Inland attendees getting into the swing of things!

“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.”