Leading volunteer managers and corporate volunteers were today recognised for their outstanding contribution to volunteering across the state, at the 2018 NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards at NSW Parliament House in Sydney.

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.

Each year, a short list of volunteer managers and corporate volunteer finalists are chosen across three categories to attend the State Ceremony of the NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards. A winner for each category is announced at the State Ceremony on November 30.

The NSW 2018 Volunteer of the Year Award finalists are:

Award Category  Finalists
 Corporate Volunteer of the Year Jenny Chenhall: Volunteer Rescue Association Dubbo

Gemma Marshall: Macquarie Group

Cassie Wallace: Cancer Council NSW; North Sydney Leagues Club; and Norths

Corporate Volunteer Team of the Year Club Rivers Community Team

Club Taree Community Team

Pfizer Cares Australia

Excellence in Volunteer Management Raymond Jones: Marine Rescue NSW Shoalhaven

Colin Lott: St John Ambulance Australia (NSW)

Joanne McColl: Cancer Council NSW

Royal Rehab Volunteer Services (Special Commendation)

Corporate volunteering, also known as employee volunteering, is when staff take part in unpaid work for a community organisation during work hours, providing benefits to not-for-profit businesses, the individual and their employer.

NSW Minister responsible for Volunteering, the Hon. Ray Williams with Colin Lott, finalist for Excellence in Volunteer Management, one of the many St John personnel recognised at the Awards.

An Australia survey in 2011 found that 24% of volunteers worked for an employer that had an employee volunteer program.

The Centre for Volunteering CEO Gemma Rygate said employees volunteering in the workplace and those helping to manage volunteer programs made an enormous contribution to the NSW community.

“Our corporate volunteers and volunteer managers give their time helping in schools, hospitals, for sporting clubs, the environment, and with so many community based organisations,” Ms Rygate said.

“It was so pleasing to recognise their outstanding efforts and also celebrate the special contribution of managers and the volunteers chosen to attend the State Ceremony of the 2018 Volunteer of the Year Awards.”

The 2017 Corporate Volunteer of the Year Robyn de Szoeke from Deloitte said corporate volunteers offered access to skills and expertise or often just some willing hands to support the work of a charity.

“It is an excellent way to tap into the passion and purpose of staff in an organisation – many of whom are very willing to provide their time and services,” Robyn said.

“Often this cements the relationship with the corporate leading to leveraging employee giving programs, pro bono work assignments, access to grants and introductions into foundations and the philanthropic arm of organisations.”

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 employee volunteers and volunteer managers 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: