Volunteers from Lakemba, Drummoyne, Strathfield and Newtown were recognised for their outstanding contribution at the 10th Annual Volunteer of the Year Awards in Lakemba today.

The top award went to Farhana Mostofa of Lakemba who received both the overall 2016 Sydney Inner West Volunteer of the Year Award and the Adult of the Year Award for her work with the Probashi Bangladeshi Wome’?s Association.

Chief Executive Officer of The Centre for Volunteering, Gemma Rygate, said volunteers improve people’s lives by helping out, keeping people connected and creating a sense of belonging in communities.

“This year The Centre for Volunteering received a record number of nominations: More than 7,500 nominations acknowledging more than 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.

Farhana Mostofa was recognised for her practical approach to helping women from her community gain access to services and grow in confidence and connections in their new lives and also for reaching out to other organisations and fostering supportive community networks benefiting those beyond the organisation she helped start.

“Farhana’s volunteering is a means for her to achieve the noble aims of social justice, equal opportunity and gender equity,” Ms Rygate said.  “Farhana is a true advocate of women’s rights and she has been working selflessly to extend the opportunities to the women in her community who are otherwise disadvantaged due to language and cross-cultural barriers.”

The Winners of the 2016 Sydney Inner West NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards are:

Award Category Winner
Overall Winner

Volunteer of the Year

Farhana Mostofa

Probashi Bangladeshi Women?s Association

Student Volunteer of the Year
(up to 24 years)
Rose Cox

The Australian kookaburra Kids Foundation

Adult Volunteer of the Year

(25 – 64 years)

Farhana Mostofa

Probashi Bangladeshi Women’s Association

Senior Volunteer of the Year

(65+ years)

Elisabeth Pidd

Sydney Eisteddfod

Volunteer Team of the Year Association of Fee Free Migration Agents

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.

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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.