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 Coomera. 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 Coomera are:

Andrew Chant

Endeavour Foundation
Selfless . Community-spirited . Big-hearted

Andrew Chant has been working with the Endeavour Foundation for almost 20 years, assisting people with intellectual disability to live independently, make connections and find work. He manages the foundation’s Kingston Learning and Lifestyle service at which many clients are refugees, have substance abuse issues or are from the LGBTQI community. The foundation helps clients in the context of their whole life and includes them in decision making. “You don’t just deal with the individual with intellectual disability; you are equally committed to their family and carers. This may involve three to five individuals,” Andrew 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 Andrew is successful, the Endeavour Foundation will buy new furniture for the Kingston centre and music equipment for a band started by some of the clients.


Deirdre Hanna

Ian Mavor Foundation
Tireless . Inspirational . Resilient

Children’s author, palliative care pioneer, educator and all-round humanitarian Deirdre Hanna has touched thousands of lives on the Gold Coast. In 1994, she and her late husband, Rev Dr Ian Mavor, started the Gold Coast’s first Hospice, Hopewell Hospice. Next came the Paradise Kids charity to help children after a loved one passed away. In 2016, she started Living Well Respite to provide emotional and social support for home carers by offering them a day out each week. Now in her 70s, Deirdre works full time across the charities she started and other 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 Deirdre is successful, the foundation will create five new workbooks to accompany the storybook collection, provide singing and performance training to 20 young people and host morning teas for bereaved adults.


Gerry Moloney

Toogoolawa School
Resilient . Devoted . Visionary

When Gerry Moloney started at Toogoolawa School, it was for a six-week replacement stint. But he never left and has been principal for the past 13 years. Gerry knew from the get-go that he was going to make a difference for the students, who were not welcome at other schools. When he started, there were three boys and three staff. Now there are 102 boys and 30 staff.The key to his success is reducing stress by encouraging the boys to work at the level they can cope with rather than where they should be.

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 Gerry is successful, the school will put the funds towards a planned Health Hub with a doctor, psychologists and university volunteers such as speech pathologists and occupational therapists.


Heather Murray

St Vincent de Paul Society
Dedicated . Committed . Impartial

Heather Murray joined St Vincent de Paul Society 31years ago and has been a faithful volunteer ever since. As President of the St Mary’s conference, she leads from the front and is on the phone every day working with the help-line volunteers. “Our conference has seven members. We are busy and driven to do the vital work we do to assist the needy,” Heather says. “I always try to keep the spirituality of being a Catholic church-goer alive.” Heather and her team work at grass-roots level, assisting the needy with food, clothing and shelter.

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 Heather is successful, the St Mary’s Conference will buy non-perishable food for emergency distribution, fund back-to-school needs, set up an emergency rent fund and buy Go Cards for job seekers.


Jo Chapman

Nightlight Outreach
Dedicated . Kind Hearted . Generous

When Jo Chapman has visitors over in her lounge room, it is likely they are making up hundreds of toiletry packs for homeless people. Despite her own health problems, including breast cancer twice in nine years, she has set up a veritable cottage industry to source and pack items for distribution by the Nightlight Outreach charity, which provides food, clothing and other essentials to those in need, including victims of domestic violence. “I organise members in my local area to source whatever items are required at the time,” says Jo.

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 Jo is successful, Nightlight will buy a freezer, a refrigerated trailer for events and a purpose-built BBQ trailer to cook food for the community.


Kevin Dando

Multicultural Communities Council
Giving . Selfless . Hilarious

Kevin Dando has an innate ability to connect people, making him perfect for his many roles at Multicultural Communities Council Gold Coast (MCCGC). He works with teachers, guidance counsellors, community leaders and social services to foster belonging and respect. One of his passions is youth development, with much of his work in this area taking place in his own time. “Engaging, advocating, connecting and supporting the diverse communities of the Gold Coast is rewarding, challenging and inspiring,” says Kevin, who has worked hard to build trust and connections with community groups.

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 Kevin is successful, MCCGC will fund cultural and wellbeing workshops for schools and community groups in the northern Gold Coast region and support and promote community events such as Harmony Day March, Seniors Week and Multicultural Month.


Recognising all our 2019 nominees

View all of the nominees and their organisation

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