Volunteers recognised in the Hunter

The outstanding effort of volunteers in the Hunter has been recognised with four locals awarded for their work in the region.

The awards announced for the Hunter are part of the NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards which are run by The Centre for Volunteering to acknowledge the outstanding effort of volunteers working across all sections of communities throughout the state. 

PhD student Salwa Salwa from Lambton has been named the 2022 Hunter Volunteer of the Year and the Adult Volunteer of the Year for her support for international students, multicultural services and newly settled migrants across the Hunter region.

She volunteers as a peer mentor for international students at Newcastle University, gives her time for equity, diversity and inclusion programs and promotes better support for student mental health. 

Outside university campus, Salwa gives her time as a volunteer tutor at the Adult Migrant English Program, as well as providing multilingual and multicultural support at the Multicultural Neighbourhood Centre in Newcastle and 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 for the Hunter River Agricultural & Horticultural Association, the organisers of the Maitland Show. 

She also supports the local community via numerous 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 the Senior Volunteer of the year. He has been volunteering at the Merewether Surf Life Saving Club for more than 25 years as club captain, patrol captain and club president. 

Nick has given thousands of hours during life saver patrols, nipper sessions and bronze medallion and surf rescue courses as well as the administration of the club, its volunteers and members. 

Last, but certainly not least, the Volunteer Team of the Year was awarded to Survivor’s R Us Incorporated. There are 50 volunteers involved in the group at Cardiff who help to stock and pack items from the organisation’s warehouse for people who are in need because of the impact of domestic violence, unemployment or homelessness. 

The team manages the op shop, the food and grocery service called the Pantry, and provides support for its for counselling services. They also run a breakfast barbeque for the community, two mornings a week.   

“Volunteers from across the region continue to give so much of their time and energy to help make their local community a better place,” said Centre for Volunteering CEo Gemma Rygate.

“They help to build healthy, resilient, and inclusive communities by bringing people together and connecting them with services across health, education, and community sectors.

“Our ceremony today recognises their work and gives us the chance to say thank you for their dedication and service to their communities.”

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