Photos | Recipients of Sutherland Shire's 2018 Citizen of the Year awards

The founder of a food service for the homeless has been named Sutherland Shire’s Citizen of the Year for 2018.

Matt Harward started a shire arm of the One Meal community organisation, providing meals and other basic necessities to those who are down on their luck each Sunday afternoon from a car park in Sutherland.

Sutherland Shire Council chose Mr Harward and the winners of other categories from a large number of nominations.

The 2018 Young Citizen of the Year is youth leader Polina Povlenko, while Sutherland Shire Relay for Life, in partnership with Cancer Council NSW, was named Community Group of the Year.

Mayor Carmelo Pesce presented the awards at the council chambers on Thursday afternoon.

Cr Pesce said the awards provided an opportunity to recognise the community contribution of individuals and community groups in the shire.

“One of the best things about Sutherland Shire is its fantastic sense of community spirit,” he said.

Cr Pesce said there were many “outstanding” nominees for awards.

“I thank those who took the time to nominate their fellow community members,” he said.

The citations for the winners read:

2018 Citizen of the Year

Matt Harward, a long standing One Meal volunteer.

Matt had been giving his time as a One Meal volunteer for some time at [Campbelltown and Darlinghurst] when, seeing a need in Sutherland Shire, he worked to establish a local service.

One Meal Sutherland Shire runs a meal service each Sunday from 4pm [from a car park opposite Boyle Street in Sutherland ], providing a healthy meal for those who are homeless or struggling.

Patrons are also provided breakfast packs, clothing items, blankets, toiletries and a good chat.

Matt has done an enormous amount of work behind-the-scenes to get the service up and running and for some time, he has led the vast majority of weekly services on his own.

Currently, up to 30 people attend the One Meal service each week.

2018 Young Citizen of the Year

Polina Povlenko came to Australia with her family eight years ago, not speaking a word of English.

Today, Polina is a committed and enthusiastic bilingual youth leader who has taken part in over 90 hours of volunteer work in the last 12 months.

Polina is actively involved in many projects to challenge social injustices and to affect change, including Youth Respecting Cultural Connections, Youth against Violence and Racism Project, and the Sutherland Shire Refugee and Asylum Seekers Youth forum.

2018 Community Group of the Year

The 2017 Sutherland Shire Relay for Life was a great example of how the shire community’ came together to celebrate, remember and give hope to the people whose lives have been impacted by cancer.

The relay, which was held this year held at Don Lucas Reserve, Wanda, raised $369,595 for cancer research while garnering great community support in creating an event where individuals, families, friends, businesses, community groups, schools, hospitals, council, government members and sporting clubs came together for 24 hours all with a single aim.

 For information on all nominees, visit: