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 Manukau City are:

Andrea Gaskin

Connect the Dots
Genuine. Kind. Hardworking

Andrea Gaskin uses art to improve the wellbeing of people with dementia. Through her charitable trust, Connect the Dots, Andrea arranges free art gallery tours for residents of aged facilities and provides art classes to empower them, with a cup of tea and home-baked biscuits as an added treat. A recent project brought the budding artists together with established artists to co-create and then exhibit artworks. "These projects are run in community spaces so that our Kaumatua feel seen and respected," Andrea 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 Andrea is successful Connect the Dots will use its grant to hire a part-time administrator so the team has more time to reach out to older people.


Darryl Vincent Evans

Mangere Budgeting Services Trust
Passionate. Caring. Big-hearted

Darryl Evans makes sure struggling families never go hungry by providing much needed food parcel support from their in-house Food Bank. As CEO of the Mangere Budgeting Services Trust, he runs a food bank that provides 16,000 food parcels and 15,000 grocery packs for families and pensioners. While the food parcels help, Darryl goes the next step to encourage the families to get themselves out of financial strife with the support of a team of Financial Mentors and through education workshops. His team provide budgeting advice, financial planning and can negotiate with creditors. “Without sound budgeting advice, our clients would continue to live in debt, he says but through our supports, they often learn to make smarter choices with their personal income.

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 Darryl is successful, Mangere Budgeting Services Trust will use its grant to cover the cost of the food bank for 12 months and help pay the fuel costs for a delivery van.


Emily Luatua

The Cause Collective (Do Good, Feel Good)
Loyal. Resilient. Champion

In 2016, Emily Luatua was one of 10 young people who came together to discuss how to collectively improve the health and wellbeing of young people in South Auckland. Four years later, with more than 15,000 hours of volunteer hours to her name, Emily is a leader of Do Good, Feel Good, a youth-led movement under the umbrella of The Cause Collective. Emily has grown as a leader and works with others to engage local young people in positive and healthy activities. "I have a sense of pride in what we create and the relationships we have created," says Emily.

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 Emily is successful, The Cause Collective (Do Good, Feel Good) will use its grant to publish a book about local social change and to buy merchandise.


Michele Henry

Burn Support Group Charitable Trust
Passionate. Dedicated. Enthusiastic

Burn survivors often struggle with their disfigured appearance and ongoing trauma, but thanks to Michele Henry they don't have to battle through on their own. As events coordinator for the Burn Support Charitable Group Trust, Michele arranges activities to bring survivors together. There are survivor retreats, camps for children with burns, buddy systems and inspirational speakers at group meetings. Burns are traumatic, not only for the change in physical appearance that can occur but the emotional and physiological journey that endures for the individual and their families," Michele says. "It's terribly important to understand they are not alone."

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 Michele is successful, the Burn Support Group Charitable Trust will use its grant to help more people by putting on additional events.


Paul Robinson

Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust
Passionate. Generous. Trusted

For rescue helicopter pilot Paul Robinson, night shifts, extended time away from family and cancelled leave are the norm as he selflessly puts others first to save lives. Paul has been a pilot with the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust for almost 10 years and also heads up training. "I am proud of the amazing team I work with and know they have the skills to care for people in need," he says. Without his efforts, there would not be enough funds to sustain the vital and often life-saving charity.

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 Paul is successful, the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust will use its grant to buy a winch and medical equipment that will help save lives.


Sue Ollerton

Sustainable Papakura
Dedicated. Big-hearted. Community Centred

Edible gardens are popping up in public spaces all over Papakura, as locals follow the lead of sustainability champion Sue Ollerton. It's all part of her mission to help the residents of the Auckland suburb cut down on waste to save their wallet and the planet. Sue weaves her magic at Sustainable Papakura, where she facilitates sustainability workshops in her role as marketing manager. She teaches people to sew disposable nappies and cloth pads and how to make beeswax wrappers to replace plastic wrap. "Our workshops help people feel confident to become more sustainable in their homes," Sue 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 Sue is successful, Sustainable Papakura will have precisely the amount needed to employ her for 11 months of the year.


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

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