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Presenting your 2022 Westfield Local Hero

We are excited to announce your 2022 successful Westfield Local Hero for Sydney.

The successful Westfield Local Heroes organisation, will receive a grant of $20,000 to help them continue to grow their impact in the local community. Westfield will award 126 grants across Australia and New Zealand – totalling $1.26 million.

In early 2023, we will open nominations for the 2023 Westfield Local Heroes program, so start thinking about those people in your communities who make a difference.

Your 2022 Westfield Sydney Local Hero is:

Katrina Ikonomou

Kind-hearted. Passionate. Resilient

Kind-hearted social worker Katrina Ikonomou is a proud Dharug woman who goes above and beyond to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children in the Inner West.

Katrina manages the clinicians at Gunawirra, a community-led organisation where cultural advisers and allied healthcare professionals work together to provide services that celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and promote healing.

She plays a crucial role at Gunawirra, which has two equally important main programs. One is the Young Aboriginal Mothers Group, and the other supports 26 preschool communities with speech therapy, art therapy, occupational therapy and social work services.

Gunawirra has a key focus on country. Something that gives her great joy is when families engage with the environment and cultivate native plants in local spaces in collaboration with the council.

Katrina is highly respected for doing much more than it says on her job description. For example, during the COVID lockdowns, she tirelessly sourced computers, data, food and art supplies for families. In addition, she ran online video sessions to support mums through a difficult time.

“I am passionate about my people, and I want women to feel supported so they can be the best mothers to their children,” Katrina says.

Gunawirra will be able to fund much-needed additional clinician time and invest in training.

We also congratulate our finalists who will receive a $5,000 grant for the organisation they represent, and we thank them for their incredible contribution to the local community.

Rob Haggett from Pocket City Farms
Rob Haggett and the team at Pocket City Farms work with communities, schools and businesses to set up and maintain urban farms to increase urban greening, biodiversity and food security in our cities. The thriving urban farm in Camperdown was created by converting the disused Camperdown Bowling Club into a thriving urban farm to provide fresh produce to local communities and inspire others to take action.

Shaun Christie-David from PlateitForward Ltd
Shaun Christie-David responded to COVID by launching a feeding scheme that provides 3,000 high-quality meals a week and established a job-creation project that offers meaningful work opportunities that break generational cycles of poverty. As CEO and founder of PlateitForward, Shaun provides food, cooking lessons, kitchen training and employment to Sydney’s disadvantaged communities.

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

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