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 Hurstville are:

Carlee Heise

Shopfront Arts Co-op Ltd
Advocate. Artistic. Authentic

Carlee Heise gives young people an opportunity to find their voice through the arts. She is passionate about helping kids find their tribe, especially those who identify as LGBTQI, live with a disability or don’t fit in at school. Carlee is dedicated to bringing the arts to youth from a culturally and linguistically diverse background. My passion is bringing creativity, creative expression and joy into the lives of young people through the arts,” says Carlee. “They need to express emotions, explore feelings and investigate uncertainty in a welcoming, safe space.”

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 Carlee is successful, the Shopfront Arts Co-op will use its grant to present 48 film, drama and visual arts workshops facilitated by artists trained in mental health first aid.


Dragana Bozinovski

3Bridges Community Ltd
Intelligent. Compassionate. Competent

Dragana Bozinovski is changing the lives of people with dementia and helping them to keep their passion for life and stay socially engaged. The aged care team member at charity 3Bridges Community has persevered against financial challenges to introduce a first-in-Australia dementia program. People with mild to moderate dementia attend 3Bridges up to three times a week, cooking and eating together, making new friends and participating in tai chi. Dragana says research has shown the program helps delay admission to residential care. “In addition, it reduces feelings of burden on family caregivers,” 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 Dragana is successful, 3Bridges Community will use its grant to help financially disadvantaged families participate in the program.


Jennifer (Jenny) Sammut

Kogarah RSL Sub-Branch Youth Club
Inspirational. Dedicated. Community-minded

Jenny Sammut's children have long moved on from the Kogarah RSL Youth Club, but she continues to volunteer as club superintendent, a role she took on 25 years ago.
Jenny is on hand every weekday afternoon and evening and every Saturday morning to support the 100 members, who range in age from three to 25. "It is so rewarding to go into the club and be greeted by so many happy children who are having a great time learning and growing," says Jenny."I keep on doing my work at the youth club because I find it very fulfilling."

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 Jenny is successful, the youth club will use its grant to buy equipment and train coaches.


Liz Diab

The Crateful Group
Generous. Non-judgmental. Amazing

When Liz Diab was volunteering at a community food pantry about 9 years ago, she was dismayed that people were turned away because they didn't have a welfare card to show proof of need. So she started rescuing food to make hampers to ensure nobody falls through the cracks because they don't qualify for government support. She began providing generous hampers of fresh, nutritious food, often a treat to anybody in need. "Households can request a hamper once every three weeks, and all we ask is for a $3 contribution to help cover our running costs," Liz 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 Liz is successful, The Crateful Group will rent or buy a refrigerated van, so volunteers don't have to use their own vehicles.


Najwa Sawan

Aspect South East Sydney School
Inclusive. Considerate. Caring

Najwa Sawan spent several years volunteering at the Aspect South East Sydney School, providing support to other families and raising funds when her son was a student. After he graduated, the principal offered her a part-time position, and she jumped at the chance to stay on. "I love the work I do and often say that I don't feel like I'm working, just doing what I love," says Najwa, who has been in the role for five years. She also relishes the opportunity to support other parents. "I love to share my experience with families and provide hope to them," Najwa 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 Najwa is successful, the Aspect South East Sydney School will buy literacy kits to support academic progress.


Sue-Ellan Vasiliou

little legs foundation
Kind-hearted. Hardworking. Compassionate

Every day is a challenge for Sue-Ellan Vasiliou and her family after losing their beautiful daughter Alegra to brain cancer. But Sue-Ellan is doing everything she can to help support other families and is raising funds for brain cancer awareness and research. She does this through the little legs foundation she set up in memory of Alegra, who was diagnosed with brain cancer days before Christmas in 2016 and passed away 10 months later. "It is knowing that her fight helps others that keeps us going," Sue-Ellan 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 Sue-Ellan is successful, the little legs foundation will use its grant to help fund hospital equipment and to support families.


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

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View all of the nominees and their organisations

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