Seniors score at NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards

Glad Dent turned 99 in August but that hasn't stopped her from doing what she loves most.


At the age of 80, Glad began to raise money for cancer patients in the Newcastle area as a volunteer for Calvary Mater Newcastle Auxilliary Cancer Care.


For her efforts, Glad was awarded New South Wales Senior Volunteer of the Year for the Hunter Region in the 2017 Volunteer of the Year Awards and she joins many other senior regional volunteer winners around the state.


Glad became President of the Auxilliary at the age of 91, but through her 80s, was still actively raising money by modelling clothes at fundraising fashion parades and making creative crafts for sale. Friends and colleagues say she's a fabulous role model who has inspired younger people to volunteer.


Brian Kearney leads a team of ten tech tutors whose average age is 70, teaching over 55s to brush up their computer skills.


Brian won Senior Volunteer for the Macarthur Region for his work with Campbelltown Senior Cyber Seekers (CSCS). He started as a volunteer in 2003 and built up his team of volunteer tutors from scratch over the years based on "seniors teaching seniors". Due to his efforts, CSCS is a distinctive model of community support for the elderly statesmen and women of the Macarthur area.


Ninety one-year-old Meg Stevenson has volunteered for over 27 years with the Powerhouse Museum. She runs the museum’s outreach program going to retirement villages, disadvantaged communities and to people who can't otherwise get to the museum.


Meg takes the museum with her wherever she goes. She’s described as a catalyst for curiosity and creativity, giving everybody access to objects that have had an impact on society and history and bringing the museum to life for people from a range of demographics, backgrounds and cultures.


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


“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 and senior volunteers work across all areas of community need.


“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.


This year's awards honour volunteers who work across a range of sectors. Some volunteer in remote communities, others make sandwiches for children who go to school without food. One led a group of older people to Nepal to see how they could help poor communities, others keep their local community hall going.


There are seniors helping migrants and refugees, providing essential support during disaster relief and walking the streets at night to help the homeless, the poor, and the hungry.


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


“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.


Find more information at NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards website


26 September 2017.