Recognise your community champions through the Westfield 2023 Local Heroes Program

Last year's Westfield Fountain Gate Local Heroes Program winner Franca Heins. Photo: supplied 292912_01

Westfield is calling on local communities to help shine a light on Casey’s unsung heroes, with nominations now open for the 2023 Westfield Local Heroes program.

Returning for the sixth consecutive year, the program aims to discover and celebrate individuals who make a positive impact on their local community or environment, raising awareness of their work and providing a platform for community recognition.

Across Australia and New Zealand, Westfield will provide $1.26 million in Westfield Local Hero grants in 2023.

The grants have been used by Westfield Local Heroes alumni in ways that directly benefit the community or environment.

In 2022, Westfield Fountain Gate’s Local Heroes recipient was Franca Heins from Dandenong-based food charity We Care Community Services shed, which used the $20,000 grant to upgrade its storage shed.

2022 competition finalists Kay Taranto from Wild Days Wildlife Shelter and Mary Tresize-Brown from South-East Learning and Employment Network (SELLEN) each received $5000 to assist in their organisations in working with the community.

The 2023 competition will take on the same format, with the successful hero of each Westfield centre awarded a $20,000 grant for the group or organisation they represent, and the two finalists receiving a $5000 grant for their group or organisation.

Scentre Group National Community Manager, Pam Wilson said she was thrilled to announce the return of the program for its sixth consecutive year.

“Our local communities are full of everyday heroes who go above and beyond for others, and this is our chance to recognise and support them to continue their important work,” she said.

“Communities across Australia and New Zealand are invited to nominate individuals who support the community in any field, including family and youth support, health and wellbeing, inclusion and equity, community resilience and environmental sustainability.

“Nominating your Westfield Local Hero is one small act that can have a big impact. If you know a community champion who deserves to be recognised for their outstanding contributions, visit the Westfield website, and nominate them,” Pam said.

Since its inception in 2018, the program has recognised and celebrated more than 600 Westfield Local Heroes, with more than $6.1 million in grants distributed to the organisations they represent.

Westfield Local Heroes is open to people in a broad range of sectors including emergency services, registered community groups, sporting clubs, not-for-profit, schools, authorities and the local environment. There are no restrictions on previous nominees, finalists or heroes being nominated again and nominees only need one nomination to be considered for the assessment process.

Nominations for Westfield Local Heroes close on 30 March 2023. The community vote will be held between 22 August and 11 September 2023 to determine the Westfield Local Heroes at each centre, with the grant recipients announced on 10 October 2023.