Meet our amazing Smartline local heroes!

We’ve been so inspired by all the nominations we received in the Smartline local heroes competition and we’re excited to introduce you to the five amazing winners who will each receive $5,000!

A heartfelt thank you to all our winners and to everyone who was nominated for the incredible things they are doing in their communities. You are making our world a better place and for this, we are truly grateful. We would also like to acknowledge the selfless ‘nominators’ who took the time and effort to share their hero stories with all of us.

The five Smartline local hero competition winners are:

NSW/ACT

Ingerlise S

21 Gifts

Nomination:

"Ingerlise and Daniel used their own experience w/a child diagnosis to make a positive difference! Their kindness project, 21 GIFTS, provides hospitals in Australia and New Zealand with beautiful welcome-to-the-world baby suitcases for families with a Down Syndrome diagnosis, absolutely free. This grant would help them keep up the high demand! Thank you." - Nominated by Susan and multiple community members*

More about Ingerlise:

Like every new mum around the world, when Ingerlise’s baby Maia was born in Norway, she was proud, excited and totally in love with her child. A Down Syndrome diagnosis, delivered with tears and sadness by medical staff, left her and her husband feeling overwhelmed by the sudden focus on challenges instead of all the opportunities ahead. Luckily, within days a nurse delivered a gift from the Norwegian Down Syndrome community, packed with real-life experience about the joys of life with a little extra!

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Inspired by her own experience, Ingerlise now runs 21 GIFTS, a kindness project to pay forward this gift of joy to families here in Australia and New Zealand. She provides hospitals with beautiful welcome-to-the-world baby suitcases, aptly nicknamed a ‘suitcase for a new adventure’. As part of her mission, she hopes to create a positive ripple effect that changes the narrative surrounding any child diagnosis. She is partnering with hospitals to empower health professionals to help make this happen so that every child is celebrated and recognised as the perfect and truly amazing gift they are.

 

VIC/TAS

Deborah H

From Us 2 You

Nomination:

"Deb cooks 7 days a week for 3 outreach lunches where anywhere from 100+ homeless and those who are doing it tough attend All the food is cooked by volunteers and donated by admirers of the selfless work she does. She gets zero funding + also helps feed the CFA" - Nominated by Annie and multiple community members*

More about Deborah

In 2009, Deborah helped out victims of the devastating Black Saturday fires in Kilmore, north of Melbourne. This ignited in her a passion for community service and she has been tenaciously helping those in need ever since. Following the bushfires, Deb took to the streets of Melbourne, bringing hats and scarves to the homeless to help keep them warm. However, she soon realised what these people really needed was food and conversation.

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From this seed, Deb created From Us 2 You over the past 6 years and it has grown into such an important service, Deb now has nine volunteers who help her cook meals and take lunch to those in need in central Melbourne three days a week, typically feeding over 100 homeless people a week. People in the community generously leave food at her door each day, including a local supermarket, who kindly donate all the store's leftover perishables. Deb inspires those around her to get on board. She now has five and a half thousand members in her Facebook group, many of whom donate money or volunteer their time to keep From Us 2 You going.

 

WA

Dylan B

Nomination:

"Dylan is a local 18-yr-old boy that volunteers his time each week to visit Bethany Fields elderly residents. Dylan takes his dog, Maverick, so the residents can cuddle and pat his dog. Dylan is a hero because he suffers from cerebral palsy, and is deaf and wheelchair bound himself." - Nominated by Theresa

More about Dylan:

Eighteen-year-old Dylan faces many difficulties as a result of being born three months' early. He has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair. He is also deaf and non-verbal and must communicate with a special speech device.

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Despite his own challenges, Dylan decided to reach out to help others in the community. Until March, when COVID-19 put a stop to it, Dylan volunteered to visit the elderly at the local retirement village. Each week he would bring his assistance dog, Maverick, to share with the residents as a therapy dog. Maverick provided comfort, companionship and a sense of fun to the residents’ days. Together, Maverick and Dylan brought joy and laughter to the facility.
Dylan is an inspiring young man who demonstrates empathy and dedication beyond his years. Despite the personal obstacles he faces personally daily, he remains focused on how he can help others and strives to make a difference to the world around him. He is only too happy to share his beautiful dog, Maverick, with others who he knows could also benefit from the kind of unconditional friendship only a dog can provide.

 

SA/NT

Nadine W & Jay W

We Care in the West

Nomination:

"When the virus hit and people were told to 'stay at home', Nadine and Jay started 'We Care in the West', a group for collecting and sharing resources to those in need. While others were hoarding, Nadine and Jay were packing up boxes of food for the elderly and disadvantaged. Big hearts." - Nominated by Carolyn and multiple community members*

More about We Care in the West:

When COVID-19 swept across the world, it brought out the best and the worst in people. While some people were hoarding food and supplies for themselves, Nadine and Jay chose to look after the most vulnerable in their community and ensure they got what they needed. They knew there would be people who were really going to struggle during lockdown, including the elderly, people living alone, people with disability, and those without an income.

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Nadine and Jay created ‘We Care in the West’, a group dedicated to collecting and sharing resources for those in need. Their Facebook page now has over 450 followers, to whom they reach out for donations whenever needed. The necessary supplies are left on Nadine and Jay's veranda by willing volunteers, and they package them up and make sure the goods get to deserving recipients. They have given personal care and hygiene packs to women fleeing domestic violence, beautiful home-baked cookies to essential health workers, food boxes to those who can’t afford to buy their own groceries, Easter packs for adults with an intellectual disability, and much more.

 

QLD

Zig Zag Young Women's Resource Centre

Nomination:

"Zig Zag Young Women's Resource Centre supports young women who have experienced sexual violence. They provide counselling, support groups, workshops and community education. I have personally accessed their services several years ago and will never forget the genuine support, care and kindness shown by this fantastic organisation." - Nominated by Amy

More about Zig Zag Young Women's Resource Centre:

Zig Zag is a community-based organisation that provides specialist support services to young women (aged 12-25) who have experienced sexual violence or harassment, and services to young women (aged 16-25) experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness. They offer a safe place for women to get information, support, counselling, and supported accommodation. This unique and essential service was established in Brisbane in 1988, in response to a clear and specific need in the community.

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The team at Zig Zag are not only incredibly qualified and experienced across the myriad of complex challenges these young women face; they are also deeply caring, kind and non-judgemental. When young women come to Zig Zag for support, they are often at a very vulnerable time of their lives and need support and advocacy to navigate complex and challenging service systems (e.g. legal, housing and healthcare systems).
The team at Zig Zag work alongside these young women and acknowledge young women’s control over their own lives! Zig Zag recognises the social, political, cultural and economic contexts that limit young women’s power, creating vulnerability and disadvantage, and they work in ways that promote safety and is collaborative, inclusive, supportive and respectful. Zig Zag supports young women to speak up, and to be part of the solution in ending violence against women. The team at Zig Zag also educate the community about these serious issues and advocate to end youth homelessness and violence towards women.

 

Even heroes need a sidekick

We know that some heroes need a sidekick. We also know that the world of finance and buying a property can be complicated without the right advice.

We’ve got a team of close to 400 Smartline personal mortgage advisers (sidekicks) ready to stand by your side throughout the home loan process and help find the right loan for you. So if you need a little help with a loan, we are here to assist.

 Find your local Smartline adviser