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 Carousel. 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 Carousel are:

Catherine MacDougall

Prepare Produce Provide
Dedicated . Selfless . Inspiring

Catherine MacDougall is a mother figure for the hundreds of children whom she helps on the road to career success. Catherine volunteers for not-for-profit Prepare Produce Provide, which was set up by passionate home economics teachers to help young people train for careers in education and hospitality. One of her great achievements is bringing together 25 Aboriginal students and top chefs for a week-long culinary camp. “This provides Aboriginal students with opportunities to use food as a medium to connect to their culture and provides career pathways in food and cultural practices,” 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 Catherine is successful, Prepare Produce Provide will use its grant to pay for 25 Aboriginal youth to attend a culinary camp.


Gracie Edwards

Uni Camp for Kids
Supportive . Devoted . Genuine

University student Gracie Edwards spends summer breaks giving at-risk children invaluable positive experiences. As president of WA’s oldest children’s charity, Uni Camp for Kids (“Uni Camp”), Gracie devotes twenty (often forty) hours weekly to help fund, organise and run the organisation including three one-week summer camps that Uni Camp provide for hundreds of Perth’s most socially, emotionally or financially disadvantaged children. “We aim to provide an important time-out from other life stresses, interactions with positive role-models and always offer something to look forward to next time.” 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 Gracie is successful, UCFK will use its grant to include more children at the summer camps and offer more activities, such as water slides and zoo trips.


Julian Pace

Happiness Co
Unconditional . Compassionate . Selfless

Thousands of people around the world are happier, thanks to Julian Pace. Driven to tackle depression and loneliness, he founded Happiness Co, which offers workshops and online programs to help people improve their mental health. By employing more staff with different skills, he has been able to expand Happiness Co into workplaces and schools. “I’ve benefited over 50,000 people in over 10 countries,” says Julian, who was inspired to set up Happiness Co after overcoming his own mental health challenges. He has severe dyslexia and dropped out of school in year 8 after being bullied.

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 Julian is successful, Happiness Co will use its grant to develop new programs and improve its marketing. It would also be able to reach more schools and build its parenting program.


Leah Atkinson

Operation Sunshine
Passionate . Empowering . Selfless

After spending time in care during early childhood, Leah Atkinson has been driven to help the next generation of children facing similar anguish. She created Operation Sunshine WA, which provides packs of necessary items to help children through the first few days in out-of-home care. Many arrive with little or no belongings, and the packs help to preserve their dignity and make them feel less isolated, says Leah. “The packs contain essential items including hygiene products, clothing and comfort items that vary depending on the recipient’s age and gender.”

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 Leah is successful, Operation Sunshine will use its grant to cover the cost of more sunshine packs, bringing it closer to its goal of providing packs to all of the more than 1.000 children who go into care in WA each year.


Neil McCulloch

First Hike Project
Funny . Relatable . Interested

Neil McCulloch is dedicated to helping young refugees feel at home in Australia. He created the First Hike Project to introduce newly arrived refugees to the wonders of the Australian bush and to help them process the trauma that brought them to these shores.By the end of the overnight hike or camping adventure, they feel a greater sense of belonging and have a better understanding of Australia values.“To watch them witness their first wild kangaroo or see the sunrise through the Eucalyptus forest is something they, or we, will never forget,” says Neil.

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 Neil is successful, the First Hike Project will use its grant to buy gear so it no longer has to borrow from other adventure companies. It will also be able to buy extra provisions so around 100 more young people can enjoy a hiking adventure.


Paige Connolly

Riding for the Disabled
Wholehearted . Passionate . Caring

Paige Connolly was blown away when she first turned up to volunteer for Riding for the Disabled (RDA) Oakford. Riding horses helps people with disabilities to build their physical strength, motor skills and confidence. Paige was amazed as she watched the riders transform before her eyes as their lesson progressed. “The horses made my heart melt as I watched them bring so much joy and love to their riders and volunteers,” she says.“I knew from the start I would do what I could to contribute and be a part of this wonderful organisation.”

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 Paige is successful, RDA will use its grant to buy a vaulting horse and vaulting equipment as well as a saddle and a manure vacuum.


Recognising all our 2019 nominees

View all of the nominees and their organisation

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