Grant Spotlight - 2024 Westfield Local Heroes

4 min read
13 Feb 2024

Every year Westfield shines the spotlight on the many amazing individuals and organisations who are making a positive impact in their local community or environment. Across Australia and New Zealand, Westfield will provide $1.26M in Westfield Local Hero grants in 2024.

The Westfield Local Heroes program is always well-received within The Grants Hub community. We enjoy watching on from the sidelines each year as our members are nominated, shortlisted as finalists, and ultimately voted as a Westfield Local Hero.

We recently had the pleasure of discussing the program with Siobhan Trinder, Community Engagement Manager at Scentre Group. Siobhan shares some great insights into the program including the impact it has made, how it helps beyond the initial grant funding, what the selection panel is looking for, and more!

Nominating a Westfield Local Hero only takes a few minutes, so if you know someone who deserves to be recognised and supported, nominate them at:

How has the Westfield Local Heroes program evolved since it started in 2018?

Over the past six years of Westfield Local Heroes, we have evolved the program’s structure to reflect participant feedback.


When the program began, we selected six finalists per Westfield destination with the three finalists receiving the highest community vote count being awarded $10,000 each. In 2022, we restructured the grants so that we would select three finalists per Westfield destination, awarding one finalist the title of Westfield Local Hero and $20,000 for their organisation. The two other finalists receive a $5,000 grant for their organisations.


The change was made to ensure that participants have the best experience with the program.


We'd love to hear more about the positive impact Westfield Local Heroes has made to date.

Since 2018, the Westfield Local Heroes program – funded by Scentre Group - has provided almost $7.4 million* in community grants to 740 local hero and finalist organisations.

Equally impactful are the promotional and recognition elements of the program. Westfield Local Hero alumni also tell us the program helps to grow their brand awareness and broadens their community and professional networks.

* Refers to $30,000 in grants funded by Scentre Group across all 42 Westfield destinations. Total grants funded is in AUD. 

Tell us about one particularly inspiring story that comes to mind.

Personally, my favourite part of the program is when we get to meet the finalists face-to-face at the announcement events. Talking to them about their personal stories and their motivation is truly inspiring.

At every event, the finalists themselves always gravitate towards one another and we see community connections being forged that helps each of them to grow their own networks and impact.

Were there any new or emerging trends last year?

Westfield Local Heroes provides an insight into what is top of mind for our communities as they nominate and vote for those heroes and the causes that resonate the most with them. Scentre Group has contributed $7.4 million over 6 years to 740 community organisations and over time, we’ve seen that more than $5.9 million, or 80% of the grant funding has supported six priority areas:

  • Disability and access
  • Access to basic needs & services
  • Family support and new parents
  • Youth support and education
  • Mental health and wellbeing
  • Domestic violence and child protection

What excites you the most about this year’s program?

Every year brings a new group of selfless and inspiring individuals creating a positive impact in our communities. We look forward to discovering the stories of these individuals and shining a spotlight on their tireless work. This year we are particularly excited to see more nominations from volunteers and leaders from diverse communities.

Westfield is a big business with a high foot traffic and an extensive network. Are there other opportunities for the grant recipients, beyond the money itself?

The Westfield Local Heroes program provides more than just grants. The program aims to discover, celebrate, and contribute to people and organisations who give back to their communities and environment.

The program’s objectives include raising the profile of our finalists and their work, helping our alumni to achieve their goals faster through the grants, promotion, and community recognition, and through ongoing partnerships, explore new opportunities for our alumni to connect with their communities.

Every year, as part of their Community Plans, our 42 Westfield destinations continue to partner with their alumni. In 2023, our destinations planned events and activations with more than 200 alumni, so in a sense, the grant stretches out past the recipient into our communities.

What is the selection panel looking for when reviewing nominations?

The selection panels assess each nominee on their own merits, taking into consideration how their work positively impacts the local community or environment, their standing as a community role model, how the grant will be used to directly benefit the local community or environment and the hero and organisation’s goals to continue to build thriving and resilient communities.

What our panels are particularly drawn to are the individual stories of the heroes themselves. We look to their personal motivation and contribution to giving their time selflessly to help their communities to thrive.

What would you say to someone wondering if taking part could be time or resource-consuming?

We appreciate the time that it takes for our nominator, nominees, and organisation contacts to complete the Westfield Local Heroes nomination. Nominating only takes a few minutes but that one act could make a big impact to an organisation.

Karen Knuckley, Westfield Geelong Local Hero said, "[The Westfield Local Heroes program is] a very rewarding experience and a great windfall to help organisations to continue to deliver or expand their programs.”

Often our nominees tell us even just the act of being nominated is reward enough for them. To know they are recognised and valued by their community fills them with pride and motivation.

What inspires you as a team running the program?

Our Westfield Local Heroes and finalists, who are the true heroes within our communities.

As a team, the best part of our job is to see the pure joy of our Westfield Local Heroes when they find out they have been able to receive a $20,000 grant for their organisation. It is our favourite time of year! To be able to motivate them to continue to create an impact in their community is what drives us to deliver this program each year.

Any advice for other funding providers looking to start or review their grant programs?

When we developed the program, we worked closely with our Westfield destinations and communities to build it. We wanted to know what they needed and how we could remove barriers to participate. In many instances grant programs are only open to registered charities and they must be aligned to specific projects. We have intentionally opened our program to community groups, social entrepreneurs, educators, welfare services, and community volunteers to remove barriers to enter.

Nominations close on March 18th, 2024. Nominate someone now, your one small act could have a big impact.



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