Meet your Westfield Local Hero Finalists
In the first year of the Westfield Local Heroes program, we have received an overwhelming response and many heart-warming stories after asking the Knox community to nominate individuals who they believe promote social wellbeing and harmony in their communities.
We congratulate every one of our nominees and recognise the important contribution they make to the local community.
The community has now cast its vote, the outcome of which will determine the three successful 2018 Westfield Local Heroes for Westfield Knox. Each of their affiliated organisations will be awarded a $10,000 grant to support their work, program or activities.
The successful Westfield Local Heroes will be announced on 13 August.
Your six finalists for Westfield Knox are:
Stephen Barrington: Foothills Community Care
Compassionate. Hospitable. Driven.
Stephen founded Foothills Community Care 17 years ago; a not-for-profit organisation that helps address and support people through family violence, drug addiction, homelessness, poverty, mental health and social isolation within the community. Stephen’s organisation attracts over 200 volunteers and helps provide over 9000 meals annually via their Monday and Wednesday weekly meal, Community Casseroles Co-Op and the annual Ferntree Gully Christmas Day Lunch. For the past 16 years, Stephen and his family have spent their Christmas day providing lunch for 250 people who attend the Ferntree Gully event. For many, this is the only meal they will share with another person and it provides a sense of inclusion they don’t experience in many other areas of their lives. The $10,000 Westfield Local Heroes grant would go towards redeveloping the in-house kitchen, for preparing meals as well as vocational training for people who attend. It will also provide people who are experiencing hardship with another pathway to make a difference in their life.
Denise Budge: Knox Infolink
Thoughtful. Humble. Strategic.
Denise has worked in the community sector for over 30 years. Through her most recent work with Knox Infolink – a non-for-profit community organisation providing information and services for those going through financial hardship, health issues and homelessness – Denise created ‘Connecting Kids with the Knox Community’. ‘Connecting Kids with the Knox Community’ connects disadvantaged school-aged children to extra-curricular activities they are interested in, that they might have never been able to take part in due to their family’s challenging circumstances. Activities range from sport to music to dance. The initiative provides children with the same opportunities to learn and socialise as their peers and keeps them connected to positive role models in the community. If awarded the $10,000 Westfield Local Heroes grant, Denise and Knox Infolink will dedicate the funds to helping subsidise club or organisation fees for more children as well as fund resources to ensure children can safely attend their relevant activities.
Sue Horwood: CityLife Community Care
Visionary. Committed. Faithful.
Sue, an integral member of the team at CityLife Community Care, is dedicated to helping new mothers in distress find help via a volunteer mentor. The role of the mentor, being an experienced mother themselves, is to support and encourage the young mum in their new role and to see where they can alleviate stress through completing simple household duties. Often these new mums have no family support or the skills they need to raise a child and run a home. Sue is instrumental in organising many events, including the Solo Mums Morning Tea and Community Christmas Lunch. The $10,000 Westfield Local Heroes grant would go towards CityLife Community Care’s Life Skills Cooking Program and Community Meals. Much needed equipment would be purchased, enabling CityLife Community Care to grow the program and provide learning outcomes for participants.
Jenny Tomlin: Araleun
Passionate. Selfless. Exuberant.
Jenny is part of Araleun, which provides a range of support services to people with intellectual disabilities. For the past three years, Jenny has been integral in setting up and managing the Eastern Disability Housing Network. The Network works closely with the individual, their family and the wider community, to ensure the individual is happy, safe and an included member of society. Importantly, the Network provides people with a disability choice, control and independence, and gives their families peace of mind that their family member with a disability will be looked after. If Jenny is named a Westfield Local Hero, the $10,000 grant will be used by Araleun to produce a simple and easy-to-understand handbook that outlines pathways for success in housing for people with disabilities.
Ian Ware: Ringwood Biala
Sincere. Dedicated. Professional.
A much loved and recognised member of the community, Ian is 90 years of age and has been Chairman of the Ringwood Biala for thirty years. The Ringwood Biala is a respite program designed to give parents of children with additional needs (aged 0 to 6 years) one day a week relief. Parents can leave their child with confidence, knowing that they will be well cared for by the loving and understanding volunteers and Coordinator. The Biala also gives parents the special gift of time – time to spend on themselves and time to spend with their other children. Ian understands this need better than most having himself raised a child with additional needs himself. The Biala relies on fundraising and volunteers. If successful as a Westfield Local Hero, the $10,000 grant would be used to keep the Ringwood Biala open for a whole year.
Frank Zimmerman: Australian Red Cross
Sincere. Dedicated. Professional.
Frank is a well-known and loved driver for the Australian Red Cross. Frank drives people of all ages who can no longer drive themselves due to an ailment or illness, to their doctor’s appointments during treatment. Frank’s service extends so far beyond simply driving them from A to B – he acts as a friend, support and confidant during what can be one of the most difficult times in a person’s life. If Frank is named a Westfield Local Hero, the $10,000 grant would go directly toward maintaining the vehicles that enable Frank and others like him in the community to perform these valued services.