Boroondara Volunteer of the Year
Jenny Cash is the winner of the 2023 Boroondara Volunteer of the Year Award, recognising her contribution to the community as a volunteer with the University of the Third Age (“U3A”) in Deepdene since 2010. U3A helps people from across the community learn new skills from workshops, seminars and courses, giving people – especially seniors – the chance to connect socially.
Members of the Deepdene U3A nominated Jenny to recognise her ongoing commitment to the organisation and acknowledge her contribution to its success over the past twelve years. Since joining the U3A, Jenny’s efforts have helped grow their membership from 50 to 1,200 people.
During the pandemic, Jenny championed ways to bring in-person programs online and supported U3A members requiring assistance transitioning to online learning.
Jenny is a friendly face to new members, respected and appreciated by all for her valuable knowledge and support. Jenny is described by those who nominated her as being the ‘soul of the organisation’.
“Beyond the opportunity to grow your understanding of a topic, U3A is very much about making and renewing links between people across the community. It’s about forging – and sometimes discovering – connections with people that you never knew were there before," says Jenny.
Volunteer Program Impact Award
Friends of South Surrey Park, represented by Pam Welsford
Friends of South Surrey Park is a volunteer-run program bringing together Boroondara residents to help maintain and improve South Surrey Park. Pam Welsford founded the organisation 25 years ago and has led the group ever since.
Working bees gather community members from across local neighbourhoods to help weed and clear areas of undergrowth. This makes room for fresh vegetation to make the park their home, enhancing local biodiversity, especially for native plant species and wildlife.
As well as recognising the Friends of South Surrey Park for their day-to-day work, this award also acknowledges the group’s contribution to the wider community through collaboration with the Aspect Group and neighbouring kindergartens.
“We’ve signed up people who live locally, know the park, who have got to really believe in the goal of the organisation and what it’s aiming to achieve for the community. I think understanding that vision – for the community you’re helping and for the community you’re building – is very important," says Pam.
Special Commendation recipients
Besides the award winners above, we also recognise the efforts of a number of community volunteers with these Special Commendations for 2023:
For Bruce’s continued community support over the past 16 years and as the longest-serving volunteer at Balwyn Evergreen. Bruce has provided support for the Social Support Outing Program through driving the mini-bus, ensuring clients have a wonderful experience.
For Yolande’s significant contribution to the Boroondara community through volunteering with Melbourne Inner East Special Olympics. Yolande’s ongoing support for athletes with an intellectual disability have made them feel welcome, comfortable, confident and included.
To recognise Warren’s volunteering at Servants Community Housing over the last 20 years and ongoing support for people experiencing homelessness to access safe and affordable housing. This commendation also recognises Warren’s contribution to the wider community through the Hawthorn West Baptist Church.
Boroondara Document Signing Station
This commendation recognises Boroondara Justice of the Peace’s Document Signing Station for achieving significant outcomes for the Boroondara community through the provision of an essential signing service at no cost, freeing up police officer time to focus on their policing responsibilities.
Find out more
Watch a short video featuring our 2023 winners and find out more about the Awards on our Boroondara Volunteer Awards page.