Photos | Centre for Volunteering rewards volunteers in an annual southern Sydney regional ceremony

Gymea was home to one of Australia's largest celebrations of volunteering this month, when those who gave up their time to help people in need was recognised.

Tradies hosted the annual southern Sydney regional finalists ceremony for the NSW Volunteer of the Year, which is run by the Centre for Volunteering.

It honours the remarkable commitment and effort showed by members of the community, and has become a major celebration of volunteering.

Regional winners for young, adult and senior volunteer were announced on August 16, as one of the 21 ceremonies held throughout NSW.

The main recognition for Sutherland Shire was Tony Cain of Gymea, for senior volunteer of the year.

Mr Cain represents Sutherland Shire Relay for Life, NSW Cancer Council. He has been a tireless and vocal supporter for people living with cancer via his work with the NSW Cancer Council Advocacy program.

Young Volunteer of the Year - Ebonie Sanderson, Royal Institute for Deaf & Blind Children, was selected for her work supporting children with significant hearing loss. For the past two and half year she has been working with classroom teachers to provide one on one support for the students to help them with their speech and learning development.

Adult Volunteer of the Year and Overall Regional Winner - Yvonne Weldon, Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council from Roseberry, has been volunteering her time for many decades to improve support for Aboriginal housing, children's and disability services.

Chief executive of the Centre for Volunteering, Gemma Rygate, says it is the volunteers who build connections for people in communities.

"They help to build such positive experiences and links to services across health, education and community sectors," Ms Rygate said.

"Our ceremony recognises their work and gives us the chance to say thank you."

The awards are supported by principal partners the Department of Family and Community Services NSW and ClubsNSW, which represents the state's 1400 non-profit clubs.

Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services Gareth Ward says volunteers make an enormous contribution to their communities.

"A vibrant volunteering sector leads to healthy and strong communities," he said.

"In NSW, volunteers contribute more than $5 billion to the economy each year and their social contribution is even greater."

The southern Sydney regional finalists are invited to the gala state ceremony in Sydney at the end of the year, when the state winners for each award category will be announced.

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