Meet your local hero finalists

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Meet your local hero finalists

Read about your Westfield Local Hero finalists

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 2019 nominees for Westfield Riccarton. Each of the affiliated organisations for the successful three heroes will be awarded a $10,000 grant to support their work to thrive. In total, Westfield will be awarding 120 grants across Australia and New Zealand – totalling $1.2 million.

Your Westfield Local Heroes will be announced here on 1 October

Your six finalists for Westfield Riccarton are:

Alexandra Poetschke

Recreate NZ
Passionate . Dedicated . Compassionate

The timing was perfect when Alexandra Poetsckhe stumbled across Recreate NZ, which provides social and recreational activities for young people with disabilities.A speech-language therapist, she was eager to use outdoor adventure to help people develop their independence and communication. Alexandra spent two years volunteering before moving into a permanent role in Recreate NZ’s Christchurch office. She coordinates half-day to five-day programs that also help build friendships and gives families some respite. “I’ve seen young people transform and blossom through participation in outdoor pursuits that challenge and delight them,” she 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 Alexandra is successful, Recreate NZ will be able to make up a funding shortfall and ensure continued program delivery.


Alice Andersen

Qtopia
Passionate . Uplifting . Brilliant

For many LGBTI+ youths, group sessions at Qtopia are the only time they can be themselves. Led by Executive Director Alice Andersen, Qtopia offers young people a safe and welcoming place to meet. The Christchurch-based non-profit holds separate support groups for children under 12, teenagers and those over 18, as well as for parents and carers. It has 500 active members, with 75 new members joining so far in 2019. “The need for what we do and the support we provide is growing. Qtopia is a vital lifeline for the LGBTI+ community,” says Alice.

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 Alice is successful, Qtopia will continue to promote safe and welcoming environments where the LGBT+ community are celebrated.


Anna Manson

Shocking Pink
Empathetic . Driven . Hilarious

Despite the demands of a full-time job, family and her own health challenges, Anna Mason has become the beating heart of breast cancer charity Shocking Pink. The organisation supports women aged 45 and under who have breast cancer, both during treatment and during the “fallout” after treatment is over. Anna, who was diagnosed with breast cancer at 31 amidst the Christchurch earthquakes, joined Shocking Pink as a volunteer in 2012 and now oversees more than 500 members. “The purpose of my work is to provide financial support and online and face-to-face emotional support,” she 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 Anna is successful, Shocking Pink will be able to reach more women and offer more food and petrol vouchers.


Bridget Kelly

Women’s Centre
Passionate . Inclusive . Committed

Bridget Kelly devotes hundreds of hours a year to supporting women in crisis at the Women’s Centre Incorporated. The centre provides counselling, referral and access to resources for up to 10,000 women a year who are experiencing a crisis because of domestic violence, mental health issues or trauma. Bridget wears many hats as a volunteer, but her most significant role is being the welcoming person the women see and engage with they arrive at the centre. “My primary aim as the initial contact is to ensure women feel both safe and heard,” she 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 Bridget is successful, Women’s Centre Incorporated will be able to meet operational costs so it can continue providing free services.


Christina Buckland

From One Mother to Another
Determined . Selfless . Kind

After experiencing fear and stress when her daughter was rushed to hospital, Christina Buckland set out to help other parents through the same experience. She co-founded One Mother to Another (OMTA), a charitable trust that provides gift packs to mothers and carers of acutely sick children in hospital. The packs contain practical items such as tea and coffee, shampoo and lip balm and luxuries such as hand cream as well as a hand-written note. “We know what a gift bag full of practical, indulgent items and a letter of encouragement would have meant to us during such a vulnerable time,” says Christina.

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 Christina is successful, OMTA will be able to support an extra 2500 extra mums or carers.


Jan Murphy

Champion Centre
Wise . Compassionate . Benevolent

Jan Murphy has devoted her working life to ensuring children with disabilities can achieve more than anyone thought possible. In her 40 years with the world-renowned Champion Centre, she has been instrumental in developing successful early intervention programs that have supported more than 2000 children and their families/whanau. The Centre works with families to unlock the potential in children with complex disabilities such as Down syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Dyspraxia and Global Developmental Delay. “We see a positive impact on the lives of those we work with every day. Parents reflect that they feel better able to help their children develop and learn,” says Jan.

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 Jan is successful, the Champion Centre will be able to develop its outreach program in the community.


Recognising all our 2019 nominees

View all of the nominees and their organisation

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