Meet your Westfield Local Hero Finalists

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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 Newcastle 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 Kotara. 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 Kotara are:

Lianne Dean: Respectus


Indefatigable. Motivated. Inspiring
Lianne is a volunteer director of Respectus Limited, a charity that works to provide safe and affordable housing for women and children who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Over the past two years, Lianne has led a project in partnership with Nova for Women and Children that has brought together many community organisations to renovate an old convent. She has transformed it into a refuge for women and children, called Trisha House. If Lianne is successful in becoming a Westfield Local Hero, the $10,000 Westfield Local Heroes grant would wholely contribute to Respectus Limited’s next project to provide safe and affordable housing for women and children experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness.

Akazee Eguevoi: Aboriginal Employment Strategy


Humble. Compassionate. Leader
Akazee is a young Indigenous woman who has put her heart and soul into supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people into sustainable employment and young Indigenous people into traineeships and apprenticeships. Akazee meets with local employers to identify their recruitment needs and works with the local Aboriginal community to source Aboriginal candidates for these roles. If Akazee is successful in becoming a Westfield Local Hero, the $10,000 Westfield Local Heroes grant would be used to support a Little Sisters program in the Newcastle region where Akazee and her all-female Aboriginal team could provide structured mentoring and career guidance to young Aboriginal girls or young Aboriginal Single Mums.

Melissa Histon-Browning: Got Your Back Sista


Compassionate. Inspiring. Inclusive
As the Founder and volunteer CEO of Got Your Back Sista, Melissa works to bring to life the charity's vision to see women and their children happy, thriving and living independently after escaping the trauma of domestic violence. Mel undertakes the initiation, development and nurturing of all corporate and community partnerships, counselling and mentoring and a safe place to connect with other women and support workers. If Mel is successful in becoming a Westfield Local Hero, the $10,000 grant would be used to develop, promote and conduct further workshops and programs in self-defence, resilience and mentoring reaching 200 people in the Hunter region over the next 12 months.

Catharina Howman: Firstchance


Commited. Caring. Selfless
Catharina is a Family Worker at First Chance, an organisation that provides ongoing support to families when they become aware that the development of their baby or small child is atypical. Through her work with the ‘Little Ones’ group for children aged 0-9, Catharina helps families to establish a supportive network of other families in similar situations, one-on-one guidance as well as providing access to paediatric professionals. If Catharina is successful in becoming a Westfield Local Hero, the $10,000 grant would assist funding the ‘Little Ones – Resilient Families’ group, which supports local families who have a child age 0-3 years with a disability.

Lyn Thurnham: Hunter Life Education


Supportive. Innovative. Creative
Lyn is a volunteer Chairperson for the Board of Directors of Hunter Life Education (HLE), a community-based organisation working in partnership with schools and community organisations to raise funds for Life Education delivery - encouraging children to make safer and healthier choices. Through Lyn’s expert guidance, she has overseen more than 900,000 lessons take place in schools across the region. If Lyn is successful in becoming a Westfield Local Hero, the $10,000 Westfield Local Heroes grant will ensure over 380 Hunter students from selected schools with low levels of educational advantage will have access to life education in 2018/19.

Lloyd Valentine: Healthy Change Challenge


Courageous. Insightful. Egalitarian
Lloyd is the founder of Healthy Change Challenge a fun, empowering, social and community-integrating holistic health program for marginalised people including people with a disability and/or mental illness. Also known as Challengers, members learn to direct exercise, shopping, cooking and mindfulness/meditation sessions in collaborative and supportive groups. If Lloyd is successful in becoming a Westfield Local Hero, the $10,000 Westfield Local Heroes grant would be used to expand the program to more individuals within the community who are in need of health intervention as well as the purchase of a new vehicle to transport Challengers.

Recognising all our 2018 nominees

View all of the nominees and their organisation

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