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Presenting your 2021 Westfield Local Heroes

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

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.

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


Your three Westfield Southland Local Heroes are:

Deb Brook

Bayside Community Emergency Relief inc.
Hardworking. Generous. Humble

Deb Brook has helped thousands of people and wildlife since establishing Bayside Community Emergency Relief last year. The charity funnels community donations to other organisations to ensure the right help gets where it is needed as fast as possible. She collected about $1 million worth of goods during the bushfire and 2020 COVID crisis and has supported well over 2,000 vulnerable elderly people, and adults and children displaced by domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Find out more >

Heather Baird

A Better Life For Foster Kids
Persistent. Resilient. Devoted

Heather Baird provides a case full of clothes and dozens of essential items to Victorian children who have been removed from their family home. Her charity, A Better Life for Foster Kids has helped more than 1,500 children since 2014 and also supports carers, encouraging them to keep opening their homes to vulnerable children.

Find out more >

Sarah Backholer

Helping Hands
Inspirational. Dedicated. Passionate

Sarah Backholer has helped over 1000 young people with autism reached their full potential and take their rightful place in the community in the 15 years since she founded Helping Hands. The centre specialises in interventions that lead to lasting improvements in behaviour, cognition, motor and social skills and independent living skills for people with autism.

Find out more >


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

Lisa Lovell from Black Rock Pre School Centre Inc
Lisa Lovell has helped the community-run Black Rock Preschool grow from strength to strength, raising thousands to improve educational opportunities for young children. Lisa’s children have now graduated from kindergarten but took on the role of president of the non-profit because she believes all local families have a right to an affordable pre-school close to their home.

Madeleine Buchner from Little Dreamers
Madeleine Buchner was just 16 when she started her Little Dreamers non-profit for people aged up to 25 who take care of someone else. Twelve years later, her team of 42 staff and 140 volunteers are making a big impact.

Marion Harriden from Make a Difference Dingley Village
Marion Harriden has spent more than three decades responding to every request for food and crisis support through Make a Difference Dingley Village. The non-profit may be small, but thanks to the perseverance and commitment of Marion and her fellow volunteers, at least 100 vulnerable families receive a much-needed grocery voucher each week.


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

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