Meet your Westfield Local Hero Finalists
In the first year of the Westfield Local Heroes program, we have received an overwhelming response and many heart-warming stories after asking the Sydney city community to nominate individuals who they believe promote social wellbeing and harmony in their communities.
We congratulate every one of our nominees and recognise the important contribution they make to the local community.
The community has now cast its vote, the outcome of which will determine the three successful 2018 Westfield Local Heroes for Westfield Sydney. Each of their affiliated organisations will be awarded a $10,000 grant to support their work, program or activities.
The successful Westfield Local Heroes will be announced on 13 August.
Your six finalists for Westfield Sydney are:
Melissa Abu-Gazaleh: Top Blokes Foundation
Fearless. Audacious. Purposeful.
Melissa established the Top Blokes Foundation at the age of 19, to empower young men to change a youth culture that was harmful to them. She spends a considerable amount of time speaking to parents and community members on how they can take a proactive approach to improving young men's health within their communities. With a number of primary schools on the waiting list, the $10,000 grant would help Melissa fund more schools in the Sydney Region, seeing more boys and young men complete their mentoring program.
Andrew Everingham: Sydney Homeless Connect
Charismatic. Dedicated. Compassionate.
Andrew is the co-founder and convener of the Sydney Homeless Connect; where each year since 2010, Sydney Town Hall has transformed into a welcoming environment for Sydney’s homeless - where they can not only connect with services such as crisis care, financial and legal advice, employment information and housing assistance, but one where they receive dental and medical attention, a haircut, a massage and a hot meal. Andrew leads the core team to bring together over 300 volunteers that will support over 3000 guests, in 2017 this included: 5350 coffees/ tea served, 3800 bacon and egg rolls served, 28 dental procedures and 200 dental prescriptions provided, 25 racks of clothing, 750 pairs of running shoes, 400 hair cuts. The $10,000 grant would be used to fund the 2018 Sydney Homeless Connect taking place on the 3rd of July, 2018 at Town Hall.
Fiona Forrest: Women's Housing Company
Passionate. Committed. Tireless.
The Women's Housing Company is a registered not-for-profit community housing provider that provides social and affordable housing for women on limited incomes across Sydney. Fiona facilitates consultations, workshops and forums including dedicated sessions for non-English speakers whilst coordinating bimonthly meetings across Sydney to gather views on service delivery and develop a deeper understanding of the issues facing social housing tenants. The $10,000 grant would assist in expanding programs of short courses, digital and financial literacy, creative and well-being classes and social outings.
Stephen Lunny: Surry Hills Neighbourhood Centre
Connector. Educator. Leader.
Stephen is the Community Programs Coordinator at Surry Hills Neighbourhood Centre and works to empower the disadvantaged by designing, coordinating and running community programs for vulnerable individuals who might have struggled with chronic disadvantage, stigma or ill health. Stephen designs and runs wellness prgrams that teach the principles of good nutrition, healthy eating and cooking. The $10,000 grant would go towards a wellness project with young people who are at risk of harmful use of alcohol and drugs.
Adam Thompson: PCYC NSW - City of Sydney
Dedication. Commitment. Integrity.
Adam is the Club Manager of PCYC City of Sydney (Police Citizens Youth Club). The club runs programs specifically targeting at risk youth such as 'Youth Campus', an alternative learning program for young people aged 15 to 17 who have fallen away from the school system. As well as being Club Manager, Adam is also a mentor of the Youth Campus program requiring him to conduct group and one on one sessions supporting members of the program both current and past. The $10,000 grant would allow the club to introduce a new breakfast program for young people aged between 13-18 including a morning training session, a nutritious breakfast and a lift to school.
Antoinette Uwera: Asylum Seekers Centre
Inclusive. Caring. Understanding.
Antoinette's role at the ASC focuses on family engagement for people seeking asylum in our local Sydney community. Antoinette organises workshops and excursions that are suitable for all family members, connecting parents to local schools and investigating educational opportunities for children who are yet to gain access to school. The $10,000 grant would assist in providing child care sessions and provide relief for families who experience extreme financial hardship to pay for local school fees, uniforms, shoes, backpacks and stationary kits.