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New Awards for National Volunteers Week

Garden Village celebrated with volunteers for National Volunteer Week on Friday 17 May with a delightful morning tea at the Community Centre for over 50 volunteers. CEO Craig Wearne sent a digital thank you message to thank volunteers and Jo McNamara presented an update about Garden Village’s commitment to the National Volunteer Strategy and the introduction of three new volunteer awards.

“We know purpose, wellness and community are three pillars for a good life and celebrating volunteers during National Volunteering Week is a way to acknowledge everyone’s contributions to our community” said Mr Wearne Garden Village, CEO Craig Wearne

In 2024 we signed up as a supporter of Volunteering Australia – National Volunteer Strategy which is committed to making volunteering the heart of Australian Communities.  Garden Village has signed up to the Coalition of Supporters for the National Volunteer Strategy 2023 – 2033. You can read the National Strategy Online.

“As a not for profit organisation Garden Village was founded on the principle of helping and supporting each other. We do this in many ways, through simply being neighbourly and more formal ways like the Auxiliary, Chapel, Craft Group, Men’s Shed and social groups. Many residents have also volunteered for many decades with local community groups. The combined efforts of Garden Village residents volunteering in the community has a positive ripple effect across Port Macquarie Hastings. We are pleased to support the National Strategy for Volunteering to make volunteering the heart of Australian Communities, ” said Jo McNamara Community Engagement Manager.

Garden Village announced an exciting series of Annual Volunteer Awards 

As part of our commitment to the National Volunteer Strategy placing volunteering at the heart of our community we have initiated three exciting new awards. The Garden Village Volunteer Awards honour Residents who help our community live a good life. We shine a light on volunteers who embrace the Garden Village values: compassion, integrity, enablement, collaboration and forward looking spirit. 

Jacqui Curnoe Heart of Garden Village Award

This award was established in 2024 to honour Jacqui’s memory and celebrate the achievements of our volunteer community. Jacqui dedicated almost thirty years of her life to Garden Village residents, providing them with loving care, trust and support. Jacqui led with kindness, and this award celebrates a resident who is always caring, friendly, supportive and giving.

This year we have established a new award, called the Jacqui Curnoe Heart of Garden Village Award, which celebrates one resident each year who shows character traits similar to Jacqui: strength, kindness, trust and loving care. With Jacqui’s family’s approval, we are pleased to remember her with this special award celebrating the people within Garden Village she cared most about.

New Resident Volunteer of the Year Award

This award recognises a resident who has gone above and beyond to volunteer at Garden Village.

Community Champion Award

This award acknowledges and celebrates residents who have demonstrated outstanding volunteer work in the Port Macquarie Hastings Community.

Meet Our 2024 Award Winners!

This year, we’re honored to recognize three outstanding residents who each received flowers, chocolates and a gift voucher.

  • Heather Chettle: The Community Champion Award winner for her work at the Port Macquarie Art & Craft Centre and Oxley Vale Life Long Learning Centre.
  • Mark Metcalf: Our Volunteer of the Year! Mark embodies the spirit of a “jack-of-all-trades,” always willing to lend a helping hand, from carpentry and painting to driving residents on bus trips.
  • Pat Light: The recipient of the Jacqui Curnoe Heart of Garden Village Award, Pat exemplifies kindness and care and support for her fellow residents.

A Shared Commitment to Volunteering

Garden Village has joined the Coalition of Support for the National Strategy for Volunteering. The Coalition of Support allows stakeholders to demonstrate their commitment to making volunteering the heart of Australian communities by signing up as official supporters of the National Strategy for Volunteering.

The National Strategy is a shared agenda for change. The Coalition of Support recognises that we all have a part to play in ensuring that volunteering has a bright future in Australia. The National Strategy is a ten-year roadmap for how we can collectively build this future.

Local Leaders shared their messages of support with Garden Village volunteers ahead of Volunteer Week:

Port Macquarie has fantastic health, wellbeing and community facilities and behind the scenes volunteers are quietly supporting these vital services. 

“Thanks to Garden Village volunteers and all the volunteers who support seniors in Port Macquarie Hastings. Volunteering for community groups has important wellbeing and health benefits, primarily for our seniors and retired residents across regional areas. National Volunteer Week is a time to celebrate everyone’s contributions.” Leslie Williams Member for Port Macquarie MP

“Volunteering to support hospitals and community health centres has a positive impact on patients and families. MNCLHD thanks all the volunteers who dedicate their time to improve health outcomes for the community. Special recognition to Garden Village Volunteers, The Pink Ladies, Hastings Home Help and Wauchope District Memorial Hospital’s Palliative Care Unit. Each volunteer who supports health and aged care services on the Mid North Coast is making a world of difference.”  Stewart Dowrick Mid North Coast Local Health District Chief Executive 

“Linked has a strong volunteering culture with many wonderful volunteers, all of whom make a valuable contribution to the work that we do in our communities. We thank all volunteers from Garden Village who give their time to this wonderful program and welcome new people to join us to bring a smile to someone’s day.” David Paff, Acting CEO, Linked Community Services.


“The Board of Directors extends our sincere appreciation to the Auxiliary Committee and members for their ongoing contributions to support the health and wellbeing of the Garden Village Community. The energy and enthusiasm volunteers give to support events including Garage Sales, the successful Seniors Festival, and regular activities including craft group, choir and GV Connections uplifts the fabric of our community. The Op Shop, Men’s Shed and Craft Donations funds entertainment and joy for aged care residents. The Auxiliary is also assisting the next generation of nurses through the Enrolled Nurse Scholarships for which we are immensely grateful.” Garden Village, Chairperson Gary Humphreys


Located in Port Macquarie on the NSW Mid North Coast, Garden Village is a leading Retirement Living, Aged Care, Disability and Home Care Service. As a registered not for profit we’ve provided care services to the community for over 40 years.

For more than 40 years, Garden Village has provided homes, care and support for ageing Australians on the land of the Birpai people. We pay our respects to all First Nations Ancestors, Elders and People in our community and throughout Australia. We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of Country, and their continuing connection to land, sea, culture and community.

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