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 Kotara. 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 Kotara are:

Carly Reasbeck

Got Your Back Sista
Dedicated . Supportive . Compassionate

Carly Reasbeck is a former Australian martial arts champion, but little compares to the pride she feels when helping women regain their confidence after domestic violence. Carly is a self-defence trainer at Got Your Back Sista and teaches women and girls how to protect themselves, which also improves their physical fitness and emotional well-being. “I am passionate about women's rights and empowering women through my work,” says Carly, who is a confidant, role-model and mentor to her students. Her lessons support the organisation’s goal of helping women to lead socially connected lives free from violence.

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 Carly is successful, Got Your Back Sista will hire an instructor to accommodate more women and girls in self-defence courses.


Grace Woolcock

Newcastle Meals on Wheels
Selfless . Committed . Dedicated

Grace Woolcock has been an integral part of Newcastle Meals on Wheels for decades and, at the age of 90, she still serves meals two or three times a week. “I have been a volunteer since 1966, originally cooking, serving and delivering five days a week,” she says. Part of her legacy is Grace’s Place, a welcoming venue named in her honour that is the heart of the organisation’s Wellness Program. Anyone over 65 can enjoy a meal and participate in activities designed to reduce social isolation and nurture physical health and cognitive skills.

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 Grace is successful, Meals on Wheels will hire buses for wellness program outings and buy new tables and chairs and replace the ageing airconditioner at Grace’s Place.


Joanne Sunderland

Narnia Young Parents Early Learning Centre
Enthusiastic . Motivated . Committed

Joanne Sunderland is full of admiration for young mums and dads who strive to finish their HSC after their baby is born. She is also perpetually cheerful and loves babies, making her a perfect fit with the Narnia Early Learning Centre. She eagerly and lovingly cares for the little ones while their parents attend school in a flexible learning environment that also teaches them parenting and life skills. Thanks to people like Joanne, many of the students have achieved generational change and have become the first in their family to finish school or go to university.

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 Joanne is successful, the school will improve the outdoor play area and buy high chairs and changing tables.


Philippa Woolf

NSW Police Legacy
Industrious . Compassionate . Dependable

Philippa Woolf was a member of the NSW Police for 26 years until her retirement in 2010 and her husband is still a police officer. Soon after her retirement, she volunteered for the NSW Police Legacy, which is the charity for the NSW Police Force and their families. Since then, Philippa has been working tirelessly across the Hunter region to ensure that everyone receives the care they deserve. She is patient and compassionate and regularly checks in on people of all ages and provides the charity with updates on their needs.

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 Philippa is successful, NSW Police Legacy will provide school scholarships, welfare grants and access to psychologists for those touched by tragedy or difficult circumstances.


Steve Poulton

Soul Cafe
Compassionate . Hardworking . Generous

Steve Poulton was a rugby league star who won grand finals with Wests Newcastle in the 1980s, however, he also partook in unhealthy behaviours during this time. He has since given up his unhealthy habits and for the past 14 years has been volunteering for 20 hours a week at the Soul Café charity, collecting donated food from restaurants and cooking breakfasts for homeless people. “I like talking to the different people who come in. Some of these guys have no one else to talk to,” Steve says. “I also like working with the other volunteers.”

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 Steve is successful, Soul Café will buy food and train more volunteers for the SMART recovery program.


Wendy Jenkins

Angel Gowns for Australian Angel Babies
Creative . Inspiring . Compassionate

When Wendy Jenkins sits down to watch TV at night, she invariably has a crocheting hook in hand and will be making beautiful tiny blankets, booties and beanies to send to a stranger in need. She is a committed volunteer for Angel Gowns for Australian Angel Babies Inc (AGFAABI), which supplies funeral attire for stillborn babies and those up to 18 months who have passed away. Families are provided with free packs that contain a gown/wrap, blanket, nappy, beanie and booties as well as a keepsake. Volunteers repurpose the gowns out of donated wedding dresses.

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, AGFAABI will buy new office equipment and improved packaging for the angel packs.


Recognising all our 2019 nominees

View all of the nominees and their organisation

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