Several long-term volunteers along the South Coast have today been recognised for their services during the 2021 NSW Volunteer of the Year awards.
The awards, run by The Center for Volunteering, recognise the "oustanding effort of volunteers working across all sections of the community" according to an awards spokesperson, and are supported by the NSW Department of Communities and Justice and ClubsNSW.
Club Catalina's Juniors Co-ordinator Margaret Dickinson was named as both the South Coast Volunteer of the Year and the South Coast Club Volunteer of the year thanks to her work with junior golfers.
Her citation for the award reads "she always finds innovative ways for the children to have fun and learn about golf at the same time. Margaret organises innovative events like Family Fun Days, School Holiday clinics and local Junior tournaments".
Nowra's Stephen Richardson was the 2021 South Coast Adult Volunteer of the Year.
Mr Richardson volunteers three days a week for One Door Mental Health according to his citation.
"He sets up in the morning and makes sure all members are well fed, sometimes cooking lunch for up to 30 people," his citation reads.
"As well as chatting to members through the day to make sure everyone is okay, he helps maintain the gardens and grounds, tends the vegetable garden, and cleans the facilities."
Christine Richards from Ulladulla received the 2021 South Coast Senior Volunteer of the Year award.
"Christine has been a Milton Ulladulla United Auxiliary volunteer for almost 20 years," her citation reads.
"She organises coffee catchups, trivia nights, dinners, movie charity nights, raffles, and the Bunnings BBQ.
"She visits patients in hospital for a chat, to read them the paper and alert social workers if someone needs extra support.
"Christine also volunteers for View Club, the Sarah Claydon Op Shop and St Martins Church - giving more than 20 hours a week to her local community."
The South Coast Volunteer Team of the Year was awarded to the Bermagui Marine Rescue squad.
"The 15 volunteers with the Bermagui Marine Rescue assist vessels in distress on the South Coast - monitoring conditions and safety issues, as well as sending out assistance to vessels that are in trouble," their citation reads.
Centre for Volunteering CEO Gemma Rygate said volunteers had helped get their communities through a tough 12 months.
"In many cases they've had to find totally new ways of volunteering through the pandemic, but they've never given up, they've worked around it and shown enormous resilience," she said.
"Today's ceremony is about bringing everyone together to say thank you."
ClubsNSW CEO Josh Landis said he was proud of all the winners working out of clubs in 2021.
"In NSW we have 32,000 volunteers who help to make clubs such fantastic places - without them, clubs wouldn't be able to accomplish all the wonderful things that they do for their local communities," he said.
"We are so proud to support these awards and I congratulate all the volunteers who were recognised at today's ceremony for their dedication and their commitment. Every single one of you is a winner."
NSW Minister for Families, Communities, and Disability Services, Andrew Henskens, also paid tributes to volunteers who have gone "above and beyond anything that could be expected of them".
"Volunteers are everyday people who do amazing things for their community, and I am inspired by them devoting their precious time and energy to benefit others," he said.
"On behalf of the NSW Government, I congratulate today's award recipients and say a heartfelt thank you to each and every person who has volunteered across our great state."
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