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

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 the Hunter region are:

Award CategoryAward Recipient
Young Volunteer of the YearJosh Wallace, St John Ambulance, from Valentine
Adult Volunteer of the YearRosalie Taggart, Hunter Breast Cancer Foundation from Hamilton
Senior Volunteer of the YearAnthony Milburn, Slow Food Hunter Valley from East Maitland
Volunteer Team of the YearShare the Dignity, Blackhill
Hunter 2019 Volunteer of the YearAnthony Milburn, Slow Food Hunter Valley
Mayor Loretta Baker, City of Maitland Council, Barry and Norma Boyce – Josh Wallace’s grandparents- receiving the Young Volunteer Award on his behalf and Mayor Tracy Norman, Dungog Shire Council

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 allows us to say thank you.”

Ms Jodie Harrison MP, State Member for Charlestown, Anthony Milburn, Senior and Overall Hunter Volunteer of the Year and Mayor Loretta Baker from the City of Maitland

The Hunter Young Volunteer of the Year is St John Ambulance worker Joshua Wallace who has been providing care and support at events throughout the region for the past decade.

Sonia Hornery MP, State Member for Wallsend with Adult Hunter Volunteer of the Year Rosalie Taggart

The 2019 Adult Volunteer of the Year, Rosalie Taggart, has spent the past 15 years dedicated to the management and promotion of the Hunter Valley Breast Cancer Foundation. Through Rosalie’s persistent volunteering, the Foundation can provide support for breast cancer patients such as house cleaning, gardening, transport to hospital appointments and other important services.

The Hunter 2019 Volunteer of the Year is Anthony Milburn whose passion for farming and dislike of waste, helps to rescue up to 10 tonnes of fresh farm produce each year that is turned into 5,000 meals for people in need throughout the Maitland region. Tony helps collect fresh produce from up to 20 local farms that would otherwise go to waste. The food is collected and transported to the Slow Food Hunter Valley Foundation where it is turned into delicious and nutritious meals.

Hunter Volunteer Team Winners from Share the Dignity NSW with Ms Sharon Claydon MP, Federal Member for Newcastle

The Volunteer Team of the Year for the Hunter region is the volunteers from Share the Dignity based in Blackhill. They run campaigns to help to collect sanitary items that go to refuges and shelters providing accommodation for women facing homelessness and domestic violence.

The 2019 NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards are supported by principal partners the Department of Family and Community Services NSW and ClubsNSW, representing 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.”