The outstanding work of the Hunter’s volunteers was recognized with four local people being recognized for their work in the area.
The awards announced for the Hunter are part of the NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards, presented by the Center for Volunteering to recognize the outstanding efforts of volunteers working in all aspects of communities across the state.
Lambton graduate student Salwa Salwa was named 2022 Hunter Volunteer and Adult Volunteer of the Year for her support of international students, multicultural services and resettled migrants throughout the Hunter region.
She volunteers as a peer mentor to international students at Newcastle University, dedicates her time to equity, diversity and inclusion programs and promotes better student mental health support.
Outside the university campus, Salwa volunteers as a tutor for the Adult Migrant English Program and provides multilingual and multicultural support at the Multicultural Neighborhood Center in Newcastle and at Hamilton Community Language School.
The Young Volunteer of the Year is university student Hayley Johns from Bolwarra Heights.
Hayley was nominated for her volunteer support of the Hunter River Agricultural & Horticultural Association, organizers of the Maitland Show.
She also supports the local community through a variety of other volunteer roles with the National Rural Health Student Network, St John Ambulance at Maitland, the local SES and Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health.
Nickolas Newton from Newcastle is Senior Volunteer of the Year. He has volunteered with the Merewether Surf Life Saving Club for more than 25 years as Club Captain, Patrol Captain and Club President.
Nick has put in thousands of hours during rescue patrols, nipper sessions and bronze medallion and surf rescue courses, as well as managing the club, its volunteers and members.
Finally, the Volunteer Team of the Year was awarded to Survivor’s R Us Incorporated. The Cardiff group involves 50 volunteers who help store and pack items from the organization’s warehouse for people in need due to domestic violence, unemployment or homelessness.
The team manages the OP shop, food and grocery service called Pantry, and supports its advisory services. They also run a breakfast barbecue for the community two mornings a week.
“Volunteers from across the region continue to invest so much time and energy in making their local community a better place,” said Gemma Rygate, CEO of the Center for Volunteering.
“You help build healthy, resilient and inclusive communities by bringing people together and connecting them to health, education and community services.
“Today’s ceremony recognizes their work and gives us an opportunity to say thank you for their dedication and service to their communities.”