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ACT Volunteer of the Year Award Winners


ACT Volunteer of the Year - Jeanette Purkis

Jeanette has enthusiastically facilitated a women’s support group for Autism Asperger ACT since 2011. In addition, Jeannette also mentors women and girls on the Autism spectrum and gives presentations on behalf of Autism Asperger ACT focusing on building the strengths of people with autism and overcoming barriers. Participants of her women’s group describe it as a ‘haven’ and ‘the best thing in my life’. Jeanette’s nominator describes her as a force for good within the Canberra community. Jeanette is a role model for people with autism and her lived experience brings an invaluable perspective to the work she performs.


ACT Volunteer Team of the Year - Arthritis ACT Warm Water Exercise Team

The Warm Water Exercise Team manage the administration and delivery of the Warm Water Program. The pool supervisors help to create a community atmosphere at every session, and this is one of the reasons participants keep coming back: each session is a ‘community of its own’ making them feel welcomed and included. Hydrotherapy is a proven method of pain relief and last year the Program held over 350 sessions across five pools in Canberra and this provided support to over 3000 people. Participants of the Program are able to move with less pain, enabling them to get more out of life as a result. In addition, the volunteer team advocates tirelessly for the benefits of hydrotherapy.


- 2016 ACT Volunteer of the Year Awards - Biographies of Winners

To view the biographies of all of the category winners for the 2016 ACT Volunteer of the Year Awards download the following: 

2016 ACT Volunteer of the Year Award Bio Booklet 2016 ACT Volunteer of the Year Award Bio Booklet (221 KB)



ACT Volunteer of the Year - Sophie Hope

Sophie’s volunteer service is remarkably multifaceted. Her commitments span telephone crisis support with Lifeline, youth reference work with Headspace, foster caring of animals for the RSPCA and membership of the ACT Refugee Action Committee. Sophie facilitated a focus group for the Youth Coalition of the ACT in 2014 and was one of a panel of speakers at an event held at the ACT Legislative Assembly in April 2015. She is also a full time student at Australia’s National University. In all her volunteering roles Sophie shows leadership, creativity, persistence and a willingness to work and share with others for the benefit of all.

ACT Volunteer Team of the Year - TADACT Skilled Volunteers Project

Over 60 skilled volunteers donate their time, knowledge and expertise, working with staff to fulfil TADACT’s mission in enabling people with disabilities to live more independent lives. TADACT stands for Technical Aid for the Disabled ACT. The volunteer team includes professional engineers, architects, technicians, allied health therapists and tradespeople. They work independently in home workshops, supervised by TADACT Project Coordinators. And they deliver over 200 unique, customised, assistive technology equipment solutions per year, enabling some of our community’s most disadvantaged people to afford purpose designed equipment, resulting in increased independence, quality of life and inclusion.

- 2015 ACT Volunteer of the Year Awards - Biographies of Winners

To view the biographies of all of the category winners for the 2015 ACT Volunteer of the Year Awards download the following

2015 ACT Volunteer of the Year Awards - Biographies of Winners 2015 ACT Volunteer of the Year Awards - Biographies of Winners (185 KB)





ACT Volunteer of the Year - Michael D’Elboux

Kulture Break works to empower young people through engaging them in the fine arts, with a community arts focus.  Since its inception in 2002 Michael has been the volunteer backbone for Kulture Break.  In his role as operations manager he gives freely of his time, business acumen and leadership, including for the staging of community expos in Canberra and for interstate and international tours showcasing the talents of our young people. Michael’s active involvement and service is an excellent role model for the next generation. Michael was nominated by Kulture Break.

ACT Volunteer Team of the Year - St. Nick’s Young Carer Program

St. Nick’s provides free respite and recreation to over 100 Young Carers in the ACT region through two holiday camps and 12 weekend activities a year for young people from 9-17 years of age. A Young Carer is a young person who cares for a family member with an illness, disability, substance dependency or is frail aged. 40 volunteers under 25 (known as ‘oldies’) organise, facilitate and run every aspect of the Program, including fundraising. These volunteer oldies are all studying or working full time. They are an excellent example of how young people under 25 can fit volunteer service into their busy schedules and be positive role models to the even younger. St Nick’s Young Carer Program were nominated by the St Vincent de Paul Society.
To view the bio's of all category winners and list of nominees download the document below.


ACT Volunteer of the Year - Peter Russell

For ten years, Peter’s volunteer work with the YMCA of Canberra Sailing Club has provided untold opportunities for people with physical disabilities to enjoy the exhilaration and liberation of free movement on water, through participation in social and competitive sailing – locally, interstate and overseas, including at World Championships and the Paralympic Games. Peter has adapted ten sail boats for disabled sailors and attends to the rigging of boats during the sailing season to enable disabled sailors to compete with able-bodied sailors. Peter’s volunteering also includes working as a Club official chairing the protest committee. Peter’s dedicated work with the YMCA’s disabled sailors takes commitment, perseverance, patience and selflessness.

ACT Volunteer Team of the Year - Lanyon Youth and Community Volunteers

This team of 20 volunteers support their community through bus transportation of young people across the ACT, working at the Lanyon Food Hub Emergency Relief Centre, working in the Lanyon Ladle community soup kitchen and through assisting with child care. They also actively participate in forums exploring key issues for their community, such as people’s public spaces, homelessness strategies, a strategic plan for crime prevention in the Lanyon region and the bus interchange development at Conder. These volunteers contribute significantly to the sense of social connectedness and collective ownership and to the social cohesion of the Lanyon community.

Click here to download a copy of the biographies of the Category Winners for the 2013 ACT Volunteer of the Year Awards


ACT Volunteer of the Year - Mary Webb

For over 10 years Dr Mary Webb has provided invaluable volunteer service to those people in the Canberra community with Multiple Sclerosis. As a person with MS herself, she has brought understanding of chronic conditions and a 'can do' attitude to every service and program with which she has been involved. Mary has served on various Multiple Scerosis organisations and advisory bodies over the years and is currently the convenor of the ACT's People with Multiple Sclerosis Group and is a telephone Peer Support Counsellor.

Mary's positive attitude impacts on every person she meets. She is a typical 'go to' person when someone needs advice, referral to services or a friendly ear. She is also good at fundraising, organising conferences and communicating to Governments on behalf of people with MS.

ACT Volunteer Team of the Year - ACT Adult Migrant English Program Home Tutor Scheme

Up to 150 active volunteer tutors make up the Team working within the Home Tutor Scheme. Each volunteer home tutor is matched with one or more people with English as a second language. Tutors assist people from different cultures and having widely differing levels of literacy. Often the tutor acts as a conduit between the student and the wider community – with tutor help participants learn to drive, look for work, visit local attractions and perhaps become volunteers themselves.


ACT Volunteer of the Year - Jeanie Bruce

Jeanie was the winner of the Community Care and Social Support category in the ACT Volunteer of the Year Awards as well as winning the ACT Volunteer of the Year 2011. Jeanie is described by her colleagues as a truly inspirational volunteer. She offers her vital counselling service- which often involves saving lives- without expectation of any public applause or recognition at great personal sacrifice.

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