Meet your local hero finalists

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Meet your local hero finalists

Read about your Westfield Local Hero finalists

Westfield Local Heroes is a community recognition and grants program, connecting and enriching local communities.

Westfield Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with the outcome of the public vote determining the three successful 2019 nominees for Westfield Airport West. Each of the affiliated organisations for the successful three heroes will be awarded a $10,000 grant to support their work to thrive. In total, Westfield will be awarding 120 grants across Australia and New Zealand – totalling $1.2 million.

Your Westfield Local Heroes will be announced here on 1 October.

Your six finalists for Westfield Airport West are:

Gavin Shaw

EB Research Foundation
Dedicated . Reliable . Determined

Gavin Shaw jumped in to help when he saw the anguish that a rare skin disorder was causing to his friend’s daughter. He is now an invaluable volunteer with the EB Research Foundation, which raises funds for treatments and a cure for epidermolysis bullosa (EB). The genetic illness causes the skin to break and blister, leading to pain, disfigurement and gaping wounds. “My greatest achievement, apart from my family, is being part of the team helping to find a cure for EB, the worst disease you’ve never heard of,” says Gavin.

Westfield Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with the three top finalists per Westfield centre each awarded a $10,000 grant for their affiliated organisation. If Gavin is successful, the EB Foundation will hold a symposium for medical and research professionals from leading hospitals and institutes to update them on research and encourage their involvement.


Mary Chiodo

Copperfield College
Inspirational . Driven . Kind

Copperfield College is a large school with 68 nationalities and low scores for socio-educational advantage. It also has enthusiastic students with a sense of purpose. Kings Park Campus Principal Mary Chiodo has been at the school for 32 years and has played an essential role in creating this positive culture. Mary's standout contribution is the award-winning Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) program, which actively creates connections outside the school for Year 11 and 12 students. “Through the program, 1000 students have given back to their local community and built long-term relationships,” says Mary.

Westfield Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with the three top finalists per Westfield centre each awarded a $10,000 grant for their affiliated organisation. If Mary is successful, Copperfield College will commission an independent evaluation of its VCAL program and develop ways to replicate it in other schools. It will also fund new development opportunities for students.


Natalie McCloughan

Children's Tumour Foundation
Compassionate . Intelligent . Fearless

Natalie McCloughan supports children and families with neurofibromatosis (NF), a genetic disease that causes tumours and physical deformities. She builds personal relationships with families going through the most challenging time of their life and helps them navigate the health system and community services to get the care they need. She also organises camps and social events that create a sense of belonging, connection and support. Natalie, who is legally blind, says: “I feel I am given to empathise with the isolation, rejection, uncertainty and difference members of the NF community face in their daily lives.”

Westfield Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with the three top finalists per Westfield centre each awarded a $10,000 grant for their affiliated organisation. If Natalie is successful, the Children's Tumour Foundation will engage a paediatrician for fortnightly clinics for up to 100 children a year, with the ultimate aim of proving enough demand to sustain a service through Medicare billing.


Niketa Loftus

Craigieburn Netball Assoiciation
Selfless . Dedicated . Charitable

Niketa Loftus founded the Craigieburn Thunders Club after volunteering to coach an under-9 netball team in 2014. Most of the players have been together for five years and are undefeated, despite being in a division two age groups older than them. The family-like club has grown to five teams and 81 players and provides a safe, inclusive environment for players regardless of their ability, cultural background or ability to pay. “The main purpose is to provide disadvantaged children and youth a safe haven to play the game they love,” says Niketa.

Westfield Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with the three top finalists per Westfield centre each awarded a $10,000 grant for their affiliated organisation. If Niketa is successful, Craigieburn Netball Association would be in a position to fund more participants, run training workshops and buy new equipment and uniforms.


Sally Pittard

1st Strathmore Scouts
Enthusiastic . Committed . Caring

Sally Pittard’s children graduated from the Cub Scouts more than five years ago, but she has enthusiastically continued leading their First Strathmore Scouts group and has even started a Joey group for five to eight-year-olds. Sally organises numerous sleepovers and camps and leads the groups in Anzac Day marches and the annual Clean Up Australia Day. She includes people with disabilities and finds ways to involve everyone in games and activities. “We focus on personal progression. This puts the youth at the centre and recognises each individual has unique needs on their developmental journey,” she says.

Westfield Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with the three top finalists per Westfield centre each awarded a $10,000 grant for their affiliated organisation. If Sally is successful, First Strathmore Scouts will be able to upgrade its hall to make it wheelchair-friendly and invest in new tents and other equipment.


Zeina Assaf

Make-A-Wish
Caring . Ethical . Courageous

After losing her 15-month-old baby boy, Zeina Assaf found an outlet for her grief in helping other parents’ children. As a branch Fundraising Co-ordinator for Make-A-Wish Foundation Australia, her passion is to offer life-changing experiences to children with life-threatening illnesses. One of Zeina’s most successful innovations is her Bake a Wish challenge, where she has used her business network to encourage fundraising competitions between different groups of colleagues. “I am committed to making a positive impact on the lives of seriously ill children and teenagers,” says Zeina.

Westfield Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with the three top finalists per Westfield centre each awarded a $10,000 grant for their affiliated organisation. If Zeina is successful, Make-A-Wish Foundation Australia will use the funds to make more children’s wishes come true.


Recognising all our 2019 nominees

View all of the nominees and their organisation

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