Worthy locals recognised in Volunteer of the Year awards

South Western Sydney Volunteer of the Year Jahin Tanvir from Bardia. Picture: supplied
South Western Sydney Volunteer of the Year Jahin Tanvir from Bardia. Picture: supplied

Some of the region's most deserving people have been recognised in the 2021 Volunteer of the Year Awards.

Bardia's Jahin Tanvir was named the overall South Western Sydney Volunteer of the Year, in addition to being named Young Volunteer of the Year, while Thirlmere's Doreen Lyon was crowned Senior Volunteer of the Year and Spring Farm's Benjamin Scott received the Adult Volunteer of the Year accolade.

Cohesive Community Advisory Group from Oran Park was named Volunteer Team of the Year.

Mr Tanvir said it was humbling to receive the recognition.

"It was a massive honour to say the least," the 19-year-old said.

"It's been a very tumultuous year or two, so continuing to volunteer and elevating the need for volunteers has given me a lot of fulfillment and contentment.

"I'm massively grateful to the volunteer organisations I've been part of and the young people I've worked with.

"This is for them, their continous efforts and supports, more than any individual accolade."

The University of Canberra optometry student is involved with more volunteer organisations than most people have heard of, including Headspace, the Multicultural Youth Affairs Network, World Vision, Red Cross and the United Nations.

He was one of ten 'young leaders' featured on the Consumers Health Forum of Australia, the Community Engagement Officer at Oaktree (Australia's largest youth-led organisation) and is a research commissioner for the Wellbeing Health and Youth Commission.

Mr Tanvir started his volunteer work as he felt unsatistfied with the "study, work, go to sleep" cycle of his first year of university.

"There were so many issues I cared about, especially with young people, and I wanted to pursue them further," he said.

"I firstly started volunteering a few hours a week, but then more doors opened up and it's become a massive passion and massive part of my lifestyle and my identity."

Doreen Lyon hard at work at Wollondilly Heritage Centre. Picture: supplied

Doreen Lyon hard at work at Wollondilly Heritage Centre. Picture: supplied

Ms Lyon, 81, was recognised for her work with the Wollondilly Heritage Centre since its inception in 1988.

She said the honour was not just for her, but the whole team and she'd loved devoting her time to the museum.

"It's a very interesting career," Ms Lyon said.

"You meet lots of people and you learn a lot of different things - I've learnt computer graphics, oral history, film-making."

Ms Lyon said the Wollondilly Heritage Centre - located on Edward Street, The Oaks - would house five exhibitions at any one time, and it was her task to design them.

She said her curiosity about people who had come before her drove her passion and interest in preserving history.

Ms Lyon encouraged other shire locals to search Wollondilly history, and the first step was visiting the museum (once restrictions have lifted).

Mr Scott was recognised for his work with St John Ambulance, in roles such as nurse, staff officer, Assistant Commissioner, zone leader, state council member and parademic.

Mr Scott was an incident commander during the 2015 Cyclone Marcia event in Queensland and led the emergency management team for the NSW bushfire season of 2019-2020.

The impressive local has clocked up more than 7500 volunteer hours.

The Cohesive Community Advisory Group, a division of Camden Council, was recognised for its work to ensure everyone feels like they belong.

Most of the group's members - who represent Nigerian, Greek, Indian, Kenyan, Spanish, Pacific Islander and more cultures - come from migrant/refugee backgrounds.