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

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 Northern Rivers region are:

Award Category Winner
Adult Volunteer of the Year Wendy Dalton, Aboriginal Education Consultative Group

from South Grafton

Senior Volunteer of the Year Karin Brown, Marine Rescue NSW

from Evans Head

Overall Regional Winner Wendy Dalton, Aboriginal Education Consultative Group

from South Grafton

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.”

The NSW 2018 Adult Volunteer of the Year and overall NSW 2018 Volunteer of the Year for the Northern Rivers region is Wendy Dalton who is an esteemed female indigenous community leader. Wendy has racked up more than two decades of distinguished service leading awareness and support programs for young indigenous people particularly focusing on suicide prevention, support for breast cancer survivors and promoting better access to health services.

The NSW 2018 Senior Volunteer of the Year for the Northern Rivers region is Karin Brown from Evans Head Marine Rescue who gives more than 250 hours of her time each month helping to save lives and promote water safety in the region. The former local postie has volunteered for the past eight years performing multiple roles from Watch Officer to Unit Commander.

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.”

More photos of the ceremony are available here.

Photo credit: A special thank you to the staff at the Lismore Workers Club for taking these photos of the event.

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.