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 Marion. 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 Marion are:

Claire Foord

Still Aware
Resilient . Passionate . Inspiring

After learning her daughter’s stillbirth could have been prevented, a devastated Claire Foord was determined to help prevent others from grief. She founded Still Aware in 2014 to raise awareness about stillbirth and prevent deaths through education and awareness. Claire travels the country, giving talks to parents and educating clinicians. Still Aware’s education and prevention programs are similar to international programs that have successfully been implemented and seen decreased stillbirth rates in the respective countries. “Australia must catch up. Every year we could be saving around 2200 babies’ lives,” says Claire, who also supports grieving families.

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 Claire is successful, Still Aware will fund 20 education sessions for clinicians on stillbirth prevention.


John Denholm

SA Brothers
Altruistic . Committed . Humble

John Denholm created SA Brothers so men have somewhere to turn when they are struggling emotionally. SA Brothers uses social media to create a safe, non-judgmental space for men of all ages and walks of life to speak up, anonymously if wanted, when they need advice and support. The aim is to reduce the stigma around men’s mental health and help more than 18,000 members move forward with a more positive outlook. “I founded the group in 2017 after dealing with my own mental health issues and seeing the gap in the system,” says John.

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 John is successful, SA Brothers will use the funds to finalise its registration as a federal government approved charity, to provide mental health training for the team and emergency food and accommodation vouchers for members.


Leigh Aitken

Operations Flinders Foundation
Passionate . Devoted . Moral

For many children on the wrong path, an outdoor adventure led by Leigh Aitken is the turning point in their lives. Leigh is a volunteer with Operation Flinders Foundation, which helps teenagers with challenging behaviours realise their potential through an eight-day, 100km remote outback trek.Leigh has helped many young people become more confident, more interested in school and determined to turn their lives around. “During the trip they learn basic bush craft, camp craft and survival skills and undertake a range of activities to develop self-confidence, teamwork and problem solving,” says Leigh.

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 Leigh is successful, Operation Flinders Foundation will fund equipment and rations for 10 people to take part in the program.


Leighton Boyd

MarionLife Community Services
Compassionate . Dedicated . Trustworthy

Every day, Leighton Boyd gives it his all to help break the cycle of poverty. He is the director of MarionLife Community, which provides emergency relief to people and families, followed by support to move on to a better life. The people he helps are dealing with homelessness, domestic violence, unemployment, mental health issues and other struggles. Leighton and his team provide vouchers to the local Foodbank where their clients can buy discounted items and get free fruit and vegetables.“Where possible we also provide items like bus tickets, shoes vouchers and blankets,” he 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 Leighton is successful, MarionLife Community Services will be able to pay for Foodbank vouchers for six months along with the cost of fuel for a weekly bus to take people to Foodbank.


Melanie Tate

Puddle Jumpers
Selfless . Driven . Passionate

Social worker Melanie Tate founded Puddle Jumpers in 2012 to fill the gap in support for children living away from their parents with foster carers or relatives. She and her team of volunteers run camps at which children struggling with a range of issues get to enjoy activities aimed at giving them social skills, confidence and good self-esteem.Each child is teamed up with a mentor. “The impact of having the undivided attention of one adult who chooses to be with them because they care is often life-changing,” says Melanie.

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 Melanie is successful, Puddle Jumpers will run a camp exclusively for children being raised grandparents.


Neil Davis

Sammy D Foundation
Courageous . Dedicated . Passionate

After losing his son to violence, Neil Davis dug deep to save other families from similar grief.He founded the Sammy D Foundation in honour of his 17-year-old son who died from one unprovoked punch. Neil now tells his story through programs aimed at preventing violence and the harm caused by alcohol and other drugs. “No other family should have to suffer the loss of a child due to violence. As difficult as it is for me to talk about Sam’s story, the chance of saving just one life makes it all worthwhile,” he 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 Neil is successful, the Sammy D Foundation will provide six months of weekly mentoring to 10 additional young people.


Recognising all our 2019 nominees

View all of the nominees and their organisation

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