Three finalists announced

Karen Knuckey from Story Dogs. (pictures supplied)

The finalists for the 2022 Westfield Local Heroes community recognition and grants program have been announced.

Now in its fifth year, the program has selected three finalists for each Westfield centre, shining a spotlight on role models whose work makes a positive impact to their local community or environment.

The successful hero for each centre will be awarded a $20,000 grant for the group or organisation they represent, and each finalist will receive a $5000 grant for their group or organisation.

“Through the Westfield Local Heroes program, we continue to recognise and acknowledge people who have made a lasting impact on the future of our local community,” Westfield Geelong Centre Manager Lauren Frew said.

“It’s with great pleasure that we announce our three 2022 finalists and encourage our community to vote and help us discover our 2022 hero.”

The three finalists are:

Karen Knuckey, Story Dogs

Go-getter Karen Knuckey and her dogs Penny and Libby have found their calling as volunteers with Story Dogs, a charity that helps students who are struggling to read. Reading to a non-judgmental dog helps the children focus and build their reading confidence. The charity is flourishing in Geelong thanks to Karen, who has built up a 24-strong volunteer team.

Kerry Johnson, Encompass Community Services

Resourceful Kerry Johnson has gone above and beyond in her role at Encompass Community Services to start a new initiative that provides 10 local families a week with home basics packs of bed linen, pillows, towels, pots and pans. Kerry volunteered in her own time to get the program off the ground.

Laura Alice, Bluebird Foundation

Compassionate Laura Alice supports hundreds of young people as a mentor with the Bluebird Foundation, a community arts organisation that brings people together while celebrating their differences. Laura is a talented artist and loves collaborating with young people to create cutting-edge works that improve their mental health and wellbeing.

The voting period is now open and closes on Monday August 22. The successful hero will be announced on Tuesday 13 September. Head to to cast your vote.