Celebrating volunteers at the Castle Hill RSL today!

Volunteers from across Hornsby and the Hills District were today recognised for their outstanding contribution to volunteering at a special ceremony in Castle Hill. 

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 North Western Sydney region are: 

Award CategoryAward Recipient
Young Volunteer of the YearSasha Ross, Dignity, from Pennant Hills
Adult Volunteer of the YearAnju Mathur, Dementia Support Group for Indian Australians, from Cherrybrook.
Senior Volunteer of the YearJoan Walker, HammondCare Neringah Hospital, Castle Hill
The North Western Sydney NSW 2019 Volunteer of the YearAnju Mathur, Dementia Support Group for Indian Australians.

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.”

Every second Wednesday, the NSW 2019 Young Volunteer of the Year for the region Sasha Ross arrives at a crisis accommodation home run by Dignity, to cut the hair of their male guests. She brings all her own equipment and provides her clients with the small but important comfort of having their hair done.

For someone without a permanent home and facing extreme social stress, this small act makes a world of difference.

CEO of Dignity Suzanne Hopman accepting the Young Volunteer Awards on behalf of Sasha Ross, Adult and Overall winner Anju Mathur, and Senior Volunteer of the Year Joan Walker.

The Adult volunteer of the Year and NSW 2019 Volunteer of the Year for the region Anju Mathur founded the not-for-profit Dementia Support Group for Indian Australians to provide help and support for families from the Indian Sub-continent who are caring for a relative with dementia.

This tireless volunteer gives up her time on weekends and weekdays to help older people and their families.

Joan Walker has been volunteering for more than 27 years at the Neringah Hospital to sit with, listen and comfort people in their final hours. Her support continues with family members after a loved one has passed. Her compassion and kindness are invaluable to people at a very important moment, which has helped earned her the NSW 2019 Senior Volunteer of the Year for the region.

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.

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.”