During National Volunteer Week the Queensland Volunteering Awards are held to honour the inspiring endeavours of hundreds of volunteers, volunteer managers, volunteer-involving organisations and businesses that invest in employee volunteering programs, who bring about positive change in our community.
Awards were presented across six key categories:
- Volunteer of the Year Award
- Youth Volunteering Award
- Lifetime Contribution to Volunteering Award
- Excellence in Volunteer Management Award
- Volunteering Impact Award
- Corporate Volunteering 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. To view photos from the event please click here for our Facebook Gallery.
Queensland Lifetime Contribution to Volunteering Award
Recipient – Jim McMurdo
Jim has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to volunteering, especially in supporting victims of cancer. As a survivor himself, and having lost close family, Jim knows too well the impact cancer can have. With a commitment spanning over 50 years, Jim is Cancer Council Queensland’s longest-serving volunteer. Since 1970, he has been a driving force behind Cancer Council’s fundraising efforts and its ability to finance research, early detection and cancer support services. Jim, joined by his wife Win, has been a strong advocate for volunteering and has created a tradition of volunteering throughout his family.
Finalist – Bill Peacock
Bill contracted polio at a very young age, leaving him hospitalised and isolated from his family. After being discharged, Bill went into a full and vibrant career that saw him awarded the Order of Australia medal. As time passed, the late effects of polio took hold, affecting Bill as it affects hundreds of thousands of polio survivors.
Bill has relentlessly campaigned to raise the awareness of Australia’s community of polio survivors and their needs. He has performed fundraising efforts, advocacy work and has provided support to people living with a disability. People who know Bill have spoken of this motivational, positive attitude and his love of helping others.
Finalist – Bruce Muller
The length and breadth of Bruce’s volunteering commitment is to be commended, spanning almost 27 years with the Returned and Services League alone. Though Bruce’s volunteering experience is extensive, he sees himself as just part of the team at Rowes Bay RSL. He assists in a wide variety of ways, including in the café, taking residents shopping, running social activities, or simply by lending an ear to someone in need.
Getting his start supporting veterans in the community, Bruce’s long volunteering service has seen many changes – including developing IT skills to support residents in new ways. Bruce and his dedication are an asset to the Rowes Bay team.
Queensland Youth Volunteer of the Year Award
Recipient – Evelyn Robinson
Evelyn is passionate about supporting those who are vulnerable and at risk, donating her time to many charities and causes. Her volunteering work sees her helping with fundraising, wrapping gifts, sorting donations and setting up furniture for those in need. Evelyn has volunteered for an extraordinary number of organisations for her age, including Young Care, Hand in Hand Community Projects and the Wesley Mission Red Bag Appeal.
Evelyn has taken on extra responsibility, including being a team leader for Rize Up, and has provided meals to the homeless with the Redcliffe Breakfast Club. In every setting, Evelyn treats others with respect, kindness, and always with a smile on her face.
Finalist – Jessica Hernandez
Jessica’s passion for volunteering started as a young child and she is described as always being the first to put her hand up to help others. Volunteering for Scouts Queensland for 14 years, Jessica has been a leader at multiple scout groups and has also assisted the special-needs Nursery Road Scout Group.
During COVID-19, Jessica volunteered for the Red Cross outreach program, making welfare calls to those at risk of social isolation. Jessica has also given her time to Lutheran Youth Queensland as a youth leader. Finding time around her studies, Jessica has also contributed to events as a volunteer, including CMC Rocks, the Ipswich Show, and as events convenor for her college.
Finalist – Kareem Baba
Kareem is devoted to assisting people in need and helping the community through his charitable work. Through the Multicultural Social Network, Kareem has assisted in fundraising and providing supplies to victims of bushfires. He has also supported students in the Gold Coast region, especially those at risk of isolation, by providing groceries and hot meals to people in the community.
Kareem’s dedication to volunteering has previously earned him the Gold Coast Youth Volunteer of the Year award.
Queensland Corporate Volunteering Award
Recipient – TechnologyOne Foundation
The TechnologyOne Foundation was founded in 2016 by TechnologyOne: Australia’s largest enterprise software company. The foundation aims to make a significant impact and difference to underprivileged and at-risk youths in communities by empowering them to transform their lives and create pathways for success.
Through the foundation, TechnologyOne employees are regularly volunteer with The Salvation Army, The Smith Family, The School of St Jude, The Fred Hollows Foundation, Plan International, The Big Issue and others. TechnologyOne regularly encourages their employees to take time out to volunteer during November and December to support Christmas hamper activities.
Finalist – Auto & General Insurance Company Ltd.
Since 2007, Auto & General Insurance have supported Kawana Surf Club with financial contributions, in-kind assistance and volunteering hours. The team from Auto & General have helped upgrade computers and data servers for the club, as well as staffing their Christmas gift wrapping stall each year. All staff at Auto & General Insurance Company – over a thousand of them – are provided two days to volunteer with a cause of their choosing. This program enables staff to support a number of community organisations, with many assisting the Kawana Surf Club and the work they do to keep the beach safe.
Queensland Excellence in Volunteer Management Award
Recipient – Tania Taylor
Tania is described as an outstanding volunteer coordinator, working with the team at Protect All Children Today. Supported by Tania, PACT volunteers have helped more than 27,000 child victims of crime across Queensland as they navigate the often-stressful court process.
Tania is on call at all hours, problem solving and supporting volunteers. Outside of her role as volunteer coordinator, Tania volunteers herself, assisting families as they give evidence. She juggles multiple responsibilities, including volunteer recruitment and matching volunteers with the right family. Tania’s hard work and dedication reflect the positive impact she has on the lives of volunteers and victims.
Finalist – Moroni Pugh
Moroni manages both the Emergency Relief and Community Meal volunteer programs at Wesley Mission Queensland, also known as ‘Brisbane Relief Hub’. Moroni has persevered through a challenging year and maintained the high standards he is known for, supporting the team as they assist people who are homeless, escaping domestic violence, or rehabilitating after prison.
Despite a cut in funding, Moroni has used his managerial skills and collaborative approach to enable the Emergency Relief team to enhance the service it provides to the community. Outside of Wesley Mission Queensland, Moroni also finds time to study and contribute to several local groups, including within the Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Maori communities.
Finalist – Jodi Salmond
Jodi is a marine researcher, team leader and citizen science trainer. Joining Reef Check Australia in 2010, Jodi is passionate about protecting the climate and helping people develop their own connection to our precious environment.
Underwater, she trains divers in global reef health monitoring protocols; above it, she engages the community through hands-on research, education, and personal development to encourage everyone to become the best versions of themselves and to look after the planet. Jodi adds passion, energy and commitment to everything she does, demonstrating both strong leadership and collaboration.
Volunteering Impact Award
Recipient – Share the Dignity – Qld Team
Share the Dignity supports Women and Girls in need, across Australia, providing them with essential period products and other care. They support those who are experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness, domestic violence or financial hardship. Starting only six years ago, Share the Dignity has already built a passionate team of over 6,000 volunteers Australia-wide.
Volunteers are the backbone of Share the Dignity. Without their commitment to supporting women and girls in their community, Share the Dignity would not be able to run their valuable campaigns, including Dignity Drives, installing Dignity Vending Machines and the ‘It’s in the Bag’ Christmas appeal.
Finalist – PCYC Intergrated Program
Since its establishment in 1948, PCYC Queensland has focused on giving children a great start, keeping Queenslanders healthy, and keeping communities safe. Over 2,000 volunteers in more than 100 roles support PCYC programs across the state, including driver mentors and youth coaches.
PCYC’s network of volunteers provide invaluable assistance in delivering the three pillars that underpin all programs and activities: youth development, crime prevention and community engagement. The positive impact of PCYC’s volunteers are what makes it all possible.
Finalist – Habitat Brisbane
Operating for over 30 years, Habitat Brisbane involves 165 groups with a network of over 1,600 regular volunteers. Supplemented by an additional 3,100 drop-in volunteers, Habitat Brisbane works with local communities on habitat restoration projects in parks, bushlands, wetlands and waterways across the city.
Managing 582 hectares of bushland and waterways, it is one of the largest bushcare programs in the country. In 2011, Habitat Brisbane was strengthened by combining its efforts with the Creek Catchment program and the Wildlife Conservation Partnerships program. Habitat Brisbane’s success is driven by community members who volunteer their time and passion towards habitat restoration.
Finalist – Buddhist Education Services for Schools
The Buddhist Education Services for Schools was founded in 2007 to bring together Buddhist volunteers who were teaching Buddhism independently. BESS has allowed these teachers to teach under the RI program of Queensland Education Department with accredited curriculum and lesson plans. BESS actively recruits, trains and supports volunteers to teach Buddhism in primary schools. With growing interest in Buddhist education, BESS has a waiting list of schools who would like to offer Buddhist RI lessons.
Queensland Volunteer of the Year Award
Recipient – Melinda Jackson
Melinda joined Surf Life Saving Queensland in 1980, when women were first included in active lifesaving duties. Led by the example of volunteers like Melinda, there are now approximately 80,000 female Surf Life Saving members nationally. Melinda is an active patrolling member to this day, having assisted Ellis Beach, Northcliffe and Kurrawa Surf Lifesaving Clubs. She has a total of 137 lifesaving awards, which reflect her extensive knowledge, skills and ability to give back to the community in a proactive and positive manner. Melinda has been a Trainer and Assessor for over 30 years and a coach for over 20 years. Melinda epitomises the spirit of lifesaving by ‘helping others in need’.
Finalist – Ep Lammers
Ep is a long-standing volunteer with the PCYC Braking the Cycle program, teaching disadvantaged youth how to drive. Starting with the Beenleigh PCYC, Ep has been regularly contributing more than 30 hours per week and has logged over 7,000 hours in total. Ep’s passion is to work with the community and support young people in their goal of gaining a driver’s licence, confidence and independence.
Ep’s commitment to volunteering has helped PCYC Queensland teach more than 350 young people how to drive. In addition to his driving and safety knowledge, Ep is known for his mentorship and pastoral care, sometimes providing as many life lessons as driving lessons.
Finalist – Russell Wantling
If you ask Russell, he’ll say he’s “just a truck driver”, but Russell’s volunteering efforts to support his community go above and beyond. In 2019, motivated by seeing a family carting water by hand, Russell started Granite Belt Water Relief. This charity has since provided millions of litres of water to drought-affected communities that would otherwise go without.
When Russell saw that the needs of the Granite Belt went beyond water, he extended the services that Granite Belt Water Relief provides, sourcing and supplying food and clothing to rural areas. Russell has built up a volunteering team and brought together a community through his exemplary actions.
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 2021 and beyond!