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 Fountain Gate are:

Carrie Archer

Berwick College
Loyal. Selfless. Devoted

Something wonderful is happening at Berwick College, with volunteer youth worker Carrie Archer encouraging previously disengaged students to turn up to school. Carrie runs a cooking program for at-risk and traumatised 13 to 16-year-olds, and many are now getting the education they deserve. She always has time to put a smile on a crying face, to notice those who fly under the radar and to listen to those who are often unheard. "Together we see a combination of life, cooking and social skills emerge and the outcome is amazing," Carrie 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 Carrie is successful, Berwick College will use the funds to buy a dining table with more space to work and cooking utensils and equipment.


Darcy Balhas

Youth Insearch Foundation
Empathetic. Trustworthy. Honest

Darcy Balhas is paying it forward for the help he received to turn his life around. Growing up, Darcy was bullied terribly because of his Indigenous background. He had a difficult home life and was in and out of foster homes. Darcy was struggling to cope but managed to bounce back thanks to Youth Insearch, a program that encourages young people to help other young people to rebuild their lives. Darcy is now an Insearch youth leader and mentor for other young men. "I show them where I have come from, to where I am as a proud Wiradjuri man, "he 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 Darcy is successful, Youth Insearch will be able to help more troubled youth.


Josh Carell

Littlefoot and Company
Caring. Passionate. Giving

Josh Carell is using the power of art to help improve mental health. Five years ago, he founded Littlefoot and Company with his sister Eden, a qualified art therapist to provide free art therapy to the community. A range of events and workshops are on offer to young people and adults, including visual arts and spoken word and poetry workshops. "Making art in the company of others or sharing your art allows for social connection and a sense of being valued and can allow for healing and growth," Josh 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 Josh is successful, Littlefoot and Company will be able to rent a dedicated space for its free art therapy programs for a year.


Karen Janssen

Raise Foundation
Dedicated. Selfless. Inspiring

When the welfare team at Cranbourne Secondary School became concerned about an increase in mental health issues and bullying among students, they turned to Karen Janssen for help. Karen is a program counsellor with youth mentoring movement the Raise Foundation and responded to the SOS to establish a program within the school. She matches each student with a trained volunteer mentor who helps them improve their coping skills and develop hope for the future and belief they can finish school and get a job. "The power of having someone neutral to talk to, who really listens and hears you, is extraordinary, Karen 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 Karen is successful, Raise Foundation will use its grant to help cover the cost of training and supervising mentors.


Sally Beard

Backpacks 4 Vic Kids
_Passionate. Dedicated. Giving

Sally Beard and her team provides much-needed comfort and dignity for vulnerable children entering foster or emergency care. These children are often taken into care at a moment’s notice with nothing more than the clothes they are wearing. Sally was outraged when she heard many wait up to eight hours in soiled clothing or hospital clothing while waiting for a safe place to go. She founded the non-profit Backpacks 4 Vic Kids to provide these children with a backpack of essentials and comfort items. “We have now delivered over 7000 packs to displaced children state-wide,” 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 Sally is successful, Backpacks 4 Vic Kids will use its grant to put together 200 backpacks.


Sukhjit Singh

Sikh Volunteers Australia
Dedicated. Committed. Humble

Sukhjit Singh was there to help when the worst bushfires in living memory ravaged Victoria. The dedicated volunteer spent 16 days at the Bairnsdale relief centre working with the Sikh Volunteers Australia free food van, offering three meals a day to evacuees. Sukhjit was up at 4.30am to start preparing breakfast and often worked late into the night. He volunteers at many community events. "I mostly do service in our free food van program," Sukhjit says. "We not only help people in need but break down barriers and help people come together to make a great multicultural Australia."

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 Sukhjit is successful, Sikh Volunteers Australia will replace the oven in its food van and increase food storage capacity to serve more people in an emergency.


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

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Please note, due to COVID-19 certain centre services are currently unavailable