Thank you for voting for your Westfield Local Hero

Story

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 St Lukes are:

Bernie Harfleet

Give a Kid a Blanket
Humble. Compassionate. Self-sacrificing

Bernie Harfleet and his partner, Donna Turtle Sarten, are harnessing community goodwill to embrace children in need with warmth and love. They founded the charity Give a Kid a Blanket in 2015 to collect blankets, pyjamas and other warming items which are given to children and families in need. The idea is that the people who receive the blankets benefit from physical and emotional warmth and feel valued by the community. "Over the last six years, we have gifted around 100,000 items," says Bernie. "I do this because it is possible to make a difference with practical local action."

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 Bernie is successful, Give a Kid a Blanket will use its grant to buy bedding, mainly duvet inners, covers and pillows following a shortfall of donations due to COVID-19.


Jennifer (Jen) Birch

Autism New Zealand
Devoted. Compassionate. Supportive

Jen Birch provides adults with autism with a much-needed social outlet through an Autism New Zealand support group. Jen received an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis at the age of 43 and understands what it’s like to grow up with an unexplained difference. The group arranges two much-needed get-togethers a month. “This is a crucial social outlet for many individuals who otherwise may have had few, if any, opportunities to meet other people in an environment of understanding and acceptance,” Jen says She has written a book about her experiences which has helped raise awareness.

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 Jen is successful, Autism New Zealand will use its grant to support people with autism in several ways, including help with accommodation, job seeking and social skills training.


Lydia Hollister-Jones

Gratis Free Store
Compassionate. Selfless. Contagious

Lydia Hollister-Jones, leader of Gratis Free Store, sets out each week to provide vulnerable people with food. But the store has become so much more for the disadvantaged people who queue to get in for the conversation and friendship they find, as much as for the free food and hot drinks. It's a welcome refuge for those who are struggling with loneliness, hunger, homelessness, and addiction. "We've seen confidence rise in our community because people are genuinely interested in hearing what others have to say. We chat about everything, from our favourite doughnuts to how our mental health is doing." Lydia 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 Lydia is successful, the Gratis Free Store will be able to offer hot food, run special events and provide volunteer training.


Mac Jordan

Youthline Auckland Charitable Trust
Passionate. Selfless. Empathetic

Mac Jordan wants to help change New Zealand’s high rates of youth suicide, school bullying and child poverty. For over two years he has been a highly effective helpline mentor with the Youthline Auckland Charitable Trust. Youthline plays a critical role in early intervention through its 24/7 helpline, which received over 151,000 calls, emails and texts for help last year. Eager to step up his efforts, Mac has taken on the important task of training and supervising current and new helpline volunteers. “What I aim to achieve with these roles is to improve and sustain the helpline,” Mac says.

If you need support, please phone: Youthline 0800 376 633 or free text 234

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 Mac is successful, the grant will help Youthline pay for a triaging service to cope with demand.


Sarah Woollard

Anxiety New Zealand Trust
Dedicated. Passionate. Selfless

Passionate about connecting people with health and wellbeing support Sarah Woollard was driven to help other New Zealanders dealing with anxiety, panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression and mental distress. Sarah Woollard is passionate about helping connect kids, adults and families with essential mental health education and support. She is the CEO of the Anxiety New Zealand Trust, a non-profit charity of 40 years, where she volunteers for many hours on top of her busy schedule. The Trust helps people experiencing stress, anxiety, panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression and help to build community resilience. “Research indicates that 75 to 90 per cent of GP visits are stress-related, including headaches, high blood pressure, heart problems and diabetes,” says Sarah. “Our goal to help anyone that needs it, and connect early on.”

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 Sarah is successful, the Anxiety New Zealand Trust will purchase a new calling system which will enable an additional 12,000 people to be supported through the helpline.


Tayla Nasmith

Mummy's In Need
Passionate. Selfless. Caring

Tayla Jane Nasmith was 12 when she started Mummys in Need to help mums with essentials for their children. That was in 2012. Tayla was driven to do something positive when she saw a baby in a supermarket wearing nothing but a singlet. Since then, Tayla has spent much of her time fundraising and collecting, buying, organising and delivering prams, clothes, toys and other items. The charity now supports about 170 babies a month. "I absolutely love the work I do and I love knowing that there are babies out there that are safe because of us," says Tayla.

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 Tayla is successful, Mummys in Need will use its grant to employ an assistant.


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

Recognising all our 2020 nominees

View all of the nominees and their organisations