Geelong’s incredible local heroes have been honoured by Westfield

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Geelong’s incredible local heroes have been honoured by Westfield

Words by Staff Writer

Westfield Local Heroes 2023 program awards $1.26M to 126 individuals and their groups or organisations making a difference in the community.

Geelong’s local heroes have been celebrated in the annual Westfield Local Heroes community recognition and grants program for 2023. This heartwarming initiative, now in its sixth year, recognises individuals and their groups or organisations that have made a remarkable difference in their community.

The recipients were nominated and voted for by their fellow community members, reflecting the impact of their outstanding work.

Stay up to date with what’s happening in and around the region here.

The program awards the successful hero at each Westfield centre a substantial $20,000 grant for the group or organisation they represent. Additionally, the remaining two finalists at each centre receive a commendable $5,000 grant for their respective groups or organisations. This year, a total of $1.26 million in grants will be awarded to 126 inspiring individuals and their initiatives across Australia and New Zealand.

Geelong’s local heroes for 2023 have been unveiled, and they embody the spirit of giving and community support:

Recipient of the $20,000 grant:

  • Brian Stewart Edward, APMOAM, Lions Club of Geelong Corio Bay: Brian Edward, a retired police Chief Superintendent, has dedicated his retirement to serving others. His outstanding fundraising efforts, which have raised a staggering $400,000, have primarily benefited deserving children. At 83 years old, Brian continues to make a difference as the children’s camp coordinator at Lions Geelong Corio Bay. His tireless work has enabled 1,300 children to attend five-day sponsored summer camps.

Recipients of the $5,000 grant:

  • Jade Hamilton, Lazarus Community Centre: Jade Hamilton is the General Manager at the Lazarus Community Centre in Geelong. She provides a welcoming space for approximately 45 people daily, offering cooked lunches, access to showers, and laundry facilities. Jade is passionate about making a positive impact on people’s lives and strives to create a sense of belonging for her guests.
  • Libby Bate, Cancer After Care Group Geelong: Libby Bate’s unwavering dedication has helped raise funds for improved cancer care in Geelong. She serves as the President of the Cancer After Care Group Geelong, and her tireless efforts have resulted in better cancer care for patients in the region. Since 1978, the group has donated more than $4 million to the Andrew Love Cancer Centre, thanks to Libby’s incredible work.


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Lauren Frew, Centre Manager at Westfield Geelong, expressed her admiration for the 2023 grant recipients, highlighting their exceptional contributions to the community. Frew stated, “It’s our pleasure to introduce the Westfield Local Heroes 2023 grant recipients and celebrate the remarkable work and contributions they make to our communities. Each year, we are delighted to receive such inspiring nominations, and as we celebrate the sixth year of the program, we want to thank those people who give back to our community, and our customers for their ongoing support in recognising and rewarding these incredible role models.”

Scentre Group’s Westfield Local Heroes program was established in 2018 to acknowledge and support community role models from various sectors, including emergency services, registered community groups, sporting clubs, not-for-profits, schools, and environmental initiatives. To date, the program has made a significant impact, supporting more than 600 community organisations and investing a total of $6.14 million in community grants, with an additional $1.26 million to be awarded this year.

Westfield Geelong and other Westfield destinations across the country will celebrate their Local Heroes from September 10th. To learn more about their achievements and contributions, head here