Lane Cove North Local Katharine Gillis Named North Shore’s Young Volunteer of the Year

Katharine Gillis from Lane Cove North has been named 2021 North Shore Young Volunteer of the Year.

The NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards are run by The Centre for Volunteering to recognise the outstanding effort of volunteers working across all sections of communities throughout the state.

The NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards are in their 15th year and have grown to become one of the largest celebrations of volunteering across Australia.

They are an annual program run by The Centre for Volunteering to recognise the outstanding work of volunteers in every region across NSW.

The awards are supported by principal partners the NSW Department of Communities and Justice and ClubsNSW, which represents the state’s 1,400 not-for-profit clubs.

The North Shore award winners for individual and team categories were announced today (Monday 23 August 2021).

Katharine is a Chatswood Junior Guide leader.  During COVID19 she has gone above and beyond leading the girls in online sessions every week so they enjoyed their meetings as much from home as they did in the hall.

During lockdown Katharine even prepared activity bags and delivered them to each girls’ home. Her dedication, leadership and organisation skills make her a role model for local girls.

Other North Shore Recipients were:

Adult Volunteer of the Year – Simone Short from Mosman

Simone co-founded the Gidget Foundation of Australia 20 years ago in response to the death of her sister Louise, Gidget, who suffered from an unrecognised post-natal depression (PDNA). Today the GFA provides individual face to face consultations at 18 Gidget Houses in three states, as well as telehealth consultations, group treatment and early intervention screening. Simone has given her time, resources and enthusiasm to supporting mothers and fathers experiencing, or at risk of, PNDA.

Senior Volunteer of the Year – Kay Chin-Kue Tang from Chatswood

Kay has been a volunteer instructor at Willoughby City Council’s MOSAIC Multicultural Centre for 27 years. At 92 she commutes to MOSAIC on her mobility scooter to teach three classes a week, with students travelling up to two hours each way for her classes. She is a strong advocate for and supporter of other Council initiatives such as organic gardening, sustainability, social inclusion and community awareness of health and wellbeing issues.

Volunteer Team of the Year – Raise Foundation Board from Mosman

The four board members have steered the growth of the Raise Foundation over the last 12 years. In its first year, Raise provided mentoring support for 58 struggling young people on the Northern Beaches. This year, Raise is mentoring over 1300 young people, in five states and in 98 schools.

The announcement comes after the release of the NSW State of Volunteering Report, which found that volunteers contribute more than $127 billion to NSW annually in social and economic benefits. The research concluded that every dollar invested in volunteering services across the state returns $3.30 in economic benefit and that the 4.9 million volunteers in NSW contributed 1.5 billion hours to their communities in the past year.

The Centre for Volunteering CEO Gemma Rygate said:

“The past 12 months have been tough for all of us, but volunteers have continued to dig deep to support their local communities through this adversity.

“In many cases they’ve had to find totally new ways of volunteering through the pandemic, but they’ve never given up, they’ve worked around it and shown enormous resilience.

“Today’s ceremony is about bringing everyone together to say thank you.”

NSW Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services Alister Henskens said:

“Today’s ceremony recognises volunteers who have gone above and beyond anything that could be expected of them in what has been an immensely challenging year.

“Volunteers are everyday people who do amazing things for their community, and I am inspired by them devoting their precious time and energy to benefit others.

“On behalf of the NSW Government, I congratulate today’s award recipients and say a heartfelt thank you to each and every person who has volunteered across our great state.”

ClubsNSW CEO Josh Landis said:

“After the challenges we have all endured over the past 18 months, the efforts and sacrifices of our state’s volunteers feel more significant than ever before.

“In NSW we have 32,000 volunteers who help to make clubs such fantastic places — without them, clubs wouldn’t be able to accomplish all the wonderful things that they do for their local communities.

“We are so proud to support these awards and I congratulate all the volunteers who were recognised at today’s ceremony for their dedication and their commitment. Every single one of you is a winner.”

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