Meet the Finalists and Recipients!
The 2023 Queensland Volunteering Awards took place on Monday morning 15 May, at Brisbane City Hall. It was so fantastic to see everyone come together to support the nominees and finalists and see the reactions when the recipients of each award were announced.
The Queensland Volunteering Awards acknowledge and honour the astonishing contribution and spirit of service of all Queensland volunteers and volunteer involving organisations. The Awards are presented across six categories:
- Queensland Lifetime Contribution to Volunteering Award
- Queensland Youth Volunteer of the Year Award
- Queensland Community Volunteering Impact Award (More/less than 200 volunteers)
- Queensland Excellence in Volunteer Management Award
- Queensland Corporate Volunteering Award
- Queensland Volunteer of the Year Award
Thank you to all recipients, finalists, nominees and nominators who took the time to share the great work of our volunteer heroes in the community.
Stay tuned to see the professional photos from the 2023 Queensland Volunteering Awards
Rob has been at the forefront of aged/disability advocacy, initiating, steering and leading several key projects in southeast Queensland, Moreton and Southern Downs communities.
Rob founded the Redlands Disability Network (RDN) as a platform for the collective voices of people with disability, their carers, and service providers/ businesses. Such a network was the first of its kind in Queensland.
As a passionate disability advocate, Rob has initiated the Redlands’ first Fresh Futures Market and employment expo; now an annual event that explores employment opportunities for young people living with disability.
Under Rob’s leadership as a chairperson/board member- STAR is a leading aged care and disability support service provider supporting over 12,000 clients- in South Brisbane, Gold Coast, Darling Downs and West Moreton.
Rob set up Volunteering Redlands (VR)- today a leading hub of volunteering activities in Redlands.
In spite of his involvement in more than 30 organisations, Rob finds time to extend his support to more projects/groups/ individuals.
Brian is a committed, lifetime volunteer. His contribution goes above and beyond at the Mount Ommaney electorate and spans over 50 years.
Not only is Brian active in the community between five and seven days a week but, he asks for nothing in return! He actively shuns attention and is the epitome of a quiet achiever. Since his retirement 13 years ago, Brian has dedicated himself to helping his local community.
Brian is the personification of Oxley, and there is no organisation, event or committee that isn’t aware of his contribution to the community. He is the person to ask when you have no one else in your corner as he will always show up.
Not only has his own contributions been felt across the community, but his five children and nine grandchildren follow in his footsteps, making the Tovey name synonymous with community volunteering.
Brian is one of the most active JPs in the area, having served the community for over 21 years, visiting people directly, having people at his home, including the local police who often visit of a night time when they have an urgent warrant needing to be signed. Brian completes over 200 JP transactions per year.
His contributions don’t stop there. Brian also donates plasma every fortnight and has completed over 250 donations, he has been a part of the Pennyworth Bushcare Group for 13 years and he is a Life Member of Corinda State School P&C, Treasurer of the Tennis Committee, Committee Member of the ‘’Festival of Nations’’ event and volunteer groundskeeper. Brian was the Treasurer of the Sherwood Meals on Wheels Group until this year and is a current member of the Sherwood Meals on Wheels “Local Supporters Group” and a representative for Meals on Wheels Brisbane South. Brian also started the Oxley Neighbourhood Watch Group in 2006 and was the coordinator for 11 of its 13 years until its closure in 2019.
Gail has been a great community member her entire life. for a decade serving on the Mayoress Charity Trust and 2 decades with Mission Possible Volunteers Inc, Gail has provided for thousands of struggling families, pensioners and disadvantaged people. All groups were not registered for DGR.
As head of Mission Possible Gail has worked to build a network of more than 500 ladies across the SE corner who knit, crochet and sew for local people. The success of these groups rely on many volunteers and Gail’s ability to coordinate them, and raise funds through events and donations is exemplary.
Jasmine’s dedication is reflected in her consistently allocating her time and skills towards these roles and the causes behind them for several years. She effectively pairs her longstanding passion for service with skills she has developed (and continually improving) to selflessly aid others.
Jasmine champions connecting with others in her various volunteer roles, whether that be in public, street environment, schooling environment, or professional development environment.
Where particular experiences were once hurtful, they now serve as fuel for her to do her part (however small or big that may be) in helping a neighbour out. Where addressing difficult experiences can be viewed as taboo in the wider South-Asian cultural community, she strives to encourage conversation and representation in the mental health space with humility and resilience.
Jasmine has changed the narrative of her traumas to no longer define her, rather, to guide her to raise her voice against the grain. As such, she is able to bring a unique, culturally diverse perspective to the table.
Cayla Jones is a volunteer executive member for SES Metro Group. Her current portfolio is Innovation and Process Improvement, where she has already had tremendous success in forming a team that are reviewing common practices across the group, improving documentation and streamlining processes where possible.
Cayla herself, a Data Scientist, developed for the entire group an informative dashboard regarding our skills competencies, which are needed to be refreshed regularly to remain competent.
This dashboard is consuming very data-driven and difficult to interpret extracts from systems, and is translating it, not only into a view for individual members to keep across their skills, but to group executives, so they understand the capabilities of the group as a whole, and can arrange for training sessions to occur before capability falls below acceptable margins.
Jess has always strived in her scouting career to give back to the organisation and to give the younger you the ability to experience the great opportunities Scouting provides.
She aims to continue the cycle of giving kids an education you can’t get in any school. Jess’s impact goes far beyond those she directly helps. In her Red Cross Role, she is helping communities to recover and rebuild what they lost. During her time in the outreach option of the floods, she was able to assist individuals who previously were unable to access funding to get in contact with the right people, whilst also using her Psychological First Aid and Mental Health First Aid skills.
Having struggled with her own mental health for a period of time, she is able to connect with the schoolies in a unique way, and is especially talented in calming those who aren’t in the right headspace to communicate well. She cares for the schoolies until they can make it back to their accommodation safely.
Cycling without Age – Gold Coast
Cycling Without Age caters for every age and ability and every day, pilots share memories and laughs and sometimes even share some tears.
Founded on the guiding principles of generosity, slowness, relationships, storytelling and with dignity; every ride is free for every passenger and for many a trishaw ride is the highlight of their week.
It’s simplicity at the simplest level – taking someone for a ride on a bicycle. Yet its impact is almost unfathomable.
Using adaptive bicycles, accredited volunteers smash through barriers of ageism, disability, acquired brain injury, loneliness, reduced mobility and being ‘differently abled’ by ‘piloting’ bikes called trishaws or ‘hubs of connection’, often rekindling stories of youth and yesteryear whilst reconnecting passengers with their community and the environment.
Our guests book their rides months in advance and aged care facilities bring busloads of residents to enjoy a ride, laugh and natter.
Cycling Without Age provides three-fold benefits. Guests enjoy fresh air, sunshine, the environment, and a sense of feeling valued once again. Volunteers also benefit from exercise and a sense of contribution through volunteerism.
The community adopts the initiative wherever it is conducted, and a sense of community ownership is quickly ignited and burns brightly.
Diversity and inclusion are embraced with the fleet including two bikes which carry wheelchairs. People with complex disability, who have never experienced a ride on a bicycle relish the experience whilst creating exciting and valued memories with their loved ones.
People suffering dementia or in palliative care, or with chronic illnesses have enjoyed rides in comfort, safety, and style with those they love, often creating cherished happy memories whilst delivering much needed respite.
It is a quiet and simple program.
It’s simply enjoying a mainstream activity such as cycling, however when a non-verbal dementia patient starts singing, everyone listens.
3rd Space (previously 139 Club) has served the community of Brisbane since 1975, working with those who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless. Situated in Brunswick St, Fortitude Valley the doors are open to people 7 days per week to afford them the dignity of chef-prepared nutritious food, a hot shower, laundry facilities and a place to rest, recharge and connect during the day.
With this basic dignity for visitors also comes vital access to medical, mental health, law, tenancy, employment and other services. These services focus on breaking the cycle of homelessness; the mission of the organisation.
Our organisation simply would not function without the consistent expenditure of time and energy from our team of volunteers. The ratio of full-time equivalent staff to volunteers at 3rd Space, 14 to 120, underlines the reliance that 3rd Space has upon its volunteer workforce. This diverse workforce includes:
- university students, retirees and working professionals;
- people of various gender, ethnic and language backgrounds;
- people who have experienced homelessness; and,
- people who have lived experience with some of the various instigators of homelessness, including domestic violence, drug addiction and mental health struggles.
Our volunteers serve in various roles which include:
- café all-rounders;
- donations coordinators;
- data entry officers and admin support and,
- activity facilitators.
Some of the indispensable services provided by our volunteers make all the difference. In 2022, 3rd Space volunteers completed 10,791 hours of cumulative service to meet the needs of our visitors that year. Most importantly, each of our volunteers provide a point of non-judgmental conversation and respect for our visitors. The common thread uniting our volunteers is their passion to assist vulnerable and underprivileged members of our community with what they need as they make their way in very challenging circumstances.
Palliative Care Queensland – Ambulance Wish Qld
Ambulance Wish Queensland, a program of Palliative Care Queensland, is the first in Australia to offer patients with life-limiting conditions the chance to fulfil their final wish. The organisation is based in Brisbane, and the program currently service regions within 150km of Brisbane CBD and Townsville, thanks to dedicated staff and volunteers.
The Ambulance Wish Queensland program was inspired by two Hervey Bay paramedics who took a woman, cared for by her palliative team, to her favourite beach. It was then later modelled after the Netherlands program ‘Stichting Ambulance Wes.’ The charitable program was launched in 2019 by Palliative Care Queensland, at Government House in Brisbane Australia.
To date, 63 final wishes have been fulfilled in the Southeast region and since the launch of the dedicated Townsville Hub, in June 2022, 3 final wishes and 1 collective on-site wish to 12 palliative patients have been fulfilled. The recent expansion to Townsville is evidence of the success of the program and addresses the current needs of other Queensland regions. Particularly given rural and outer remote areas experience additional barriers to receiving quality care at the end of life and rely on local, innovative strategies to help overcome them.
‘It takes a village to care for the dying’ and this Palliative Care program would not be possible without the dedication of volunteers, with over 50 volunteer paramedics, students, nurses, and doctors, contributing to over 600 volunteer hours last financial year. The program collaborates with Hospital and Health Service, Specialist Palliative Care Services, PHN’s and City Councils; and relies heavily on the generosity and support of the wider community and organisations. Countless lives have been positively affected by this program and the ripple effect to the wider community, as evident in social media engagement, reflects the global social movement that endorses compassionate communities.
Orange Sky Australia
Orange Sky exists to positively connect communities through the provision of free mobile laundry, showers and conversation. The focus is on creating a safe, positive and supportive environment for people who are too often ignored or who feel disconnected from the community. Orange Sky volunteers are not social workers or experts on homelessness – they are empathetic listeners and great conversationalists.
Orange Sky volunteers attend a weekly or fortnightly shift, connecting our friends’ (service users) access to free laundry and shower services through our sustainable vans.
In the hour it takes to do a load of laundry, volunteers provide a critical and often overlooked service for those experiencing homelessness – genuine and non-judgmental conversation. It is a simple platform for everyday Queenslanders doing it tough to connect through a chat and leave with dignity.
In 2022, 963 Orange Sky volunteers throughout the Aurukun, Brisbane, Cairns, Dalby, Gold Coast, Lockhart River, Mackay, Moreton Bay, Palm Island, Sunshine Coast, Toowoomba, Townsville and Wagga Wagga communities have supported a whopping 4,631 shifts, contributing to 29,438 hours of genuine and non-judgemental conversation and connection on shift; and 124,821 loads of washing and 3,384 showers for the Queenslanders doing it tough.
With only 50 employees across Australia and New Zealand, Orange Sky simply would not have the reach without the 963 awesome volunteers running over 90 laundry and shower services per week. The impact for people experiencing homelessness, and the importance of free laundry and shower access, is particularly prevalent in Orange Sky’s remote services in Lockhart River and Palm Island where communities are faced with limited access to services, and volunteers have reduced opportunities than in metro regions.
Care Kits for Kids
The Care Kits for Kids Qld team are all volunteers. Together with our community, we provide backpacks (containing new clothing, toiletries, education supplies, book, toys and quilts/wraps) to Queensland children aged 0-17 years in care or crisis. Over 11,200 Queensland children are in crisis or in care.
In 2022 we supplied nearly 1500 Care Kits to children in need. These Care Kits are often the first new things many of these children have owned. Our Care Kits are distributed through Qld Police Child Protection Units, Qld Child Safety, Foster and Kinship Care Organisations, Domestic and Family Violence Services, Indigenous Health Services and School Chaplains, at points of need.
Our Care Kits make a huge difference for both a traumatised child and the officer trying to assist them at this point of need. They are able to offer the child essentials, comforts and small joys, while introducing hope and positivity from this gift created by their community.
We have a large giving community, with Donation Points at Councillor’s and MP’s offices.
We also offer sewing and crafting community groups where we sew clothing, accessories, toys and bags from donated textiles for the Care Kits.
Our charity harnesses the power and love in our much wider community – at all levels – to help children in need by providing purpose, nurturing friendships and connectedness while volunteering time and skills, or offering financial or in-kind support.
Thousands of children who usually have no voice, no choice and no belongings are gifted with Care Kits at a time of great need. Each Care Kit offers a backpack not only of practical and comfort items, but also hope and love – exemplified by the little stuffed fabric pocket heart we put into every Care Kit with a caring message from our community.
The Common Good – Ekka Stawberry Sundae
The Ekka Strawberry Sundae volunteer program is one of the most iconic volunteering programs on the Queensland calendar. Over 2,000 individual volunteers are needed to chop, scoop and serve over 127,000 Ekka Strawberry Sundaes. For nine days in August, The Common Good pivots from a medical research charity, into a huge operation with a crew of over 2,000 volunteers operating 5 strawberry sundae stalls. It is a purely mammoth 9-day event, which takes 7 months of planning and volunteer recruitment to make it a success.
The volunteer program accommodates people from ages 16 and up and for many people, it is their first taste at volunteering. It is considered a fun, safe and impactful way to support the community whilst raising vital funds for medical research.
All profits from the Strawberry Sundae program go on to support life-saving medical research into heart disease, lung disease, mental health and dementia, conditions that sadly affect 90% of Australians.
In 2022, the Ekka returned after a 2-year hiatus due to COVID, and with COVID concerns still in the community, it was critical that volunteers still rallied together to deliver this important program which has life-saving impacts. Despite concerns, after a successful media call to arms across national TV and press, in 2022 there was an increase of +40% in volunteers against 2019, a split of 70% individual and 30% corporates, and 75% of volunteers were new volunteers to The Common Good. This incredible group of volunteers helped support over 3,900 hours of medical research.
The publicity campaign generated 86 pieces of coverage, a reach of 5.8 million people and a value of $1.6 million. This was an incredible way for The Common Good to highlight nationally the critical importance of volunteering in the community.
Jodi has worked with Reef Check Australia for more than 10 years; starting off as a volunteer, then team leader, then manager and now General Manager, and epic coordinator of all things volunteer. Jodi is a super motivational manager. Her enthusiasm for RCA and its goals is infectious. She leads by example and shows great respect to volunteers; nurturing them to be the best they can be.
She openly welcomes feedback and suggestions on how programs can be improved. The volunteers love and respect her, and without her, RCA would not be where it is.
DJ provides immediate ongoing support and coaching to both, Volunteer Supervisors, senior managers and other business stakeholders throughout the organisation in 8 different streams.
These are Lifeline Crisis Support & Lifeline Retails Shops, Family & Disability Services, Blue Care community and residential services, The Wesley Hospital volunteer programs, St Andrews War Memorial Hospital volunteer programs, St Stephens Hospital volunteer programs and Buderim Private volunteer programs.
Over the past 15 years Michael has guided and mentored over 250 Volunteer Adult staff and 1500 Townsville youth, age between 12.5 and 18 years, in a youth development program that focuses not only on providing each individual with the opportunity of a military like experiences, it also provides the Cadet with a variety of personal challenges, team work and leadership skills, self-esteem building and work life skills.
Michael’s influence as a trusted and respected mentor of the volunteer adult staff that support the Army Cadet training program, promotes commitment to the Army Cadet values of Respect-Teamwork- Courage – Initiative.
Domino’s Pizza Enterprises
The day-to-day running of Give for Good is managed by the charity’s General Manager, the only paid employee of the business. The General Manager is supported by a group of volunteers – named The Give Group – who are corporate employees of Domino’s.
Each Give Group member volunteers their time outside of their normal work hours to provide Give for Good support and their expertise within their field of work or industry. The Give Group is made up of representatives from Legal, Finance, Marketing, Communications, and social media.
They also volunteer their time to represent Give for Good at events both internally and externally.
Blackwoods (Gladstone and Rockhampton Branches)
Each year individual Blackwoods branch chooses a selection of community events and charities to support. The Branch come together to support the cause with volunteered work hours, in kind donations, sponsorship of events and raffle prize donations.
The Rockhampton and Gladstone branches support the RACQ CapRescue (RACQ Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service) team with both financial and volunteer support at their fundraising events including Colour Runs, Degustation and Ball events, Christmas Fair, NAIDOC events and Community Open Days.
Clayton Utz has been offering their services and their teams have been volunteering for Coffee Brigade for a number of years. Their teams make sandwiches for the homeless and vulnerable community as well as go out on our van and serve the food to those in need.
Further to this, they provide pro-bono legal services to our organisation which equates to thousands of dollars each year, particularly over the last few years as Coffee Brigade has undergone re-branding and organisational changes. Growth such as this would not have been possible without this support due to the significant costs associated.
Paul starts his week as a volunteer driving instructor on Monday morning at 9.00am. He arrives at PCYC Toowoomba, places his lunch in the fridge, grabs a set of car keys, checks his schedule, prepares the vehicle, then he is off for the day.
Whether it is a new participant who has just started in the program or someone who has finished their logbook and preparing for their drivers licence test, no task or challenge is too great. He usually returns to the office at 12.30pm has a quick bit to eat then it’s back in the vehicle to help another young person.
When 5pm hits and most start winding down for the day, Paul is getting ready to head back out on the road as there is always someone who needs some help with night driving.
At around 7.00pm, Paul returns, parks the car and finally heads home only to return the next day and do it all again. He volunteers with the program 6 days of the week.
Paul said “Through my time as a Driver Mentor, I have seen how volunteering really can bring people together. Often, the young people I am helping are quite shy when they begin driving, but as time goes on, they become more confident both in their driving skills and themselves and start to come out of their shell. It’s amazing to watch this happen and know you played a small part in helping build their confidence.”
Jennet is the driven and passionate unpaid volunteer manager behind Andy’s Place, a Brisbane-based community meal that serves 4000+ meals annually.
Volunteering 16hrs+ every week, Jennet creates a welcoming space for guests to connect over a home-cooked meal. She is not only a friendly face but a trusted companion to these guests.
Jennet is hands-on, paying close attention to the small details that make Andy’s Place special. Whether washing tablecloths, designing the weekly menu, sending newsletters, or making check-in calls to volunteers, Jennet goes above and beyond in every way.
Jennet volunteers as Board Chair for Mummy’s Wish. There she uses her expertise as a lawyer, company director and past teacher to help the charity support mums with cancer.
Maud’s role as a volunteer never stops. She fills many definitions of a volunteer including formal, informal, episodic, digital, social action, governance and project based.
But she is also a silent achiever and prefers to be behind the scenes. Day and night paid and unpaid she is a great connector and passionate driver of change for a more inclusive society.
She volunteered for many years before gaining employment and has not stopped since. Gaining employment simply meant that her days became longer. However, she also has the ability to bring all parts of her life together seemlessly: work, volunteering, family, and friends. She does not separate these roles but sees them holistically, with each role equally important in building better communities.
She is now recognised as being the person to go to in Toowoomba if you want to know something, know someone, know where to go or get something done. She is a model for volunteering on many levels and carries the volunteer flag for so many outcomes including employment, connection, social engagement, meeting new friends, improved self-esteem, learning new skills and bringing fun into her life.
Previous Queensland Volunteer Awards
The Queensland Volunteer awards are a time to celebrate the volunteering sector and all those who dedicate their time, energy and resources to improving peoples lives and protecting our environment.
As an organisation, we are very proud of the ongoing dedication of volunteers and volunteer managers. It is an honour to witness so many individuals come together to work towards the betterment of our communities.
We would like to share with you Snippets from the Queensland Volunteering Awards from years gone by and look forward to celebrating with you in 2024 and beyond!
For assistance with nominations, please contact us on 07 3002 7600 or email@example.com