Northern Region ALS board member Helen Brown has been named the 2020 NSW Volunteer of the Year for the Upper North Coast region.
Northern Region ALS board member Helen Brown has been named the 2020 NSW Volunteer of the Year for the Upper North Coast region.

Yamba volunteer takes out top prize in regional awards

A LIFELONG commitment to volunteering and to her local Aboriginal community by providing professional and personal support and advocacy for people in need has seen Yamba woman Helen Brown named the 2020 NSW Volunteer of the Year for the Upper North Coast region.

Helen is a board member of the Aboriginal Legal Service North Coast Region, as well as being a committee member for the Wirringa Baiya Aboriginal Women’s Legal Centre.

She also finds time to volunteer for the Justice Advocacy Service and attends the Police Aboriginal Consultative Committee, Aboriginal Community Consultative Committee with Acmena Youth Justice Centre, and Clarence Valley Community Drug Action Team. She provides individual support wherever it is needed to members of the Aboriginal community – writing resumes, providing meals, clothes, transport to medical appointments and personal family support during difficult legal procedures.

Three generations of Helen's family are living examples of the this year's NAIDOC theme, Because of Her We Can. Rear, from left: Liz Kavanagh, Helen Brown, Rebecca Burgess, Kayla Baird. Front, from left: Sharni Morris, Jessica Morris and Santana Laurie-Daley.
Three generations of Helen's family are living examples of the this year's NAIDOC theme, Because of Her We Can. Rear, from left: Liz Kavanagh, Helen Brown, Rebecca Burgess, Kayla Baird. Front, from left: Sharni Morris, Jessica Morris and Santana Laurie-Daley.

This afternoon around 100 special guests, volunteers and community leaders took part in the first virtual event to recognise and celebrate the region’s volunteers.

The NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards are an annual program run by The Centre for Volunteering which has grown to become one of the largest celebrations of volunteering across the country.

Regional finalists for the awards are announced at 25 ceremonies throughout NSW and are invited to the Gala State Ceremony for the announcement of the 2020 NSW Volunteer of the Year.

The 2020 NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards are supported by principal partners the NSW Department of Communities and Justice and ClubsNSW, which represents the state’s 1,400 not-for-profit clubs.

The Centre for Volunteering CEO Gemma Rygate said volunteers like Helen were inspirations to the community.

“Volunteers from across every region of NSW have continued to give their time, energy and compassion in the face of enormous adversity over the past 12 months,” she said.

“This is what the Australian spirit is all about. Helping others. Helping your community and never giving up.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the region’s volunteers and their incredible resilience and spirit. We are just so glad that technology allowed us to still come together to say thank you.”