Thank you for voting for your Westfield Local Hero

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Thank you for voting for your Westfield Local Hero

We congratulate all of our finalists and recognise the important contribution they make to the local community. The successful Westfield Local Heroes will be announced on 27 October.

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 2020 nominees for every Westfield centre. Each of the affiliated organisations of the successful heroes will be awarded a $10,000 grant to support their work to thrive. Westfield will award 126 grants across Australia and New Zealand – totalling $1.26 million.


Your finalists for Westfield Bondi Junction are:

Carole Schlessinger

Kids Giving Back
Indefatigable. Benevolent. Socially conscious

Carole Schlessinger gave up a lucrative business to launch Kids Giving Back, a charity providing children with unique opportunities to experience the joy of giving. So far, more than 27,500 children and family members have volunteered, making and distributing over 100,000 meals through Kids Giving Back which she created with co-founder Ruth Tofler-Riesel. "Our unique and fun programs enable children through hands-on, practical and meaningful activities to support the work of charities, to develop empathy and to experience altruism and a sense of belonging," Carole says. The programs encourage the children to think about “we", and not just "me".

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 Carole is successful, Kids Giving Back will use its grant to engage an additional 1,000 children and provide 3,000 additional meals to homeless people.


Danny Hui

Sameview
Engaging. Motivated. Inspiring

Danny Hui developed Sameview to help his family coordinate the 37 people involved in the care of his youngest son, Monty, who has a neurological condition that severely affects his movement. “It’s an online platform that gets everyone from a family’s team on the same page, talking to each other, working with each other so that the family’s goals can be achieved,” Danny says. He started working on the project fulltime four years ago. Since then, Sameview has won several awards. Following a surge during COVID-19 they now have more than 1000 users, and Danny is delighted that half of them are clinicians.

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 Danny is successful, Sameview will use its grant to fund overheads for a year and give the app to 50 local families.


Laya Slavin

Our Big Kitchen
Passionate. Selfless. Compassionate

Our Big Kitchen (OBK) is one of those feel-good organisations that add soul to a suburb. The big heart behind the industrial-sized Bondi kitchen is Laya Slavin, who co-founded it with her husband, Rabbi Dr Dovid Slavin. Supported by volunteers from every walk of life, they have turned their wish to do good into a tangible reality that is far bigger than the 70,000 nutritious meals they provide a year. On most days, Laya is either in the kitchen cooking with volunteers, delivering food to people in need, visiting a hospital or being a shoulder to cry on.

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 Laya is successful, Our Big Kitchen will use its grant to buy kitchen equipment and to contribute to delivery costs.


Siobhan O'Toole

St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney
Motivated. Selfless. Resilient


Photo courtesy of: Andrew Worrsam

Breast cancer survivor Siobhan O’Toole is on a mission to help cancer patients use exercise to endure and recover from their chemotherapy treatment, and reduce the chance of a recurrence of the disease. She’s raising funds so more patients have access to Cancer Exercise prehab program at Sydney’s St Vincent’s Hospital.

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 Siobhan is successful, St Vincent’s Hospital will use the grant to develop an online exercise program so cancer patients can work out at home.


Sophie Smith

Running for Premature Babies
Caring. Authentic. Humble


Photo courtesy of: John Appleyard/ News Local

Sophie Smith responded to the grief of losing her prematurely born triplets by founding a running charity that has raised more than $3.5 million, funding critical research and providing 56 pieces lifesaving neonatal equipment and research to give premature babies a better chance of survival. So far she has helped approximately 6000 babies.

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 Sophie is successful, Running for Premature Babies will use its grant to grow their running communities and increase funding for lifesaving equipment to give premature babies a better chance of survival.


Sylvia Hall

Holdsworth Community
Tireless. Committed. Caring

Sylvia Hall has lived in the same Eastern Suburbs house for 72 years and has been helping to feed frail, ill or socially isolated people in the community for more than 40 years. She became involved when a neighbour needed help packing meals for Woollahra Meals on Wheels. In 2013, Woollahra Meals on Wheels became part of Holdsworth Home Cuisine, and Sylvia continued helping her clients five days a week. "I know they enjoy the company and the conversation, and the meals and support help them stay out of the nursing home for as long as possible," says Sylvia.

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 Sylvia is successful, Holdsworth Community will use its grant to buy a new fridge and shelving.


If you need support, please phone Lifeline: 13 11 14

Recognising all our 2020 nominees

View all of the nominees and their organisations

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