SOME of Tamworth’s most selfless residents were rewarded for their efforts yesterday as part of International Volunteers Day celebrations.
Hundreds of volunteers from more than 97 organisations across the council area were thanked for their efforts during the 23rd annual Gift of Time ceremony, held at the Tamworth Community Centre.
Over the past 12 months volunteers in the Tamworth Regional Council area have clocked up more than 553,918 volunteer hours for their chosen organisations, many reliant on the generosity, skills and passion of volunteers to keep functioning.
More than 120 volunteers were presented with thank you certificates at the ceremony yesterday by Tamworth councillor Russell Webb in honour of their contribution.
In true testament to the number of volunteers lending a hand, organisers told those present that volunteer hours were more than three times the number honoured in the first year the Gift of Time ceremony was held. In 1990, when the then-Tamworth City Council hosted the first ceremony, volunteers had recorded 182,441 hours. To be at half-a-million hours 20 years later is a huge effort.
Volunteer hours this year had even increased on those from 2011, which recorded a total of 544,157 hours and recognised 104 not-for-profit organisations.
International Volunteers Day was instigated in 1985 by the United Nations General Assembly and is now celebrated worldwide every year on December 5.
Across Australia it is estimated there are more than 6.4 million volunteers.