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Presenting your 2021 Westfield Local Heroes

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Presenting your 2021 Westfield Local Heroes

We are excited to announce your three 2021 successful Westfield Local Heroes for Plenty Valley.

Each of the affiliated organisations of the successful heroes will be awarded a $10,000 grant to support their work to thrive. Westfield will award 126 grants across Australia and New Zealand – totalling $1.26 million.

In early 2022, we will open nominations for the 2022 Westfield Local Heroes program, so start thinking about those people in your communities who make a difference.

For further information or to discover the Westifield Local Heroes at other Westfield centres, click here.


Your three Westfield Plenty Valley Local Heroes are:

Gianna Donato

Encompass Care Victoria
Passionate. Faithful. Dedicated

Gianna Donato delivers food and connection to vulnerable people through her work with Encompass Care Victoria. Her team hand out food parcels and referrals to other organisations. They also make breakfast sandwiches for children at three schools in Bundoora and Mernda and run a weekly community café to reduce social isolation.

Find out more >

Jill Pope

Big Group Hug
Caring. Passionate. Engaging

Jill Pope volunteers more than 40 hours a week with the Big Group Hug, providing donated prams, cots, clothing, toiletries and other material aid to children from vulnerable families. Last year the charity supported over 3000 children, meeting nearly every request for help. The charity’s work also keeps tons of quality items out of landfill.

Find out more >

Steve Watts

Parkinson's Victoria
Protective. Determined. Dedicated

Fire Rescue Victoria Commander Steve Watts has spent the past four years raising awareness and funds for the 27,000 Victorians with Parkinson’s disease. Steve was diagnosed with the disease in 2017 and has come up with innovative ways to help the non-profit provide peer support, health advice and research funding.

Find out more >


We congratulate our finalists and recognise the important contribution they make to the local community.

Gurinder Kaur from Sikh Community Connections
Busy mum Gurinder Kaur swung into action to help keep people fed and supported during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Gurinder juggles a full-time job and a ten-year-old child with her volunteer work for Sikh Community Connections, which provides free culturally appropriate food, counselling and a listening ear to 3500 local families doing it tough.

Ian Landy from Northern Pride Netball Association
Ian Landy helped form the Northern Pride Netball Association so children in his community could finally participate in netball competitions. The association has given 400 children the opportunity to have fun, stay fit and make friends during a Saturday morning game of netball.

Julie Malherbe from JABS Joey & Bat Sanctuary
Julie Malherbe has saved the lives of countless joeys, wombats and flying fox pups through her wildlife shelter, the Joey and Bat Sanctuary (JABS). A crucial part of her work is to educate the community about wildlife, including the importance of flying foxes.


If you need support, please phone Lifeline: 13 11 14

Recognising all our 2021 nominees

View all of the Westfield Plenty Valley nominees and their organisation