Don’t go out This Week in The Can. Stay in, or venture out only to…
The finalists for the 2021 Westfield Local Heroes have been announced and it is time to recognise those who work selflessly to inspire and shape our unique communities.
Each of Canberra’s two Westfield centres—Belconnen and Woden—will award three $10,000 individual grants to Local Heroes positively influencing the local community or environment, with community voting now open.
Meet Canberra’s inspirational organisations and role models:
Dr Eloise Bright, ACT Pet Crisis Support
Dr Eloise Bright (feature image) founded the volunteer-run charity, ACT Pet Crisis Support, offering subsidised veterinary care for pet owners that can’t afford hefty vet bills.
Dr Bright’s work means that people do not have to result to euthanasia for their pets because they aren’t always able to pay for treatment.
Gaye Wade, Roundabout Canberra
Families in need of baby and children’s items can rely on Roundabout Canberra for safe and clean pre-loved items.
Gaye Wade helps thousands of parents to provide their children with a safe and happy start to life.
Leigh McIntosh, Livin for Hockey (LFH)
Leigh McIntosh works to promote Hockey as a healthy means to combat mental health issues.
Livin for Hockey ensures all players, regardless of mental health or economic circumstances are supported and welcomed to play in a team.
Margaret McGrath, Ngunnawal Street Pantries
In 2020 when COVID-19 hit Canberra, Margaret McGrath left no time to help neighbours in need and set up the Ngunnawal Street Pantry.
Today there are four community pantries in Gungahlin open every day to provide donated goods.
John Wells, Hawkers Men’s Shed
Jon Wells has over 40 years of volunteer work under his belt and runs the Hawker Men’s Shed.
The Shed gives a place for people in the community to engage in small number meetings that provide support to benefit members and social activities.
Tracey Parker, Australian Kookaburra Kids Foundation
Tracey Parker works with the Australian Kookaburra Kids Foundation, bringing joy to children impacted by family mental illness.
Her work means that children at risk of social isolation are provided with the opportunity to make friends and participate in fun activities.
Michael, ACT Rural Fire Service
Dedicated volunteer firefighter, Michael has worked tirelessly for the ACT Rural Fire Service.
But doesn’t just stop at fighting fires, spending his time teaching fire safety and schools, planting trees and helping with the local Scout group in Duffy.
Peter Cursley, Newborn Intensive Care Foundation
Peter Cursley has dedicated more than 20 years raising funds for research and medical equipment for Canberra Hospital through his Newborn Intensive Care Foundation.
His work has saved the eyesight of 22 babies using a donated eye laser. That is just one example of the impact Peter has made.
Rob Regent, Everyday Champions
Founder of Everyday Champions, Rob Regents social enterprise runs sports activities and fun days out to promote healthy lifestyles and build life skills.
As a coach and personal trainer, Rob dedicates his time to creating an empathetic and inclusive community and inspiring people with disabilities to live a well and fulfilled life.
Shannon Wood, Woden Community Service
Shannon Wood is a Woden Community Service worker, providing donated food and personal items through Little Pantry.
Shannon is known for her immense generosity in the community supporting people in need of all ages and those with mental illness and disabilities.
Suzanne Crane, Capital Nordic Walking
Suzanne Crane leads volunteer program, Nordic Stride 4 Life: Safer, Stronger, Together (NS4L).
She works to support physical and mental health and provide social connection for those living in Canberra’s retirement communities.
Val Dempsey, St John Ambulance Australia (ACT)
Nurse Val Dempsey has used her experience to help her community for nearly 40 years.
Val’s extensive volunteer work ranges from supporting the elderly, providing first aid at community events, leading or assisting with volunteer induction and training and helping at NightCrew.
Val works to keep our community safe, last year volunteering over 600 hours of service through St John Ambulance.