Volunteers from across St George and Sutherland Shire were today recognised for their outstanding contribution to volunteering at a special ceremony in Gymea.

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 to celebrate the NSW Volunteer of the Year.

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

Award CaregoryWinner
Young Volunteer of the YearEbonie Sanderson , Royal Institute for Deaf and Bind Children
Adult Volunteer of the YearYvonne Weldon, Metropolitan Aboriginal Land Council from Roseberry
Senior Volunteer of the YearTony Cain, Sutherland Shire Relay for Life NSW Cancer Council from Gymea
Southern Sydney Volunteer of the YearYvonne Weldon, Metropolitan Aboriginal Land Council from Roseberry
A full house at the Tradies Club in Gymea

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 suburbs 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.”

Ebonie Sanderson was selected as this year’s 2019 NSW Young Volunteer of the Year for the area for her work supporting children with significant hearing loss at the Royal Institute for Deaf and Bind Children. For the past two and half year Ebonie has been working with classroom teachers to provide one-on-one support for the students to help them with their speech and learning development.

Scouts en masse!

Yvonne Weldon has been volunteering her time for many decades to improve support for Aboriginal housing, children’s and disability services. Her dedication to the Aboriginal community throughout Sydney and NSW over such a long period of time earned her the Adult Volunteer of the Year Award and the Overall 2019 NSW Volunteer of the Year for the Southern Sydney region.

The 2019 NSW Senior Volunteer of the Year for the region is Tony Cain from the Sutherland Shire Relay for Life and the NSW Cancer Council. Tony has been a tireless and vocal supporter for people living with cancer via his work with the NSW Cancer Council Advocacy program.
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.

Further photos from the event can be viewed here.

Jan Gorrel with Carmelo Pesce, Mayor of the Southerland Shire Council

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.”