Local community champions take home top awards
FROM COVID-19 to bushfires, local volunteers have been tireless in dedicating their time and energy into helping others.
Now, they're being recognised for their 'Australian spirit'.
Volunteers from the region came together for the virtual 2020 NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards on Friday.
Brodie Cowling from Korora was named Young Volunteer of the Year for the Upper North Coast.
Mr Cowling has been volunteering with the Coffs Harbour division of St John Ambulance for the last five years.
In this time he has acted as a mentor to 70 other local volunteers, providing training and leadership, as well as outstanding community spirit.
The Vinnies Coffs Harbour Management Team were also recognised, taking home Volunteer Team of the Year.
The management team had worked tirelessly to keep the shop open as long as possible during the COVID-19 shut down. However when it did close, they still worked everyday until 2pm to make sure the shop was ready to serve customers when the time came.
The team were congratulated for keeping the highest standards for their local Vinnies shop.
Congarinni local Rebecca Beverly was awarded Adult Volunteer of the Year for the inspirational support she has provided for her local bushfire-impacted community around Macksville.
Ms Beverly has been going door to door throughout the area to make sure families have access to food, groceries and other essential household items.
Finally, Yamba's Helen Brown was named the 2020 NSW Volunteer of the Year for the Upper North Coast, as well as Senior Volunteer of the Year.
Ms Brown has made a lifelong commitment to volunteering and her local Aboriginal community by providing support and advocacy for people in need.
She is a Board member of the Aboriginal Legal Service North Coast Region, and is a committee member for the Wirringa Baiya Aborignal Women's Legal Centre.
On top of this she finds time to volunteer for the Justice Advocacy Service, and attends the Police Aboriginal Consultative Committee, Aboriginal community Consultative Committee with Acmena Youth Justice Centre, and Clarence Valley Community Drug Action team.
She also provides individuals support for Aboriginal community members by writing resumes, providing meals, clothes, transport to appointments, and personal family support during legal procedures.
The NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards are an annual program run by The Centre for Volunteering which has grown to become one of the largest celebrations of volunteering across the country.
Centre for Volunteering CEO Gemma Rygate thanked all of this year's award winners.
"This is what the Australian spirit is all about. Helping others. Helping your community and never giving up," she said.
"I couldn't be more proud of the region's volunteers and their incredible resilience and spirit. "We are just so glad that technology allowed us to still come together to say thank you."