Sutherland Shire Hospital volunteer Sandra Hudson has been named Citizen of the Year in the Sutherland Shire's Australia Day 2021 Awards, hosted by Sutherland Shire Council.
Ms Hudson was recognised for organising events to raise awareness of the Cardiac Rehabilitation Unit at the hospital, including CPR nights, women's heart dinners and the 'Happy Hearts' Sutherland Shire walking group. She also started the 'MRI for Sutherland Hospital' action group.
A notable gong also went to Sarah-Jo Lobwein, a marine scientist, science communicator, volunteer, teacher and passionate conservation educator focussed on reducing plastic consumption and pollution, who won the Environmental Citizen of the Year award.
Ms Lobwein is the founder of community organisation SO Shire (Sustainable Organisations of the Sutherland Shire), which works to protect our natural environment, waterways and beaches, by educating the public, and supporting environmentally-sustainable Sutherland Shire businesses.
The Community Group of the Year award went to Engadine/Heathcote & Surrounds: New Mum Village, an online group established by Eliza and Kim, mothers of newborns Cruz and Billy, who helped over 190 mothers navigate pregnancy and newborns during this trying year.
The duo provided Facebook messages of support, organised catch ups and playdates, and even dropped-off coffee and groceries to mothers in need. They also organised the Nanna Morning Tea with community members who couldn't see their grandchildren due to the border closures.
The Young Citizen of the Year award went to Ashleigh Dean, a mental health advocate and member of the Headspace Youth Reference Group who has run the Wellbeing Day within her school. Ms Dean achieved the 'highly commendable' award for Zonta Young Women in Public Affairs, and is the School Captain of her local high school.
Sutherland Shire Mayor, Councillor Steve Simpson, commended the efforts of all award recipients, saying that it was the selfless and often unheralded work of the many civic-minded volunteers that made the Sutherland Shire such a remarkable place to live.
"Each year our Australia Day awards bring the incredible contributions of so many community volunteers to the fore, and this year has been no different, highlighting the efforts of some truly exceptional local residents," Mr Simpson said.
"In what has been a trying year for people right across the country dealing with the catastrophic impact of drought, bushfires and now the Covid-19 pandemic, it has been incredibly heartening to see so many local people still readily giving what they can to help those in need."