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Announcing your 2023 Westfield Local Hero

We are excited to announce Valda Allen from The Haymarket Foundation Ltd as your 2023 Westfield Local Hero for Sydney!

Westfield is proud to award a community grant of $20K to help Valda and The Haymarket Foundation Ltd to continue to grow their impact in the local community

The 2023 Westfield Local Heroes program will award 126 grants across Australia and New Zealand – totalling $1.26 million to support local communities.

Nominations for the 2024 Westfield Local Heroes program are open now. If you know someone who's making an impact, nominate them as a Westfield Local Hero - nominate here.

Your 2023 Westfield Sydney Local Hero is:

Valda Allen

The Haymarket Foundation Ltd

Caring. Tenacious. Hard-working

Tenacious Valda Allen works tirelessly behind the scenes to help provide support for homeless people in the Sydney CBD.

Valda came out of retirement 16 years ago to take on the role of Quality Coordinator at the Haymarket Foundation, where she is employed part-time to support Sydney’s most vulnerable people. When it’s busy, she regularly volunteers around the clock.

Her background in critical care nursing has been invaluable to the foundation. She improves policies, works to ensure the safety of staff and clients, kept the crisis accommodation open during Covid-19 and regularly leads a daunting program to secure accreditation from Australian Council on Healthcare Standards.

The foundation offers crisis accommodation for up to 59 people a night, many of whom suffer from a complex combination of mental illness, addiction, lifelong trauma and disability. Many more people are supported through outreach programs.

Many of the 850 people the foundation works with each year have slept rough in the city or were in unstable accommodation.

Valda is proud that the foundation offers long-term support and works with people to find sustainable solutions that help them build a new future.

She feels humbled to be nominated as a Westfield Local Hero. “Nothing is more motivating than being part of a worthwhile cause,” Valda says.

The Haymarket Foundation will use its funds to help cover an increase in rent and other costs related to providing crisis accommodation.

We'd like to thank and acknowledge our finalists who will receive a $5K grant for the organisation they represent...

Mary Fifita from Pacific Professionals Network

Generous Mary Fifita fosters a culture of self-belief among Pacific Islander university students through an innovative mentoring program she runs in partnership with UTS. Mary is the founder of the Pacific Professionals Network, which has recruited accomplished Pasifika professionals to act as role models and to help the students find employment after graduation.

Roderic Byrnes from No More Butts

Passionate Roderic Byrnes volunteers several hours a week to help remove cigarette butt litter from his community. In addition to his role as chairperson of the No More Butts environmental group, he participates energetically in clean-up events and helps out with marketing. Ultimately, he wants to help find a way to recycle cigarette butts.

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

Recognising all our 2023 nominees

View all of the Westfield Sydney nominees and their organisations.

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