Meet your local hero finalists

Story

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 Miranda. 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 Miranda are:

Andrew Barrs

Australian Kookaburra Kids Foundation
Reliable . Passionate . Genuine

Andrew Barrs makes a point of being there for children who might otherwise miss out because their mum or dad has a mental illness. As a volunteer camp leader at the Australian Kookaburra Kids Foundation, Andrew has helped hundreds of vulnerable children. He has volunteered at over 50 of the foundation’s camps over the past 12 years, providing participants with support and opportunities to form lasting connections.“When the young people return from our weekends, families report positive changes, deeper understanding and conversations about the mental illness in their families,” Andrew 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 Andrew is successful, the foundation will enhance its volunteer program by offering regular connection through social gatherings and training.


Diane Manns

Sutherland Shire Family Services
Dedicated . Passionate . Hardworking

Diane Manns is dedicated to eliminating domestic violence and assisting those who have lived through it. She is the CEO of Sutherland Shire Family Services and leads a team of 40 social workers, psychologists, mothercraft nurses, teachers, law specialists and others who help families recover from trauma. In the 17 years Diane has been at the service, she has taken its impact to a new level by becoming a vocal campaigner for reducing the causes of family violence. “We aim to provide safer outcomes for our children, young people and families,” Diane 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 Diane is successful, Sutherland Shire Family Services will convert a room at its offices into a purpose-built care centre for children recovering from trauma.


Keaton James

Top Blokes Foundation
Energising . Relatable . Inspiring

Keaton James is a professional wrestler, but his moves outside the ring are having the most significant impact. By night, he is known as “Captain Keato” in the wrestling world, but he spends his days working as Top Blokes Foundation mentor for young people. Known for his authenticity, Keaton has helped over 250 young men over the past three years, encouraging them to develop their self-confidence.“I’m a passionate youth worker and a wrestler, and I feel it's a massive achievement to turn two of my passions into proper jobs,” Keaton 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 Keaton is successful, Top Blokes Foundation put on four 16-week mentoring programs at Endeavour Sports High School and Cronulla High School, supporting 48 young men.


Kim Hiron

Make-A-Wish
Compassionate . Understanding . Caring

Kim Hiron knows firsthand that granting a sick child’s wish does more than create a special moment; it can help them heal. She has dedicated countless hours over many years to Make-A-Wish Australia and is a leader at the South Sydney branch. As a former Wish mum herself, she has experienced the positive impact wishes can have on children and their families.“My greatest joy is being able to help grant cherished wishes,” says Kim, a teacher and loves working with children and builds personal connections with the families she helps.

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 Kim is successful, Make-A-Wish Australia will put its grant towards one or more of the nine wishes on which the South Sydney branch is working.


Rob Cook

One Meal
Humble . Genuine . Driven

Rob Cook is on a mission to supply healthy hot meals to hungry people in the Sutherland Shire, but his work is about more than food.Rob is a founding member of the Sutherland team at One Meal – It Makes a Difference, leading a group of volunteers who provide up to 60 meals a week to people experiencing homelessness.Food is just one aspect of the task. The volunteers also help patrons find services to get back on their feet.“Our ultimate aim is to assist and support our patrons to return to independence,” Rob 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 Rob is successful, One Meal will cover the increasing operating costs of its growing service and buy a deep freezer and food handling equipment.


Shantelle Tagg

Shimmy Shakes Dance Studio
Strong . Generous . Amazing

Shantelle Tagg believes no one should be stopped from enjoying the magic of dance because of disabilities or a lack of money. She operates Shimmy Shakes Dance Studio, which keeps its fees low and welcomes dancers who cannot join regular classes. Her uniquely inclusive classes have sign language interpreters, a high staff to student ratio and a low-sensory environment designed for children who would be overwhelmed in conventional studios. “By creating an inclusive program, we aim to break down barriers for children with challenges,” says Shantelle, a former professional dancer whose oldest daughter is disabled.

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 Shantelle is successful, Shimmy Shakes will provide accredited disability dance training to all staff and hire more teachers.


Recognising all our 2019 nominees

View all of the nominees and their organisation

Support
If you need support, please phone Lifeline 13 11 14
Terms and conditions
View terms and conditions

Seafolly: Own Your Folly
5 treatments that fit into a lunch break

What's happening