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Smeaton Grange recognises local volunteers in Sydney South West Macarthur Award ceremony

Monday, 24 October 2011 | The Centre for Volunteering

Volunteers from the Sydney South West Macarthur region gathered today for the 2011 Sydney South West Macarthur Volunteer of the Year Award Ceremony co-hosted by The Centre for Volunteering and Volunteering Macarthur.

Janet Davies of Currans Hill has been named the 2011 Sydney South West Macarthur Volunteer of the Year for her outstanding contribution to the community during a ceremony held in Smeaton Grange on Monday, 24 October 2011.

The annual NSW Volunteer of the Year Award program recognises the efforts and achievements of the State’s millions of volunteers.

Janet was recognised for her outstanding contribution to the community through her volunteering with South Western Regional Tenants Association (SWRTA) for more than 24 years. Her duties include recruiting and training new staff and volunteers, coordinating daily running, ensuring SWRTA meets all legal requirements and insurance/book-keeping compliance, promoting SWRTA to social housing tenants in South West Sydney and networking with local government and non-government agencies.

Janet has worked tirelessly to ensure the continued running of SWRTA and that social housing tenants can access and enforce their rights, and obtain opportunities such as volunteering, training and employment. Janet is passionate about equality and about helping people. She has ensured SWRTA has met all of its funding requirements whilst maintaining a supportive and professional environment for staff and volunteers. She has managed to do this whilst dealing with her own health problems including a heart attack in her 40’s which led to her resigning after 4 years as a worker at SWRTA (she then volunteered for the last 24 years) and caring for her husband who also has developed a serious health problem.

Janet has supported SWRTA through continuous funding reviews, staff changes, and organisational changes. For approximately 28 years Janet has supported and advocated on behalf of individual tenants in relation to housing matters and also on behalf of communities and groups by providing outreach services and liaising with Housing New South Wales to gather information and relate it to tenants through publications, and community meetings/forums. She is extremely dedicated and passionate about helping and empowering people. 

Janet is now in the running to win the prestigious 2011 NSW Volunteer of the Year award, with the winner to be announced by the Hon. Victor Dominello, Citizenship and Communities Minister, at the State Award ceremony on Monday, 5 December 2011 at Parliament House Sydney.

Event co-host, Volunteering Macarthur’s Ven Andrews, said that the event was very rewarding. “Volunteers are the lifeblood of local communities and are not recognised as often as they should be for their valuable, selfless commitment,” she said.

Janet will receive a $300 donation for South Western Regional Tenants Association to help it continue its outstanding work.

The Centre for Volunteering’s NSW Volunteer of the Year Award Manager, Kristin Romanis, said the quality and quantity of nominations received for the Sydney South West Macarthur region was outstanding. “Sydney South West Macarthur nominees were of an exceptional standard but the judges felt that Janet’s tireless dedication to the South Western Regional Tenants Association was a standout,” Kristin said.

Other Award winners announced at the ceremony are Jenny Frankum of Orangeville (2011 Sydney South West Macarthur Senior Volunteer of the Year) and the Autism Advisory and Support Service Volunteer Team (2011 Sydney South West Macarthur Volunteer Team of the Year): both received a $200 donation for their organisation.

Jenny Frankum of Orangeville, aged 73, has been named the 2011 Sydney South West Macarthur Senior Volunteer of the Year for volunteering 15 hours per week for more than 40 years with the Pony Club Association of NSW. Jenny holds several roles with Pony Club: as Club Instructor Jenny oversees instruction of club members; in her role as Zone Chief Instructor she coordinates zone level instructional schools, state championship entries and training of new instructors; and as Chairman of the Chief Instructors Committee and a member of the Executive Committee, Jenny oversee all instructional issues within the Association. Jenny has been instrumental in the organisation of international competitions taking place in Australia, she possesses organisational skills have resulted in the smooth running of annual State Camps, she was a major contributor in the successful transition over the years from a home office situation thirty years ago into the highly efficient, state office situation of Pony Club association today, she is responsible for the implementation and updating, of the rule book and safety standards, and finally her work has ensured the Pony Club Association’s successful transition to the National Coaching Accreditation Scheme (NCAS).

The Autism Advisory and Support Service (AASS) Volunteer Team was named the 2011 Sydney South West Macarthur Volunteer Team of the Year. The team is made up of parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). While looking after their own children with ASD, they assist families from around Australia in various ways. AASS provide services such as unbiased telephone guidance and advice to families and service providers, a range of support groups in different languages and local government areas, individual advocacy, workshops, seminars and information days, Government lobbying, a sensory/therapy garden, toy library and resource/book library. The tireless work of AASS is carried out without any recurrent government funding. The team apply for grants however the majority of their funding comes from fundraising and donations. AASS find gaps in service provision and, in consultation with the parents they serve, provide services that are sought for and appreciated. The greatest example of this is Australia’s 24 Hour Autism Hotline. Run by the volunteer team, the hotline assists families 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It averages 100 calls per month. Paid service providers and Government Departments call on AASS with their “too hard” cases and the wonderful AASS team have so far achieved a 100% success rate in assisting the families they cannot. This combined with the other activities AASS coordinate mean that thousands of families would be in despair without the organisation and dedicated team of volunteers.

The outstanding commitment of the Hurlstone Interact Club Volunteer Team was recognised by the judges – the team was awarded the 2011 Sydney South West Macarthur Highly Commended Volunteer Team of the Year Award.

Other individual volunteers recognised for their outstanding community work were:

  • Sue Loconte of Orangeville who has been volunteering with Australian Red Cross Community Visitors Scheme for more than 3 years
  • Stan Walden of Cabramatta West who has been volunteering with Bonnyrigg High school for more than 3 years

 Another volunteer teams recognised for their outstanding community work were:

  • Tony Taylor and the Macarthur Centre for Sustainable Living Volunteers which is made up of over 44 volunteers

Award ceremonies are being held in the Award’s 19 Regions across NSW throughout September and October, with the regional winners in the running for the 2011 NSW Volunteer of the Year Award.

The winner of the 2011 NSW Volunteer of the Year will receive a $1500 donation to their not-for-profit organisation, Youth and Senior and Team of the Year will each receive a $1000 donation. The one-off 2011 NSW Excellence in NFP Volunteer Management winner will receive a $3000 donation.

The Award is an initiative of The Centre for Volunteering, the peak body for volunteering NSW. Now in its fifth year, this is the state-wide Award program recognising and thanking the volunteers in NSW who generously give more than 235 million work hours each year in NSW, contributing an extraordinary $5 billion to the State’s economy.

“The week-in week-out contributions that volunteers make stretch from aged care, education, child welfare and counselling, through to emergency callouts, event control, running sports, environmental care and animal protection. There’s hardly an area of life which is not helped by volunteering,” Kristin said.

More Information
Kristin Romanis
NSW Volunteer of the Year Award Manager, The Centre for Volunteering
0412 313 359


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