There’s always something interesting going on at COTA NSW. If you have some time to spare and would like to contribute your skills to the advancement of older people, do get in touch with us. Everyone is welcome, and all sorts of skills and abilities can help.

We reimburse out-of-pocket expenses and provide full insurance cover for all our volunteers.

At the moment we are particularly looking for:

  • Community speakers to give talks on specific topics of interest to older people - we will give you training before you start.
  • We are seeking volunteers who would like to be trained and supported to be COTA Connectors for our next Hub which will be in Roselands in July/August. Contact us at or call us on 1800 449 102 if you would like to participate.

If you are interested in volunteering for COTA NSW, please email Meagan on, phone us on 02 9286 3860 or use the Contact Us form.

Meet our volunteer representatives

Champion advocate for diverse communities.

Advocate Anoop with Energy Minister Matt Kean - COTA NSW Get Involved - Volunteer
Anoop meeting NSW Energy Minster Matt Kean

My name is Anoop and I am now living in Western Sydney in a multi-generational-family-home and have experienced more than 73 summers in my life.

Having lived on the different continents of Asia, Africa, North-America and Europe amid multi-faith, multi-cultural, multi-language, multi-social groups, I have lived experience of the vulnerabilities of living through extreme heat and extreme cold, and the challenges of energy poverty – that is, being able to afford to pay your electricity bills, especially if at the lower socio-economic end of society.

Climate change is a phenomenon that cannot be handled in its individuality. We need to find disruptive solutions that should/could provide solutions to meet the needs of humans at an individual level. Local initiatives, local-thought processes and local solutions are needed to meet the local requirements so that affordability of electricity becomes a reality.

I have started to involve myself with different organisations, such as COTA NSW, Voices for Power (VfP) and Sydney Alliance, to search and contribute to finding solutions to differing community issues, especially for the members of society who are financially disadvantaged. It is through these collective voices and their collective action that real change for the common good will occur.

Frontline workers, like fire-fighters, face extreme heat. Rescuers risking their own lives to save others work through extreme weather conditions such as storms, rain and cold. All humans need to live in a climate that can provide not just a future for our grandkids but also provide for their growth.

This is where I am making my contribution, however small it maybe, to mobilise the community to convey that this is our planet and we are going to ensure it remains livable.

Affecting the lives of many.

‘I like to think it’s beneficial,’ says Pete Newman. ‘I meet nice, interesting people, it provides me with mental stimulation, and it keeps me active and engaged. It’s good for my health and good for my brain.’

Pete is talking about his role as an advocate for older people on Ausgrid’s Consumer Consultative Committee. Ausgrid is the largest distributor of electricity on Australia’s east coast, with a network of substations, powerlines, underground cables and power poles throughout Sydney, the Central Coast and the Hunter Valley.

Pete Newman - COTA NSW Get Involved - Volunteer
Pete Newman

Organisations like Ausgrid are constantly making decisions that affect our way of life, and they may affect older people differently to other groups. That’s why it’s really important for older people to have input into those decisions. Many organisations have similar consultation mechanisms and are looking for older people to contribute.

Pete first got involved with COTA NSW after he retired from a career in the health industry. He had started work as a nurse and rose to become a senior nursing unit manager. Although he still had a part-time role on the Tribunal of the Australian Health Professionals Regulatory Agency and another on the board of his credit union, he was looking for other opportunities to remain active.

Pete initially took part in COTA NSW’s peer education program which operated in 2016-18, conducting programs for community groups about wellness and wellbeing, and navigating the aged care system. ‘Then they were looking for energy advocates, so thought I’d give that a try,’ he says.

I know that seniors can struggle to understand their bills, and struggle with the internet. There is that nightmare scenario of old people sitting around freezing because they are too scared to turn their heaters on because of the cost. So there needs to be a lot more done about energy literacy in general, and for older people in particular.’

After advocacy training, Pete joined the Ausgrid committee. ‘At first when I was meeting all these engineers and financiers I thought I might not be up to it,’ he says. ‘But the people at COTA NSW encouraged me, and the other advocates on the committee were very supportive too. I realised that my experience in customer relations and financial management stood me in good stead. Any well-trained advocate with good support can make a fist of it.’

Asked for an example of the kind of matters the committee deals with, Pete says they have just given input on Ausgrid’s submission to the Australian Energy Regulator on their capital investment and operating programs.

Another recent topic was the best way to address the increasing need for complex distribution arrangements with the expansion of medium and high-density living, such as retirement villages. Yet another concerned Ausgrid’s need to change its arrangements for working on live wires for safety reasons, which might lead to longer restoration times during outages.

‘In each case I think, how is this in the interests of the consumer, and in particular the older consumer,’ Pete says. ‘Overall, reliability and sustainability are the key issues, and how to deal with climate change. There needs to be more long-term planning.’

As well as his work with COTA NSW and Ausgrid, Pete takes part in a mentoring program at his local high school. ‘I give the students whatever help they need,’ he says. ‘How to find a job, write a resume, interview skills, that sort of thing. Often it’s just about building their confidence.’

Pete says the program is particularly valuable for boys who don’t have other male role models. ‘There aren’t many male mentors, so I am a scarce commodity,’ he said. ‘It provides a nice balance with Ausgrid, as there is that more immediate personal reward.’

‘But the advocacy work is just as important. As a mentor I can have a direct effect on one’s person’s life, and as an advocate I can affect the lives of many people in a less direct way. It’s very satisfying.’

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