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 Chatswood. 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 Chatswood are:

Bryan Coleman

The Banksia Project
Passionate . Selfless . Dedicated

Business executive Bryan Coleman knows through experience that many men suffer through mental illness in silence, not knowing how to speak about their anguish and unable to seek help. That’s why he and other volunteers set up the Banksia project, which provides a free, safe and supportive peer environment in which men can speak about their stress, anxiety and depression before they hit a crisis point, thus preventing suicide. “We aim to educate and provide skills that will empower an individual to manage their mental health on a general day to day basis,” says Bryan.

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 Bryan is successful, the project will use its grant to train 60 additional facilitators, who will lead 30 Growth Rooms and support an additional 300 men a month.


Eliza Wilson

Streetwork
Devoted . Open-hearted . Energised

At 24 years old, Eliza Wilson has already devoted much of her life to helping others. The caseworker on Streetwork’s Kickstart program has up to 15 vulnerable young women under her wing at any time. Some are as young as 11, and the oldest are 18. Eliza works one-on-one with each to achieve the goals they have chosen for themselves. This could be to improve their mental health, improve school attendance or performance, overcome substance abuse, reduce their risk of homelessness or increase their engagement in social activities.

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 Eliza is successful, the project will use its grant to pay for mentors, fitness instructors and food at its new eight-week PRIDE Empowerment Program for at-risk young people.


Kylie Macdonald

Ku-ring-gai Youth Development Service
Dedicated . Supportive . Courageous

Despite her high-pressure job as a leader of a stock broking firm, Kylie Macdonald makes time to give back to her community. One of the ways she achieves this is as an active board member of Ku-ring-gai Youth Development Service (KYDS), which provides free mental health counselling, education and support services to improve the wellbeing of young people across northern Sydney. Apart from her financial and ethical oversight duties as a board member, she generously shares her knowledge to support the staff, volunteers for challenging tasks and leads fundraising and event projects.

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 Kylie is successful, KYDS will use its grant to fund up to eight early-intervention mental health outreach workshops or information sessions for young people.


Lisa Graham

Taldumande Youth Services
Dedicated . Understanding . Driven

When Lisa Graham joined Taldumande Youth Services as CEO in 2012, it looked after 13 homeless young people and employed seven staff. Now, on any night, Taldumande has 65 people aged 12-21 in residence, employs dozens of staff and has a dedicated team of volunteers. It operates three fully supervised and two semi-independent accommodation programs as well as community housing programs that help young people move from homelessness and family breakdown to independence and stability. “The purpose is to accommodate and support young people and help them to reconnect with their families where appropriate,” says Lisa.

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 Lisa is successful, Taldumande will use its grant to provide healthier meals to its residents and improve education on the value of healthy eating, staying fit and proper hygiene.


Michelle Barry

Life's Little Treasures Foundation
Passionate . Empathetic . Tireless

Driven by a deep sense of caring, she identified a need for some community compassion and support for families with sick or premature babies in Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU). These families can spend many months in hospital with their babies, with only bread and a vending machine available to them within the unit. She created a donation-led breakfast and snack food table (The Brekkie Bar) to provide easily accessible nutritious and treat foods for families to help themselves. She is delighted that her Brekkie Bar has also become a comforting gathering place and facilitates peer support for exhausted and overwhelmed families. “Parents share their experiences, celebrate milestones and lend an ear,” says Michelle.

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 Michelle is successful, the Life's Little Treasures Foundation will use its grant to the Brekkie Bar for six months, covering the cost of food, parking, a casual staff member, insurance and administration.


Nikki Davis

Enlighten Education
Passionate . Kind . Charismatic

Nikki Davis has made her mark as a dancer, dancing teacher, model and magazine editor, but it was her work a Lifeline counsellor that inspired her to explore a new interest in counselling and psychotherapy. She is making a positive difference as a senior presenter for Enlighten Education’s Walk the Talk program for Women's Community Shelters. Nikki is an outstanding role model and visits high schools to speak about respectful relationships, gender equality and being a community change-maker. Students are then encouraged to adopt their local Women’s' Community Shelter as a year-long community project.

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 Nikki is successful, Enlighten Education will use its grant to work with about 600 more students at three additional high schools, effectively creating a youth army equipped to support the work of the Northern Beaches Women’s' Shelter.


Recognising all our 2019 nominees

View all of the nominees and their organisation

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