‘Making a difference’ – Council recognises volunteer achievements
Published on 13 May 2022
The spirit of giving was in the air at the Southern Cross Catholic Vocational College as more than 100 people gathered for the presentation of the 2022 Volunteer Recognition Awards on Friday 13 May.
With the celebrations for National Awards Week kicking into overdrive with, Council getting a head start on the event which this year has the theme ‘Better together.’
It’s an apt theme after two years of challenges through the pandemic, which have particularly hit the volunteer sector hard. Despite a fall in numbers, volunteerism is still a valued trait within the Burwood Local Government Area with Council referring over 500 individuals to local organisations in the last 12 months alone.
At Friday’s ceremony, Council presented Awards in the Young Volunteer, Adult Volunteer, Senior Volunteer and Volunteer of the Year categories.
Anna Xu (Young Volunteer of the Year) created the program Dancing Reciters which teaches the performing arts to primary school students. She wanted the program to be accessible to everyone in the community especially because of its traditional high costs. During the worst of the lockdown last winter she successfully adapted the program to be taught online giving participants another option of social interaction.
Mark Kenny (Adult Volunteer of the Year) was recognised for his significant contribution to Burwood Community Welfare Services which now spans more than two decades. Mr Kenny began helping out initially with his mother before turning his attention to becoming a volunteer driver. His main task was to pick up clients bring them to and from the centre and later volunteered for Meals on Wheels. Mark’s passion for service endeared him to clients and other volunteers alike.
Jane Cordina (Senior Volunteer of the Year) is a logistics extraordinaire. Currently she co-ordinates the collection and storage of groceries donated to St Paul’s Parish Pantry and the provisioning of the Hampers for distribution. Another part of her role is organising the packing of the food supplies for the Home Delivery service, which became a vital lifeline to many of our vulnerable population isolated due to COVID-19. Her talents aren’t just limited to co-ordinating food supplies as she’s heavily involved with the clothing provision aspect of the service.
Inner West Neighbour Aid Social Support Team (Volunteer team of the Year) contribute more than 2000 hours per year with volunteers ranging in age from 21-81. The aim of the program is to help clients participate in community life through meeting their need for social contact and accompaniment. Some of the activities include mini outings, Stepping Out Strathfield, Dog Walking, Home Visiting, Telephone 'Visiting' workshops in the 5 Senses Garden, Living Well with Dementia workshop and our exercise programs Stand Tall, Alive and Kicking and Walk Well.
Mayor John Faker who was on hand to present the awards to the winners said it was a wonderful chance to celebrate volunteers.
“Whatever your passion or your interests there are volunteering options for you,” Cr Faker said
“Our community has a proud tradition of volunteering and looking out for their neighbours, and this is evident in the outstanding contributions from the 18 nominees this year.
“Volunteers give so much of themselves and make our community a better place and I want to thank them for all their contributions,” he concluded.
2022 Volunteer Recognition Awards Finalists
Young Volunteer of the Year
- Anna Xu (Winner)
- Nabilah Choudhury
- Jack Karnaghan
Adult Volunteer of the Year
Volunteer Team of the Year
- Inner West Neighbour Aid Social Support Team (Winner)
- Inner West Garden Aid Team
- Justice Advocacy Services
- Multicultural Care – Community Visitors Scheme
- St Paul’s Parish Pantry
- The Cottage Kitchen Volunteers