The winners of Wyndham City’s 2019 Community Volunteer Awards have been chosen after weeks of independent external reviews.
Wyndham City Mayor, Cr Mia Shaw said the Community Volunteer Awards were an opportunity to recognise and thank those who contributed their time and energy for the good of the community.
The category winners will be acknowledged for their achievements at a Gala Awards Presentation evening being held on Friday 16th August where the honour of Citizen of the Year will be awarded to one of the individual category winners, in recognition of a person who has made a particularly outstanding contribution.
“The Community Engagement award was given to Erum Ali for building welcoming and inclusive communities,” Cr Shaw said.
“Since settling in Wyndham in 2015, Erum has volunteered in a range of roles which have contributed to building welcoming and inclusive communities.”
“Initially, Erum’s passion for volunteering saw her travelling outside the municipality to coordinate monthly lunches for Open Table in Fawkner, where surplus food from local businesses was used to prepare free meals for residents.”
“Erum continued feeding the people of Wyndham by volunteering as a coordinator for the Welcome Dinner Project. In that role, she helped deliver more than 50 volunteer activities including dinners, picnics, training sessions and membership drive stalls across the western region. These activities helped new migrants, refugees and asylum seekers meet and form friendships with established residents.”
“The Arts, Culture or Tourism award goes to George Donaldson, who spent 15 years volunteering at Werribee Visitor Information Centre, as well as other social support programs like Lunch with the Bunch.
“Over the years, George has provided excellent frontline customer service to visitors in the Wyndham area and shared his knowledge of the many wonderful destinations and experiences available in Wyndham.”
“Young Volunteer of the Year is Emily Lacy, an outstanding 21-year-old who has demonstrated dedication in her volunteer roles as coach and committee member for the Hoppers Crossing Netball Association.”
“Since 2016, Emily has coached the Under 13s netball team, has been actively involved in supporting the Net-Set-Go skills development program for young children, and has regularly served as the First Aid officer.”
“Winner of the Community Health and Wellbeing category is Roger Vistarini, who has dedicated his time to Dreambuilders Transformations, a men’s residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre in Hoppers Crossing.”
“Roger has volunteered extensive hours every week over the past four years to help create a safe and supportive environment for recovery.”
“In the Environment and Sustainability category, Lisa Field came out on top for building environmental and sustainability awareness in Wyndham.”
“As a dynamic member of the Werribee River Association, she has organised and supported a range of activities designed to improve the health of the Werribee River catchment area. She has also founded Love Our Street 3030, a monthly litter collection group, and Transition Wyndham, which focuses on building a resilient, connected and sustainable local community.”
“In the Sports and Recreation area, Gaurav Malhotra won the award for demonstrating exceptional commitment as a volunteer with Point Cook Cricket Club for the past seven years”.
“Community Group of the Year goes to Headspace Werribee Youth Advocacy Group for making a significant contribution to improving the health outcomes of young people in Wyndham.”
“The group partnered with the Student Representative Council at Tarneit College to identify the mental health and wellbeing needs of their students and improve the support offered to them.”
“Volunteers keep our local sporting or community groups running, care for our environment, contribute to art and culture, build engagement and connection between diverse groups of people, and support the health and wellbeing of others.”
“The contributions of each one of these individuals helps make our community a better, more vibrant, inclusive and welcoming place for all of us.”