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Meet Christine Cleary - Westfield Local Heroes 2021

Checking health and giving friendship

__Compassionate. Caring. Generous __

Christine (Chris) Cleary goes out onto the streets almost every night to provides free medical services to homeless and at-risk people in western Sydney.

Chris founded her StreetMed charity in 2014 and leads her fellow volunteers to do blood pressure and other health checks and speak to people about their mental health. They also share smiles and shoulders to cry on, and hand out hot meals, blankets, toiletries and food for pets.

Part of Chris’s reward and motivation is that the people she helps trust her enough to let her into their lives. “Every single day, I get to spend time with society’s most forgotten, yet most resilient human beings,” she says.

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, when most organisations were winding down their services, relentless Chris was out every night, often with her 14-year-old son, ensuring all their homeless friends were safe, fed and cared for.

Chris has twice been named Hills District Citizen of the Year and is the 2020 Rotary Inspirational Woman of the Year. She feels privileged to be nominated as a Westfield Local Hero. “Not all days are rainbows with the work that I do, but being nominated by my peers will help me on the tough days,” she 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. StreetMed will use its funds to offer mental health, suicide prevention, first aid, conflict resolution and self-defence training to volunteers.

For further information on the Westfield Local Heroes program, click here

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