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 Coomera are:

Alexandra (Alex) Wells

Gold Coast Inclusive Sports Program
Caring. Passionate. Dedicated

Alex Wells was just 14 when she founded a program to help children with disabilities participate in sport. With her school principal’s help, the Gold Coast Inclusive Sports Program came to life in 2016. Hundreds of children with disabilities can play sports, modified for their ability, for fun and fitness. The program is encouraging other young people to volunteer to support the athletes, which is breaking down stereotypes and creating a culture of inclusiveness. “The main focus and goal of the program is to educate the community that people with additional needs are not different to able-bodied people,” Alex 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 Alex is successful, the Gold Coast Inclusive Sports Program will use its grant to buy much-needed sporting equipment, jerseys, trophies and medals for the athletes.


Amanda Carroll

Gold Coast Youth Service
Dedicated. Reliable. Courageous

Amanda Carroll feels hers is the most crucial job in the world. She works with the Gold Coast Youth Service and advocates for young people who are homeless or at risk of being homeless. Many are living with trauma from family breakdown, drug addiction, mental illness or domestic violence. A mother herself, Amanda treats all young people like family and makes no judgment about their past behaviours and life choices."Everyone is equal and deserves a safe place to live, with a sense of belonging to the community," Amanda 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 Amanda is successful, the Gold Coast Youth Service will use its grant to help young people gain access to housing and essentials to start their new life.


Judy Nyp

OzHarvest
Inspirational. Passionate. Unstoppable

Judy Nyp is a powerhouse when it comes to helping those in need. As a volunteer driver’s assistant with OzHarvest, she rescues a whopping 800kg of food from the hospitality industry every day. The food is high quality and nutritious but is no longer useful to supermarkets and fresh produce retailers. It is redirected to up to 20 charities, including crisis centres, food pantries, women's shelters and drop-in centres. Judy sees her effort as a win-win. "I suffer from osteoarthritis, and my charity work has helped me to maintain bone mass from all the physical work involved," 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 Judy is successful, OzHarvest will use its grant to help provide fresh cooked meals and made up hampers to people in the community in need.


Nicolle Edwards

RizeUp
Inspiring. Passionate. Determined

Nicolle Edwards decided to take action after hearing about a family in need of help as they fled domestic violence. Her solution was to create RizeUp, a Gold Coast not-for-profit that has provided life-changing, practical support to more than 1070 families across Queensland. RizeUp now has over 520 volunteers who help to support between five and eight families per week. The organisation sets up and furnishes homes, where families can focus on rebuilding their lives, and supports children as they start at a new school. "RizeUp's programs reduce the likelihood that the families will return to the perpetrator due to financial hardship or lack of resources," says Nicolle.

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 Nicolle is successful, RizeUp will use the funds to expand its programs and launch a new choir to support survivors of domestic violence.


Xenia Schembri

At The Ark Inc
Warrior. Mentor. Friend

Xenia Schembri believes people should not accept bad behaviour from anyone and co-founded At The Ark to support victims of abuse and domestic violence. The charity helps more than 100 families in several ways, including by providing food parcels, help with emergency accommodation and counselling. "I walk with the families towards healing from the pain they have suffered," says Xenia, who is a qualified counsellor. "I want families and individuals to know their worth." Xenia aims to help men and women change, to respect the people they live with and to build each other up instead of pulling them down.

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 Xenia is successful, At The Ark will use its grant to fund preventative programs and to provide material aid to families affected by child abuse.


Zoe Scharenguivel

Friends With Dignity Australia
Passionate. Dedicated. Driven

Zoe Scharenguivel jumped into action after her pregnant friend lost her life to domestic violence. The busy mum of three decided to organise a small lunch to raise funds to support an organisation involved in domestic violence prevention. Thanks to Zoe's contacts and interest in the event, the lunch turned into something much bigger and raised $5000. The lunch also led Zoe to another advocate for people affected by violence. Together they founded Friends With Dignity Australia, which transforms houses into sanctuaries for women, men and children. "I am passionate about making a difference and being a positive role model for my children," Zoe 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 Zoe is successful, Friends with Dignity will use its grant to help sustain the self-funded program.


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

Recognising all our 2020 nominees

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