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Presenting your 2020 Westfield Local Heroes

We are excited to announce your three 2020 successful Westfield Local Heroes for Doncaster.

These inspiring local leaders were nominated and voted for by the community and will now be awarded a $10,000 grant for each of their affiliated organisations to help their important work to grow.

Westfield Local Heroes is a community recognition and grants program, connecting and enriching local communities. Launched in 2018, the program spans our 42 trade areas across Australia and New Zealand. In 2020, we are awarding $1.26 million to 126 local organisations.

For further information on the Westfield Local Heroes program, click here.

Your three Westfield Doncaster Local Heroes are:

Catherine Haining

Giant Steps Melbourne (GSM)
Compassionate. Selfless. Encouraging

Music therapist Catherine Haining is an innovator when it comes to educating children with autism, combining songs and traditional learning to great effect. She played a crucial role in establishing Giant Steps Melbourne (GSM), a school for children with moderate to severe autism and intellectual disabilities. Catherine is Head of Therapy Services at the school and uses music to help the students to understand and retain numeracy and literacy skills. And music helps them share how they feel when they can't find the words. "In some instances, students who do not speak will sing," Catherine says.

Find out more >

Gavin Blue

Generous. Compassionate. Of service

Professional photographer Gavin Blue is always willing to donate his skills for a good cause, but he goes above and beyond for grieving parents. After losing his own daughter Alexandra to stillbirth in 2006, Gavin founded Heartfelt as her legacy, to provide free photographic memories for families to treasure. It's been a labour of love, and he has inspired 340 photographers across Australia and New Zealand to volunteer their time. Collectively, they have gifted precious photos to more than 11,000 families. "No family should go home from hospital without a photographic memory of their child or baby," Gavin says.

Find out more >

Matthew Cronin

Pat Cronin Foundation
Tireless, Humble, Astonishing

Matt Cronin is courageously campaigning against senseless violence in memory of his youngest son, Pat, who passed away after a single coward punch in 2016. The loving father has risen above community outrage to be a voice of calm and encourage others to think about their actions. Pat, a physiotherapy student, was 19 when he was hit from behind in a senseless act of violence while enjoying a quiet night out. Matt and his wife, Robyn, started the Pat Cronin Foundation to end the coward punch. "We are determined that no other family should suffer as we have," Matt says.

Find out more >

We congratulate all of our finalists and nominees and recognise the important contribution they make to the local community.

View all of the finalists, nominees and their organisations

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

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We acknowledge the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation as the Traditional Owners of the land we gather on today and pay our respects to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and their Elders past and present.

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