Volunteer Recognition Awards

VRA Logo

Every year a committed and largely unseen army of volunteers give their time and skills to enhance and uplift the life of the community within the City of Ryde.

The annual Volunteer Recognition Awards aim to acknowledge the contribution made by these unsung heroes. This year all nominee’s and their nominators will be invited to the Awards Ceremony which will be held at the stunning Curzon Hall.


Nominations for the 2023 Volunteer Recognition Awards are now open and will close at midnight on Wednesday 5 April 2023

How to Nominate

To nominate someone you think has made an outstanding contribution to the community, complete and submit our Online Nomination form or download a nomination form(PDF, 141KB) .

Nominees are not required to be City of Ryde Residents, but the majority of their volunteering must take place within the LGA.

Before completing the Nomination form view the Conditions of Entry.

Nominations close on Wednesday 5 April 2023, midnight.

Nominate Online

For more information please contact Events Team on 9952 8222.

2022 Volunteer Winners


2022 Volunteer Award Winners - (L-R): Young Volunteer of the Year Abby Hill, Volunteer of the Year Sheena Smith, Group Volunteer of the Year Stryder Social and Shopping Bus Volunteers

Volunteer of the Year | Sheena Smith

Sheena Smith has volunteered for Riding for the Disabled in Marsfield for more than 15 years. Sheena leads a dedicated team to care for the horses involved in the program as well as assist riders with their requirements. Her calm demeanour and wealth of knowledge has been of great benefit to both horses and riders involved in the program. In addition to her work with horses and riders, she helps coordinate volunteer rosters and serves as the centre’s key communicator for its volunteer days.

Sheena also helps promote the Riding for Disabled centre throughout the local community, talking to potential clients such as schools about the benefits the program can deliver each participant. Sheena is often the first to arrive at the stables, and invariably the last to leave. Her invaluable contribution to Riding for the Disabled has allowed the program to thrive, even through the challenges created by COVID-19. Recently, Riding for the Disabled celebrated its 10th birthday open day and Sheena was instrumental in ensuring the day was a huge success.

She is a true local legend. Ladies and gentlemen, please put your hands together for the 2022 City of Ryde Volunteer of the Year – Sheena Smith.

Young Volunteer of the Year | Abby Hill

Abby Hill volunteers for a number of care and disability services throughout the City of Ryde and beyond. For the past four years she has been involved in helping organise the Everybody Dance Now Discos, which are held up to five times a year for members of the community living with disabilities. In addition, Abby assists the Royal Rehab lifestyle choir with rehearsals and performances, including at the annual Carols on the Common event. She also volunteers for Sailability an organisation which supports people living with disability to enjoy the experience of sailing.

Above all else, Abby was instrumental in helping people living with a disability stay connected and engaged during the COVID-19 pandemic. She facilitated Everybody Dance Now Discos online via Zoom and created social media accounts to keep members connected. She also kept in phone contact with a number of people who either lived alone or were struggling with social isolation during the prolonged lockdowns. As you can tell, Abby is a true giver and passionate about those members of the community with special needs.

Group Volunteer of the Year | Stryder Social and Shopping Bus Volunteers

The Stryder Social and Shopping bus volunteers are made up of a team of six dedicated community members. The shopping bus volunteers travel with clients on the Stryder bus to Macquarie Shopping Centre twice a week. They assist the driver with the door-to-door pick up, stay at the centre with the clients and help them with their shopping, then do the same for the return trip.

The social bus volunteers, meanwhile, accompany clients on Stryder’s day trips. These trips are loved by all who take part as they offer the chance to get out of home and see Greater Sydney and its surrounds. The clients who use the Stryder service, many of whom are frail or elderly but still live in their own homes, greatly appreciate the efforts of the volunteers as it enables them to continue to live independently and lead happy and well-balanced lives.

2022 Community Heroes

In 2022 we introduced a new Award Category of ‘Community Heroes’. The heroes may have contributed in the past or present or may no longer be with us. Individuals can be nominated in both the Volunteer or Young Volunteer of the Year categories and the Community Hero category or in the Community Hero Category alone.

Photo of the 2022 volunteer awards community heroes

2022 Community Heroes Award Winners

The 2022 City of Ryde Community Heroes Award winners are listed below. We look forward to seeing their names on the new ‘Community Heroes Honour Board’ in Council chambers.

  • Leasa Clark
  • Kathy Tracy
  • Barry Parsons
  • Helen Pegler
  • Barry Budd
  • Rochelle Keshishian
  • Kedarnath Pagaddinnimath
  • Philip Brown
  • Shaun Warden
  • Jenny Nocom

2022 Volunteer Recognition Awards Ceremony Photos

2022 Volunteer Recognition Awards