Volunteers from across the Orana region were today recognised for their outstanding contribution to volunteering at a special ceremony in Dubbo. 

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 Orana region are:

Award CategoryAward Recipient
Young Volunteer of the YearGrace Gower, Dubbo City Youth Council, from Dubbo
Adult Volunteer of the YearEllie Dean, Team Rubicon Australia, from Dubbo
Senior Volunteer of the YearJeanette Capewell, Coonabarabran Support Group for Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service, from Coonabarabran
Volunteer Team of the YearNational Association for Loss and Grief NSW, from Dubbo
Orana 2019 Volunteer of the Year Jeanette Capewell, Coonabarabran Support Group for Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service

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.”

Grace Gower, the Orana Young Volunteer of the Year, being presented with her award by Bill Greenwood, Director and Vice President of the Dubbo RSL Club.

Year 12 high school student Grace Gower was awarded the Orana 2019 Young Volunteer of the Year for her volunteer work with the Dubbo City Youth Council. Grace has given 120 hours of her time this year to help organise the local Youth Week celebrations and providing support for the mental health service provider, Headspace Dubbo.

The Orana 2019 Adult Volunteer of the Year Ellie Dean gives her time to coordinate the disaster response team across NSW for Team Rubicon Australia. She also oversaw the organisation’s contribution to the recent Invictus Games, as well as volunteering at the event herself. Ellie’s massive volunteering workload also included the management of a project to bring drought relief to more than 65 farms throughout the region.

Jeanette Capewell the Senior and Overall winner for Orana and Mr Dugald Saunders MP.

The Orana 2019 Volunteer of the Year is Jeanette Capewell who has spent the past decade raising vital funds for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service. Her volunteer work with the Coonabarabran Support Group has helped raise more than $260,000 for the emergency transport service.  Jeanette is also a prolific local volunteer for numerous local projects and organisations including the Coonabarabran Football Club, the 2357 Partnership, and the Coonabarabran Volunteer Rescue Club.

The 100 volunteers from the National Association for Loss and Grief were awarded the Orana 2019 Volunteer Team of the Year for their dedicated support for people feeling alone and lost after the loss of family or close friends. The volunteers at the centre also help provide suicide prevention support and counselling.

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.”