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 Southland are:

Kerrie Curtis

Starfish Nippers Hampton Life Saving Club
Passionate. Enthusiastic. Fun

Kerrie Curtis has created something precious for parents who have children with disabilities – the chance to participate in a fun sport as a family. Kerrie created the Starfish Nippers program at the Hampton Life Saving Club to include children and young adults with disabilities in lifesaving. The program quickly grew from 10 to 38 Starfish Nippers, who each have a volunteer mentor by their side. It runs alongside the traditional Nippers event, enabling families to have fun at the beach together. “It’s the highlight of their week,” Kerrie 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 Kerrie is successful, the Starfish Nippers Hampton Live Saving Club will buy equipment and make a video to encourage other clubs to introduce the Starfish program.


Matthew (Matt) Donovan

The Food For Change Foundation
Role model. Big-hearted. Changemaker

Single dad Matthew Donovan has founded a local charity that grows and rescues food to feed hungry people. In the four years since its launch, Food for Change has grown and donated more than 135,000 meals and rescued more than 155,000 from going to waste. The charity piggybacks on existing infrastructure and food is distributed to locals via organisations including Sacred Heart Mission, Matts Place at Cheltenham and the Kingston City Church. "My work aims to help both community health and address food insecurity, as well as benefit the environment by removing edible food from the food waste stream," Matthew 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 Matthew is successful, The Food for Change Foundation will use its grant to buy seed and other necessities to increase its food production significantly.


Robbie Hendry

TaskForce Community Agency
Driven. Encouraging. Compassionate

Robbie Hendry puts everything he's got into running a pilot project to support young people into employment after they have left school early or disengaged from the community. The TaskForce Community Agency project offers a 12-month traineeship as well as multiple layers of support to help with mental health, substance misuse, housing, antisocial behaviour and study. "The people I work with have faced a lot of struggles in life, which can be quite heartbreaking," Robbie says. "When I see what a difference I can make to a young person in need, how could I do any other job?" he asks.

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 Robbie is successful, the TaskForce Community Agency will use its grant to support young people in various ways, including through crisis support, peer support and possibly a graffiti program.


Sam Elkin

Joy 94.9
Cheerful. Resilient. Kind

Lawyer Sam Elkin takes time out from his day job to record weekly podcasts that promote inclusion for the trans and gender-diverse community. Each professionally produced podcast profiles the life and work of an inspiring transgender person. "By sharing these stories, we feel we can help to improve the mental health and other health outcomes for transgender Victorians. We provide positive role models and demonstrate that trans people can find meaningful work and integrate and thrive in our broader community," says Sam. "Doing this radio show has also helped my mental and emotional health".

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 Sam is successful, Joy 94.9 will use its grant to cover production costs for a season of podcasts and the cost of transcribing existing episodes to make them accessible to the deaf community.


Simone Anderson

Helping Hands
Patient. Caring. Determined

Behaviour therapist Simone Anderson co-founded Helping Hands to help families bring out the best in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). There are 100 children enrolled at the centre, all being nurtured by an extensive team of health professionals and educators. Simone has made a significant difference in many lives over the years. For example, coaching children to do things that others take for granted, like using public transport with confidence. Simone is well known for seeing the capability in every child. "We endeavour to help children with special needs reach their full potential by providing a safe, nurturing and productive environment," says Simone.

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 Simone is successful, Helping Hands will use its grant to buy communication devices for non-verbal children and equipment for the sensory room.


Yvonne Hong

Pets Of The Homeless Australia
Passionate. Optimistic. Changemaker

Yvonne Hong started Pets of the Homeless (POTH) as a self-funded passion project in 2015 to look after the much-loved pets of people facing homelessness. She started out packaging pet food at her kitchen table. But despite having no experience of running a charity, she has grown POTH into a formidable operation and has opened Victoria's first pet food bank. Each month, POTH helps more than 1000 people care for their beloved pets. Yvonne believes everyone is capable of making a difference and lives by her motto: "If not me, then who?"

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 Yvonne is successful, Pets Of The Homeless Australia will use its grant to fund starter packs of food and supplies and an essential healthcare check for 20 pets.


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

Recognising all our 2020 nominees

View all of the nominees and their organisations

Christmas has come early at BIG W
21 retailers offering click & collect

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Here's a round-up of our retailers offering click & collect services to make it easier to get your essentials or maybe, just some retail therapy.

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