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 Knox. 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 Knox are:

Alice Garrick

Community Casseroles
Selfless . Compassionate . Driven

Alice Garrick has a gift for making people feel cared for.Five years ago, she started Community Casseroles to provide food to those in need.She started preparing meals in her kitchen with a few friends for new mothers in the area. Now Alice brings dozens of volunteers together for cook-ups to connect while they prepare 1,000 frozen meals a month for people who need support for any reason, from bereavement to social upheaval.Alice does most of the deliveries herself and often sits, listens and cries with the recipients.

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 Alice is successful, Community Casseroles will employ a part-time coordinator and someone to look after children while their parents are preparing meals.


Darren Hill

Rotary Club of Knox
Compassionate . Understanding . Supportive

Darren Hill has always tried to do the right thing. But he wanted to do more for his community and joined the Rotary Club of Knox as a vehicle to channel this energy. Darren has taken responsibility for managing the club and providing new direction, and he has taken the membership along with him.“Our purpose is to support community, specifically youth,” says Daren. “We use the skills and knowledge of members and local services such as Harrison Uniting Care, Anchor and Knox Infolink where the need arises, so we do not need to re-invent the wheel.”

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 Darren is successful, Rotary Club of Knox will use its grant to offer services and Rotary youth programs to students at Scoresby Secondary.


Donna Jordan

Hands Off Foundation
Compassionate . Dedicated . Energetic

Donna Jordan came up with the idea for the Hands Off Foundation during a kitchen table conversation about helping survivors of sexual assault to heal. Under her leadership, the foundation has grown into a charity that provides tangible emergency support in the form of necessary items and shopping vouchers. Donna coordinates fundraising and works with the Centre Against Sexual Assault to ensure each client receives what they feel will help them the most, not what has been selected for them. “Beneficiaries include children, men and women of all ages and backgrounds,” says Donna.

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 Donna is successful, Hands Off Foundation would be able to offer support to a higher proportion of survivors.


Mel Spencer

Different Journeys
Dedicated . Selfless . Courages

Mel Spencer is a co-founder of Different Journeys, which fills a vital gap in support for older children, teenagers and adults with autism. Mel and her fellow committee members are in an excellent position to understand the needs of their members because most of them are on the autistic spectrum. The organisation stages regular events to help its nearly 400 members reduce social isolation and learn invaluable life skills. “My commitment has resulted in a support system for a community that would otherwise quite likely be quite misunderstood, underestimated and marginalised,” says Mel.

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 Mel is successful Different Journeys will be in a position to expand its events to a new area, Banyule. It will also provide autism peer-support training to carers and event staff.


Shusannah Morris

Life's Little Treasures Foundation
Selfless . Passionate . Caring

Shusannah Morris’s daughter Molly-Rose was born at 25 weeks weighing 880 grams. Shusannah spent five harrowing months with her at Melbourne's Royal Women’s Hospital, where she met four other mothers going through the same thing. Life’s Little Treasures was born when they decided to extend their circle of support to other families and do something about the lack of information and community care they experienced.Fourteen years later, thanks mainly to Shusannah’s efforts, the charity is active at Box Hill, Monash Children's, the Mercy, the Royal Women's Hospitals and another 120 neonatal hospitals around 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 Shusannah is successful, Life's Little Treasures Foundation will use its grant to fund 30 morning teas.


Wendy Lyons

Stroke A Chord Choir
Passionate . Enthusiastic . Inspirational

Wendy Lyons started the Stroke A Chord Choir nine years ago when she noticed stroke survivors with no ability to speak could sing. The choir is a self-help group that offers people an opportunity to express themselves in a friendly environment.Wendy aims to show there can be life after stroke and it can be joyful. Wendy has recovered her voice after a stroke but she has lost the ability to interpret touch on her right side. “We strive to give people the opportunity to hear their voices again and express themselves through song,” says Wendy.

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 Wendy is successful, Stroke A Chord Choir will use its grant to print choir booklets and to pay for ongoing expenses such as hall rental and music copyright.


Recognising all our 2019 nominees

View all of the nominees and their organisation

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