Volunteering Sunshine Coast


Extracts of Speech and announcement of Award recipients by Chris Scott.

Distinguished Guests: Cr. Joe Natoli, VSC President & Chair Caroline Patton, VSC Vice-President Carlos Vaquero, Nominees, Nominators, and Award recipient.

Apologies: Ms Fiona Simpson MP, VSC Directors – Neill Gillet, Ann Mary Edwards, and Melissa Robbins.

Theme for 2023 Awards - WE ARE THE CHANGE MAKERS

Millions of volunteers across Australia are giving their time and energy to make change in our communities. 

Changes makers are:

  • Driven to contribute to the greater good.
  • Passionate about causes they care about.
  • Turn their passions into purpose.
  • The force behind social change.
  • Give their time and energy to make a difference.

Clearly volunteers on the Sunshine Coast:

  • Go above & beyond all expectations.
  • Their passion to help people is endless.
  • They are the change makers.
  • Driven by caring attitudes of compassion, kindness, empathy & selflessness.


Federal Government has made significant changes to the volunteering landscape with a renewed focus on place-based volunteering and we work with the government to remove barriers to volunteering particularly for disadvantaged groups in our community.

Furthermore, the Queensland government with the release of its Communities 2032 strategy has emphasised the importance of the volunteer sector on strengthening the social connections and resilience of our communities. Again, we welcome the opportunity to work with government on this journey of renewal.

Just to highlight the importance of volunteering:

  • ¾ of the adult population volunteered in 2020.
  • Equivalent to around 900 million hours,
  • Worth an estimated $84b dollars to the community.


This year Volunteering Sunshine Coast, in collaboration with other Volunteer Resource Centres across rural and regional Queensland, agreed to refocus the Award’s acknowledgements to reflect the National & State-wide approach to recognising the volunteer Change Makers.

The categories are:

  • Community Volunteering – Change Maker
  • Excellence in Managing Volunteers
  • Corporate Volunteer Program
  • Lifelong Contribution
  • Volunteer of the Year


Presented in recognition of a community volunteer change maker who has made a positive, and sustainable social and/or economic impact on the Sunshine Coast community.

Recipient: Chris Paterson – Bamboo Projects

  • Bamboo Project – is a registered mental health and disability support charity.
  • Chris volunteers 30+ hours per week for the past 6 years supporting people with complex mental health concerns and disabilities to form mateships and connection.
  • He’s not a medical practitioner, he’s a ‘mate’ that helps them out when in need.
  • Chris is totally committed and significantly changes lives through his work supporting people through difficult times including 2 am crisis calls.
  • He has personally designed and raised funds for wheelchair accessible to boats to experience the Sunshine Coast waterways.
  • He has also helped those in our community at risk of marginalisation through his work with cleaning up the Waterways activities – removing over 20 tonnes of marine debris.
  • Chris has used his personal funds to support his volunteering and to help other – paying for wheelchair access to boats, insurance, fuel for transport and events.
  • In 2019 Chris ran and rode the ENTIRE 16,000 kms around Australia to highlight the value of meditation, healthy eating, and exercise to gain a better mental health. 50-100 kms every day for 14 months.
  • Through his work he has involved people in the community to join him and give back – a true Change Maker.


Presented in acknowledgement of a non-salaried manager of volunteers who has demonstrated outstanding management of volunteers and delivery of volunteering programs.

Recipient: Lesley Dimmock – Turtle Care.
Is in Darwin. Her Award will be accepted by Clodadh Barwise-Smith.

  • Lesley voluntarily supports 36 volunteers within the Buddina Beach TurtleCare group.
  • This includes administration, beach patrols, and turtle nesting monitoring, education, and engagement at community events, attending meetings, organising and planning rosters, communication with team members and providing guidance and support.
  • Furthermore, she participates in scientific studies, such as fox monitoring, sand temperature data loggers, and artificial light at night monitoring.
  • She also has undertaken considerable training at Mon Repos Conservation Park and Heron Island.
  • Lesley has been part of TurtleCare for 15 years and racked up over 3,640 hours since 2016. Over 1800 of these hours on administration.
  • Her leadership has ensured others learn about marine conservation and environment protection, building a sense of community and fostering relationships amongst participants. She has provided opportunities for people to come together and work towards common goals.
  • The leadership role is a complex one, being available to undertake a host of challenging and labour intensive tasks. Lesley makes herself available 24/7 to the 36 members of the Group.
  • Lesley has demonstrated true excellence in Volunteer Management.


Presented in recognition of a, for profit business that has made a positive contribution to the Sunshine Coast community through of its employee volunteering program.

Recipient: Youi Insurance

  • As the inaugural winner of the Volunteering Sunshine Coast Corporate Volunteer Award, Youi is a standout example of the positive commitment they make to the community in which they operate.
  • Youi partners with various charities and non-profit organisations to support the causes that matter to the community.
  • They actively participate in fundraising events to support volunteering.
  • The have a strong culture of encouraging staff to get involved and make a real difference.
  • Their internal volunteering programs include:
    • R U OK? Day – mental health
    • Compass Institute – Disability services
    • Lifeblood – Blood donations
    • SCARS – temporary refuge for stray cats & dogs
    • The Shack – homelessness.

Youi representative unable to be present to accept the award.


Presented in honour of an individual who has made an exemplary life-long contribution and has contributed to one or more organisations for the betterment of the Sunshine Coast community.

Recipient: Eve Williamson – Cansurvive Research Association

  • Cansurvive is a non-invasive holistic cancer research, education, and services – having and continuing to support 1,000s of people across Australia.
  • Through Eve’s commitment Cansurvive is a rich hub which assists people to make informed decisions about their treatment and care options.
  • As a cancer survivor and one of the original Founders she has volunteered 2-4 days per week for over 27 years and continues to do so. She has written, produced, and edited over 70 editions of the nationally and internationally distributed Cansurvive magazines.
  • Even though Eve has a several physical barriers to overcome they do not limit her in her desire to be involved and to continue her volunteering efforts.
  • Eve continues to this day to directly support people over the phone, run fortnightly support groups and information sessions, send out online product sales, manage a team of volunteers and produced a quarterly magazine with an Australia wide distribution [over 70 issues. Furthermore, Eve could be seen up until recently, tending the large gardens of the recently sold property.
  • Eve has been an inspirational force in not only launching Cansurvive, this purposeful charity, but works tirelessly and selflessly in doing so.
  • Her national and international standing in the cancer support environment and her life-long commitment to Cansurvive demonstrates her Life-Long Contribution to Volunteering.


Presented in honour of an individual who has made an exemplary voluntary contribution and, who through their volunteering, has made a significant impact towards the well-being of the Sunshine Coast community.

Recipient: Rick Vickers – Rotary Club of Maleny Inc.

  • Rick has contributed over 20 years of volunteering to a broad range of significant, difficult, complicated and essential organisations and events in many organisations. The list is long:
  • Risk Assessment and Management and or COVID and/or Procedures Advisor:
  • Australia Day Hinterland Expo 2015-2023,
  • Maleny District Sport and Recreation Club 2012- 2023
  • Maleny Show Society 2020-2023,
  • Blackall Range Woodcrafters Guild, Maleny Community Centre, Maleny Neighbourhood Centre and Friends of Mary Cairncross Association 2020 – 2023,
  • Maleny Rotary Winter Blues Festival 2020 and 2024,
  • Maleny Rotary Club, 2003 – 2023
  • Maleny RSL 2010 – 2023
  • Preparation and Amendment of Local Disaster Management Plans:
  • Get Ready Maleny and other Sunshine Coast Hinterland towns, and South Burnett LGA,
  • Community Projects:
  • Maleny Rotary Club Community Projects Director for over 12 of past 20 years and active member of community project teams during this 20 year period, and
  • Red Cross ESLO to Noosa
  • Community Events –
  • Chairman Australia Day Hinterland Expo 2015 – 2023, and
  • Master of Ceremonies for Maleny RSL at Anzac Day Events at Maleny on numerous occasions over past 13 years including 2023.
  • Vocational Training – Solomon Islands 2013- 2015
  • Community Consultation for Sunshine Coast Council Ecological Park at Landsborough Rd, Maleny with local organisations during 2023.
  • 7 Rick has been a member of Rotary Club for 20 years. He is quiet, unassuming, friendly, respectful, intelligent and very community focussed. Not to mention hardworking and readily acknowledged as a club organiser, coordinator, master of ceremony specialist, facilitator, mentor, problem solver and a leader who achieves significant outcomes.
  • Rick has served as President in 2010-2011and Board Director of Community Services for many years.
  • He’s held a Rotary International District position as Vocational Training Team Director 2013-2015.
  • Rick has received the Paul Harris Fellowship Award – Sapphire status.
  • Rick has made a significant contribution through his many years of continuous and exemplary volunteer service to the Sunshine Coast’s health and wellbeing.
  • He’s been required to provide timely advice, often at short notice, and given his eye for detail to assist and lead a host of projects and problem-solving activities.
  • VSC therefore recognises Rick Vickers as Sunshine Coast Volunteer of the Year.

After presentation of the Awards a delicious afternoon tea was served.  Catering provided by Harvest Breads and Café Maroochydore. 

Trophies supplied by Apogee Trophies.   

Photos by Carlos Vaquero of Your Brand Crew.

Sincere thanks to Suncare Community Services for their support in providing their Community Hall as the venue and to their staff for their support in making the Awards Presentation Ceremony and Afternoon Tea a success.