Volunteers from Hunters Hill to Parramatta were today recognised for their outstanding contribution to volunteering at a special ceremony in Parramatta. 

The NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards is an annual program run by The Centre for Volunteering and 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 overall NSW Volunteer of the Year.

The NSW 2019 Volunteer of the Year Award recipients for the Central Sydney region are:

Award CategoryAward Winner
Young Volunteer of the Year Teressa Sugita, Royal Rehab from Ermington
Adult Volunteer of the Year Jacqueline Moshtaghi-Qaziani, St John Ambulance from Ermington
Senior Volunteer of the Year Jeni Zuber, Dignity Dishes, Hunters Hill
Volunteer Team of the Year Dignity Dishes, North Parramatta
Central Sydney 2019 Volunteer of the YearJeni Zuber, Dignity Dishes, Hunters Hill

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.”

Central Sydney Young Volunteer Award recipient Teressa Sugita with Deputy Mayor Glenn Elmore, Cumberland Council.

The 2019 NSW Young Volunteer of the Year for the Central Sydney region is speech pathology student Teressa Sugita.  Teressa volunteers once a week at Royal Rehab helping a stroke survivor practice reading, writing and spelling and transferring those skills into speech.

Jacqueline Moshtaghi-Qaziani has been volunteering at St John for the past 32 years, leading a team of volunteers providing vital first aid support during important community events across the region.  Jacqueline is a deserving recipient for the 2019 NSW Adult Volunteer of the Year for the Central Sydney region.

Central Sydney Adult Volunteer of the Year is Jacqueline Moshtaghi-Qaziani with Lord Mayor Andrew Wilson, City of Parramatta Council.

Jeni Zuber from Hunters Hill spends three days a week helping numerous community organisations throughout the region including the Nappy Collective, Meals on Wheels, Touched by Olivia and Red Kite.

However, her work for crisis accommodation provider Dignity shows a remarkable dedication to the spirit of volunteering and giving back. Jeni turns food from local supermarkets and food outlets provided by OzHarvest into home cooked meals for people facing extreme distress, including domestic violence survivors.  Over the past month she has prepared more than 200 meals. Her incredible volunteering has earned her the 2019 NSW Senior Volunteer of the Year and the 2019 NSW Volunteer of the Year for the Central Sydney region.

Central Sydney Senior and Overall Volunteer of the Year Jeni Zuber from Hunters Hill who volunteers with Dignity Dishes and the Volunteer Team of the Year Dignity Dishes.
Central Sydney Senior and Overall Volunteer of the Year Jeni Zuber (second from the right) from Hunters Hill who volunteers with Dignity Dishes and the Volunteer Team of the Year Dignity Dishes.

The 2019 NSW Volunteer Team of the Year for the region is the Dignity Dishes team of 80 volunteers based at North Parramatta. Dignity provide temporary crisis accommodation for up to 240 men, women and children across 25 homes throughout NSW.

It relies on its volunteer team to help turn one tonne of rescued food into tasty meals each week, as well as pack parcels of clothes, toiletries and other daily necessities.

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.

“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.”