Thank you for voting for your Westfield Local Hero

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Thank you for voting for your Westfield Local Hero

We congratulate all of our finalists and recognise the important contribution they make to the local community. The successful Westfield Local Heroes will be announced on 27 October.

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 2020 nominees for every Westfield centre. 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.


Your finalists for Westfield Plenty Valley are:

Deborah Henry

From Us 2 You
Smart. Kind. Selfless

Three nights a week, homeless people in Melbourne can look forward to a feast of prawns and steak, cooked with love by Deborah Henry and her dedicated volunteers. Deborah set up her social enterprise, From Us 2 You, nearly six years ago after her community services studies opened her eyes to the struggles people face. In addition to enjoying meals created from quality food rescued from supermarkets, it’s a chance for her clients to connect and have a conversation with each other and the volunteers. “They call me mum or street mum. I love it,” Deborah 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 Deborah is successful, From Us 2 You will use its grant to buy food as there is less food available from supermarkets because of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Josephine (Josie) Minniti OAM

Northern Health Foundation
Genuine. Committed. Heartfelt

Josie Minniti OAM is a dedicated and inspiring volunteer whose tireless efforts have helped raise over $700,000 to help patients with cancer or kidney disease at Northern Health’s four public hospitals. The funds have helped pay for medical equipment upgrades and for equipment that makes life more comfortable for patients undergoing cancer treatments. “This year, my target is to purchase equipment for the respiratory unit, to help patients suffering from lung cancer,” Josie 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 Josie is successful, the Northern Health Foundation will put the funds towards an EBUS machine which will speed up the time for a respiratory diagnosis so treatment can start sooner.


Libby Barker

PRACE (Preston Reservoir Adult Community Education)
Dedicated. Principled. Tenacious

Libby Barker has dedicated her life to helping disadvantaged youth, migrants and asylum seekers break the poverty cycle through education. She works with disadvantaged youth, adults struggling to find employment, newly arrived immigrants and asylum seekers, with 650 students enrolling each year. Libby takes an innovative approach to engage learners, such as combining literacy programs with sailing and organising activities for children so their parents can learn. She develops relationships with other organisations to help reach and support her learners.

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 Libby is successful PRACE (Preston Reservoir Adult Community Education) will employ a careers planner and advisor to support disadvantaged learners on their career journey.


Maddie Francis

NICU Cheer
Extraordinary. Compassionate. Inspirational

Maddie Francis knows firsthand how traumatising and isolating it feels to have a premature baby in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). She established NICU Cheer to provide gift bags to cheer parents up on Christmas Day after her son Ashton was born 10 weeks early. She works full-time securing donations for the beautifully presented bags. “Being in the NICU is traumatising, isolating and heartbreaking,” says Maddie. “We want parents to know they are not alone.”

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 Maddie is successful, NICU Cheer will be able to expand its service to all five of the tertiary level NICUs across Melbourne and add more delivery days.


Narelle Draper

Hazel Glen Netball Club
Supportive. Dedicated. Caring

Without Narelle Draper's encouragement, many children would be missing out on the health and social benefits of sport. She started the Hazel Glen Netball Club to create an environment where all children feel included and can grow in confidence and independence, both on the court and in the community. In just 12 months the club has surged to 16 teams for 140 children aged 5-18 years. The focus is on being a good sportsperson and building each other up.
"We are focused on giving them the skills they need to find where they fit and do well," Narelle 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 Narelle is successful, the Hazel Glen Netball Club will put the funds towards court lighting so members no longer have to train in the dark.


Nella Palmieri

Whittlesea City Neighbourhood Watch
Compassionate. Dedicated. Inspiring

Nella Palmieri is unrivalled when it comes to volunteering in her community.
She is involved with many organisations and events, including Whittlesea City Neighbourhood Watch. As a fundraising events coordinator, she organises safety events and speaks to organisations. It’s widely recognised that her efforts have helped reduce crime in the Whittlesea area.

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 Nella is successful, the Whittlesea City Neighbourhood Watch will buy anti-theft screws and signs to improve community safety.


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

Recognising all our 2020 nominees

View all of the nominees and their organisations

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Please note, due to COVID-19 certain centre services are currently unavailable