Volunteers from across South Western Sydney were today recognised for their outstanding contribution to volunteering at a special ceremony in Campbelltown. 

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 South Western Sydney / Macarthur region are:

Award CategoryAward Recipient
Young Volunteer of the YearSonia Sharma, MYAN Australia from Prestons
Adult Volunteer of the YearSharon Robertson, Dilly Drought Drive, from The Oaks
Senior Volunteer of the YearJanet Nicoll, The Salvation Army, from Macquarie Fields
Volunteer Team of the YearDilly Drought Drive Volunteers
South Western Sydney/Macarthur 2019 Volunteer of the Year Sharon Robertson, Dilly Drought Drive

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.”

Young Volunteer winner for South Western Sydney/Macarthur Sonia Sharma with Robert Virgona from Etchcraft, supporter of the NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards.

The South Western 2019 Volunteer of the Year Sonia Sharma gives her time supporting young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds with MYAN (the Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network).  The East Hills Girls Technology High School student also volunteers for Youth off the Streets and with a local Aged Care home.

Janet Nicoll was named the 2019 Senior Volunteer of the Year for the region for her long-standing work as a community advocate and volunteer with the Salvation Army, Youth off the Streets and the ADRA Community Centre.  She connects people to programs and service providers and helps others with clothing, food, support letters and financial counselling.

Sharon Robertson, Adult Volunteer Award winner with Michael Lavorato, CEO Campbelltown Catholic Club

The South Western 2019 Volunteer of the Year is Sharon Robertson. Sharon set up the Dilly Drought Drive to provide hay and water for livestock for local farms suffering from the devastating impacts of the drought. Sharon also founded the Light up The Oaks Christmas event and has been the official photographer at the Camden Show for the past 15 years.

Janet Nicoll (Senior winner), Sonia Sharma (Young), Sharon Robertson (Adult and Overall), and Tia Veech from Dilly Drought Drive volunteer team.

The volunteers from the Dilly Drought Drive were also named the 2019 Volunteer Team of the Year for the region.   These volunteers have helped save 25 businesses through supplying hay and water for the livestock, as well as, water and hampers for struggling farming families. The group reason that locals can help our locals and therefore encourage the wider Sydney area and the rest of Australia to help all farmers struggling out West.

Don’t forget the Salvation Army’s Macquarie Fields volunteers with Mayor Matthew Deeth!

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.”