Banyule City Council celebrated its local volunteers at the 2011 community volunteer awards at the great hall of the Centre Ivanhoe last month. I was pleased to attend and host a table of volunteers. Thirteen winners were named across five categories and were presented with their prizes by master of ceremonies Dave O’Neil. This year 47 organisations and individuals were nominated in over 80 groups, and 430 guests, mostly volunteers, attended the celebration dinner. I am sure all honourable members would share in their commitment to building stronger communities and promoting active citizenship and would recognise volunteers as an essential element of a vibrant, healthy and connected community.
There were five recipients of the volunteer of the year award: Rosemary Vecchies, Dietmar Mueller, Antonietta Filippi, Uma Vijia and Ahmed Tohow.
I would like to make some comments regarding those recipients. Ahmed Tohow has volunteered his time to set up a dugsu, which is a Somali homework club. The dugsu runs each Wednesday and Sunday at Olympic Village Primary School and attracts up to 150 students.
Dietmar Mueller has been involved with the Viewbank Tennis Club for over 20 years and has held the position of president for the last 10 years. Dietmar is responsible for the everyday running of the club and spends between 5 and 10 hours each week chairing committee meetings, organising working bees and attending meetings with the local council.
Rosemary Vecchies works with Heidelcare to assist families in need of transport, shopping, family support, emergency home maintenance and visitation. Rosemary has volunteered with Heidelcare since 1992, taking on the role of secretary and roster coordinator. I commend all the volunteers in Banyule.