Volunteers from Bellevue Hill, Sydney City, Broadway, Kensington, Dover Heights, Rosebery and the University of NSW were recognised for their outstanding contribution at the 10th Annual Volunteer of the Year Awards in Randwick today.

The top award went to Dr David Digges of Bellevue Hill who received both the overall 2016 Sydney City East Volunteer of the Year Award and the Adult of the Year Award for his work with The National Dental Foundation.

Chief Executive Officer of The Centre for Volunteering, Gemma Rygate, said volunteers can improve individual lives and impact entire communities through the power of their thoughtful deeds.

“This year The Centre for Volunteering received a record number of nominations: More than 7,500 nominations covering 100,000 volunteers – a record number since the awards began 10 years ago,” Ms Rygate said.

“Volunteering is in the DNA of Australians: In NSW more than 2.3 million people volunteer – if volunteering were an industry it would employ more people than any other sector including mining and tourism,” Ms Rygate said.

“After returning from volunteering in East Timor Dr Digges started offering free dental treatments one day a week at his practice,” Ms Rygate said.

“Taking referrals from recognised charities such as Youth off the Streets and the Matthew Talbot Hostel – the treatment at Dr Digges’ practice was often the first dental care these patients had received.

“Ten years later The National Dental Foundation started by Dr Digges now has more than 100 dental practices offering pro bono services around Australia. In NSW more than $200,000 worth of dental treatments were delivered free through this program.”

The Winners of the 2016 Sydney City East NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards are:

Award Category Winner
Overall Winner

Volunteer of the Year

Dr David Digges

The National Dental Foundation

Youth Volunteer of the Year
(up to 24 years)
Rosemarie Taliano

Surf Life Saving NSW

Student Volunteer of the Year Anna Xu

Student Development, UNSW

Adult Volunteer of the Year

(25 – 64 years)

Dr David Digges

The National Dental Foundation

Senior Volunteer of the Year

(65+ years)

Ms Anne Slade

Sydney Jewish Museum

Volunteer Team of the Year Women in Prison Advocacy Network

The Minister responsible for volunteering, John Ajaka, said the awards are an important way of recognising the vibrant contribution individual volunteers make towards strengthening communities across NSW.

“Our incredible volunteers make NSW the beautiful and rewarding place it is to live and work,” Mr Ajaka said.

“Central to volunteer satisfaction is meaningful recognition of the vital and diverse contribution of volunteers.”

Twenty regional Volunteer of the Year Award ceremonies are being held around the state. All regional winners will be in the running for the overall NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards, which are announced at a gala event in Sydney on Friday December 2, in the lead up to International Volunteer Day.

The Volunteer of the Year Awards are generously supported by principal partners the NSW Department of Family and Community Services, and ClubsNSW, the industry body which represents the states 1400 not-for-profit clubs, as well as Bupa Aged Care.

For photos from the Sydney City East Ceremony visit our photo gallery


The NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards is an annual program run by The Centre for Volunteering to recognise the outstanding work of volunteers in every region across NSW. Twenty award ceremonies are held across NSW from August to October where nominees are recognised with certificates and winners announced.

Regional winners will be entered into the overall State 2016 Volunteer of the Year.