Winners announced for the Tasmanian Volunteer Awards 2021

The valuable contribution volunteers make to the Tasmanian community was acknowledged at a reception held at Blundstone Arena on 17 when the winners of the Tasmanian Volunteer Awards 2021 were announced.

Patron of Volunteering Tasmania, Her Excellency, Professor the Honourable Kate Warner AC, Governor of Tasmania, hosted the 30 finalists, their nominators, industry sponsors and VIPs at the official awards ceremony, which also signified the start of National Volunteer Week (17 to 21 May 2021).

Among the award recipients was Sandy Bay resident Nicky van Dijk who was presented with the Premier’s Tasmanian Volunteer of the Year Award, the Environment, Animal Care and Conservation Volunteer Award, and the Youth Volunteer Award.

Ms van Dijk has been volunteering in two roles since she moved to Tasmania in 2018 from the Netherlands.

Not only has she been the president of the UTAS Salsa Dance Society since late 2019, but she also acts as the convenor of Fossil Free UTAS, which was instrumental in the University of Tasmania declaring its intention to divest from fossil fuels in 2020.

Ms van Dijk said she started volunteering to meet new people and make a difference to the community.

“Besides meeting fantastic people that I otherwise would not have met, I also love how volunteering allows me to organise events and create change that I feel is needed in Tasmania,” she said.

“I volunteer because I love making the world around me a bit more socially and environmentally sustainable.”

Ms van Dijk encouraged everyone to find an organisation or not-for-profit they were inspired by and give volunteering a go.

“I think it is very important that we thank the thousands of volunteers in Tasmania, and hope that awards like these show the importance of all the work that these diverse volunteers do,” she said.

Other award winners included:

Community Care and Health Volunteer Award (sponsored by Anglicare Tasmania) –  Robert Thomas from the Tasmanian Men’s Shed Association.

Education, Science and Technology Volunteer Award (sponsored by Spirit Super) – Niamh Chapman from Edge Radio.

Emergency Services Volunteer Award (sponsored by Lifeline Tasmania) – Wayne Doran from Volunteer Ambulance Officers Association of Tasmania.

Sport, Recreation and Service Groups Award (sponsored by Volunteering Tasmania) – Suzie Calvert from Hockey Tasmania.

Arts, Heritage, Tourism and Events Volunteer Award (sponsored by VIRA) – Charles Burns from Heritage Sailing Tasmania.

Lifetime Achievement Volunteer Ward (sponsored by Aurora Energy) – Lorraine Walker from the Rotary Club of D’Entrecasteaux Channel.

Best Practice in Volunteer Management Award (sponsored by Hydro Tasmania) – Li Yang from Australian International Youth Association.

Volunteer Program or Group of the Year Award (sponsored by CatholicCare Tasmania) – Free3b Girls.

Volunteering Tasmania chief executive officer Dr Lisa Schimanski said the judging panel always found it extremely difficult to narrow down the finalists when so many people were making incredible contributions in their communities across the state.

“There is no doubt that Nicky is an amazing person and an incredible worthy winner of the Premier’s Volunteer of the Year Award, but in the spirit of this year’s National Volunteer Week theme ‘Recognise. Reconnect. Reimagine’, I want to remind every volunteer that their contribution, big or small, is appreciated and is significant,” she said.

Volunteering is not measured through the number of hours people give, but by the impact of what they’re doing.

“It does not matter if you are giving one hour a week, a few hours each month, or more, collectively volunteers are contributing an estimated $4 billion to Tasmania each year and making an enormous difference – for this we thank them all.”

The awards are Tasmania’s only state wide program that formally recognises excellence in volunteering and are supported by the Tasmanian Government and valued sponsors.

For more information about the award recipients, visit https://www.volunteeringtas.org.au/tasmanian-volunteering-awards-2021/.

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