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Meet (and vote for!) your Westfield Local Heroes for 2020

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The Westfield Local Heroes community grants program creates opportunities for those truly putting their communities first to be recognised and rewarded.

This year’s Westfield Belconnen and Woden finalists were announced yesterday and include some of Canberra’s most brilliant community organisers, volunteers, advocates and social entrepreneurs.

They’re now all in the draw to scoop one of six Westfield Local Heroes grants (three from Woden and three from Belconnen) of $10,000, which will be used towards their respective community organisations.

The 2020 finalists are…

  • Caroline Odgers treats all aid requests with kind enthusiasm. Caroline is the ACT and South East NSW Manager of GIVIT, which sources tens of thousands of donated items for more than 350 charities, including domestic violence services, homeless shelters and bushfire recovery services.

Caroline Odgers.

  • Elizabeth Lefevre was on maternity leave with four-month-old twins when a breast cancer diagnosis turned her world upside-down. Elizabeth soon discovered a gap in support for younger women with cancer and started an online group that became The Young Women’s Cancer Support Group – ACT & Surrounding Region.
  • The Zone Belconnen is a hive of activity every Saturday as the ACT Wizards Tenpin bowlers gather to bowl, cheered on by their families, friends and support workers. All year-round, it’s a time for laughter, celebration and encouragement, thanks in a big part to Marilyn Richards, the president of the league for people in the ACT region living with disability. Marilyn has been involved with the Wizards for more than 20 years and has been president for five years.
  • Sharon Leigh-Hazell is on a mission to transform Florey into the friendliest neighbourhood in Canberra. It all started after Sharon’s house was burgled and her car was stolen. Fortunately, a neighbour reached out to the community, which culminated in people getting together and forming the Florey Neighbourhood Watch.
  • Sue White is known as a super-connector and is on a mission to transform her suburb of Scullin into a vibrant community. In late 2018, Sue and neighbour Rachel Howard founded Scullin Community Group. Within weeks they had set up a popular Facebook group, organised a community get-together and canvassed the views of locals about strengthening the suburb’s sense of community.

Sue White.

  • Lids4Kids was born when Tim Miller started raising funds for charity by collecting the 10c refund on containers. But nobody wanted the plastic lids he had accumulated. Tim was determined to save the lids from landfill and searched for various not-for-profit groups that could use the plastic bottle lids to repurpose into sustainable recycled plastic products to benefit the environment and disadvantaged kids.
  • Kristine Hewett is known for her big heart and charitable nature. Despite working full-time, she co-founded Adamas Nexus to provide long-term peer support for women survivors of domestic violence and abuse.

Kristine Hewett.

  • Jessica Kercher is a dedicated supporter and fundraiser for Camp Quality, a charity that gives kids facing cancer the chance to be kids again. After watching her 2-year-old daughter fight an aggressive cancer diagnosis, Jess knows firsthand the impact Camp Quality has. For the last 10 years, Jess has been dedicated to fundraising and sharing her story to help families just like hers.
  • Registered Nurse Lachlan Finlayson is a single parent and still manages to volunteer to help the Canberra community with St John Ambulance Australia. He is a natural leader and is always willing to take on extra tasks. One of the most exhausting but satisfying experiences of his life was being deployed to Narooma and Bega during the recent bushfires.

Lachlan Finlayson.

  • Marcia Williams has been a steadfast and influential campaigner for women’s rights for more than a decade. As CEO of the Women’s Centre for Health Matters (WCHM), Marcia is passionate about ensuring the ACT community hears the voices of women, particularly those who are vulnerable or marginalised.
  • Michelle Barclay is an empathetic, hands-on-lawyer who goes out of her way to support vulnerable people. She started at Canberra Community Law as a volunteer, but her charitable work has become her career. One of Michelle’s wins is helping prevent women prisoners at the Alexander Maconochie Centre from being evicted from their homes

So how can you help these inspiring Canberrans? You can vote!

Simply head to westfield.com.au/local-heroes and select ‘Belconnen’ or ‘Woden’ to cast your vote.

Voting closes 14 September, so get your skates on.

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