1 September, 2017

Volunteers from Hornsby and the North West Sydney region were recognised for their outstanding contribution at the Annual Volunteer of the Year Awards at Castle Hill RSL Club today.

The top award went to Steve Butel from Castle Hill, who received both the Adult 2017 Hornsby and Sydney North West Region Volunteer of the Year Award and the overall regional winner’s award for his work with Western Sydney Homeless Connect

“Steve set up this charity himself and goes the extra mile to help those less fortunate,” CEO of the Centre for Volunteering, Gemma Rygate said.

“He has made many personal sacrifices in founding Western Sydney Homeless Connect which supplies ‘backpack beds’ to people needing temporary accommodation.

“He is described as having what some people describe as a calling and many homeless people owe their lives to Steve Butel.

“The Volunteer of the Year Awards recognise the nation working hard at a grassroots level to deliver resilient and compassionate communities,” said Ms Rygate.

“This year there has been a record number of nominations for the Volunteer of the Year Awards, with almost 110,000 volunteers recognised across all categories,” Ms Rygate said

“Volunteering is a mutual gift, delivering rewards to both the giver and the receiver. Volunteering contributes $290 billion to Australia’s economic and social good,” Ms Rygate said.

Award CategoryWinner
Overall Winner
Volunteer of the Year
Steve Butel
Castle Hill
Western Sydney Homeless Connect
Youth Volunteer of the Year
(up to 24 years)
Rhiannon Williams
Windsor High School
Adult Volunteer of the Year
(25 ? 64 years)
Steve Butel
Senior Volunteer of the Year
(65+ years)
Lynette Dunn
Hawkesbury’s Helping Hands
Volunteer Team of the YearDural Men’s Shed

The Minister responsible for volunteering, Ray Williams, said the awards are an important opportunity to celebrate the contribution of local volunteers.

“The efforts of volunteers here today have, no doubt, greatly improved the lives of Hornsby and North West Sydney region residents. The NSW Government acknowledges and thanks all volunteers for their valuable contributions and commitment to creating inclusive communities.”

“People who volunteer are often happier, healthier and more connected to their communities,” Mr Williams said.

ClubsNSW CEO Anthony Ball said the club industry was pleased to be Principal Corporate Partner of the 11th Annual Volunteer of the Year Awards. On behalf of 1300 member clubs, ClubsNSW recognises and acknowledges the valuable efforts of the 2.4 million volunteers in NSW.

“Clubs across NSW generate over 40,000 volunteers in the club industry who dedicate more than a million hours of their time per year- we are incredibly grateful for their enormous contribution in building and strengthening our local communities.”

Twenty regional Volunteer of the Year Award ceremonies are held around NSW.

All regional winners are in the running for the overall NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards, which will be announced at a gala event in Sydney in December.

The Volunteer of the Year Awards are generously supported by principal partners, the NSW Department of Family and Community Services, and ClubsNSW. Other sponsors are Bupa Aged Care and Thrifty Car Rentals.

The photos can be found here.

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 September where nominees are recognised with certificates and winners announced.

Regional winners are entered into the final of the Volunteer of the Year, 2017.