Finalists revealed for Volunteer Recognition Awards 2014

Dave Walker, Trent Zuidland and Mark Cartledge (Ballarat Fire Brigade), Helen Bath (Voice FM), Elly Green (Wendouree West Exodus Community), in front, and Peter Kervarec (art sponsor), Geoff Sharp (United Way CEO), Keith Waugh (Wendouree West Exodus Community), Ange Bridges (United Way), behind. PICTURE: JEREMY BANNISTER

Dave Walker, Trent Zuidland and Mark Cartledge (Ballarat Fire Brigade), Helen Bath (Voice FM), Elly Green (Wendouree West Exodus Community), in front, and Peter Kervarec (art sponsor), Geoff Sharp (United Way CEO), Keith Waugh (Wendouree West Exodus Community), Ange Bridges (United Way), behind. PICTURE: JEREMY BANNISTER

UNITED Way chief executive officer Geoff Sharp says volunteers are the "core of the community" and this year's Volunteer Recognition Awards are an opportunity to highlight their true value to Ballarat.

In the lead up to the gala awards evening on May 17, judges and sponsors met at the Regent Cinemas on Thursday morning to announce the finalists.

"The idea is to give profile and recognition to volunteers within the community," Mr Sharp said. 

"Without volunteers our community would stop."

Organisers recently asked residents to nominate volunteers doing remarkable things in the community and the finalists were selected from nine categories spanning youth and art to health and sport.

Mr Sharp said although the community was growing, actual levels of volunteerism were dropping and this was a challenge for Ballarat.

"The arts wouldn't happen, events wouldn't happen, sports clubs wouldn't happen, even things like elections wouldn't happen without volunteers," Mr Sharp said.

"Often times, it's only when you get those major emergencies for instance that suddenly everyone's aware of the CFA and the amazing work they do or the SES or rural ambulance volunteers," Mr Sharp said.

"We wanted to also recognise everyone who is contributing year-round...that they're not falling through the gaps."

He said there were more than 35,000 volunteers in Ballarat and the finalists were just a small representation of all the people who volunteered.

The winners will be announced during the Volunteer Recognition Awards gala at the Regent Cinemas on Saturday, May 17.

www.unitedwayballarat.org.au

THE FINALISTS

The Courier COMMUNITY SERVICE award - individual

Bill Reynolds - Ballarat And District Community Support Register

Helen Bath - Voice FM

Liz Charles - Friends of Learmonth

The Courier COMMUNITY SERVICE award - group or organisation

Wendouree West Exodus Leadership Team

Ballarat Regional Multicultural Council

Foster Carers - CAFS Ballarat

Sovereign Hill HEALTH AND CARE award - individual

Garry West - Positive Ageing Committee - City of Ballarat

Gordon Williamson - Bowel Scan Program - Rotary Club Ballarat South

Melanie Hill - Nazareth House

Sovereign Hill HEALTH AND CARE award - group or organisation

Parent Place

Wendouree West Exodus Leadership Team

Berry Street Foster Carers

Australian Catholic University Ballarat EDUCATION award - individual

Rupert Russell - L2P Ballarat

Tony Davidson - Rode RAGE (Ride Against Greenhouse Emissions)

Atrel Turner - All secondary schools in Central Highlands region

Australian Catholic University Ballarat EDUCATION award - group or organisation

Parent Place

Wendouree West Exodus Leadership Team

Urquhart Park Primary School Reading Tutors Program

Peter Kervarec, Ballarat Professional Photography ARTS award - individual

Gordon Williamson - Ballarat Arts Foundation

Garry West - Ballarat Vocal Arts Association 

Yvette Hiscock - Art Gallery of Ballarat Volunteer Guides

Peter Kervarec, Ballarat Professional Photography ARTS award - group or organisation

Voice FM

Royal South Street - "Team Archive"

The Harmonies

The WIN Network EVENT award

Friends of Ballarat Pony Club

Ballarat Relay For Life Organising Committee

RSPCA - Million Paws Walk

City of Ballarat YOUTH award - individual

Faamu Leiataua - Fed Uni Mentor program

Emily Noonan - Yummy Mummy's 

Damien Ganley - Red Frogs

City of Ballarat YOUTH award - group or organisation

LARF (Life skills, Activities, Relationships and Fun) Mentors

Ballarat Youth Advisory Group - CMY

Kids with a Voice

Power FM EMERGENCY award - individual

David Wellings - SES Hepburn

Heather Turner - SES Ballarat

Peter Bright - Red Cross

Power FM EMERGENCY award - group or organisation

Ballarat Health Services Emergency Department Volunteers

Ballarat Fire Brigade

Miners Rest Rural Fire Brigade

Sports Central SPORTS award - individual

Tony Davidson - Rode RAGE (Ride Against Greenhouse Emmissions)

Stuart Bates - Special Olympics Ballarat

Anthony Hoffman - Ballarat Gold Swimming Club

Sports Central SPORTS award - group or organisation

Eureka Gymnastics Club Committee

BPSSA Volunteers

Friends of Ballarat Pony Club

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