She’s already a hero to many in the Mt Albert community, but now Jill Gibson can officially call herself a Local Hero.

The Centre Manager at YMCA Mt Albert Community & Leisure Centre is one of three people who last night received $10K grants from Westfield St Lukes at the inaugural Local Heroes award ceremony.

“When I found out I’d won, I just thought, wow,” says Jill, smiling.

The initiative was launched earlier this year to recognise those who are successfully promoting social wellbeing, harmony and inclusion across family and youth. Fittingly, members of the community decided the three winners through a public vote.

Up until now, Jill’s been an unsung hero.

For the last 20 years she’s worked tirelessly with her YMCA team to set up programmes and services which cater for the changing needs of the community. And, Jill's not slowing down any time soon, with her focus now on giving more school kids access to YMCA programmes.

“Getting kids away from screens and into a variety of activities is the key to a healthy, active lifestyle. This grant from Westfield St Lukes will allow us to take our programmes into more local schools and open kids’ eyes to a lifestyle beyond the screen.”

Wendy John from Friends of Oakley Creek and Richard Stanton from 1st Mt Albert St Jude’s Scout Group were also named Local Heroes.

Westfield St Lukes Centre Manager Darren Wolley says, “We’re thrilled to honour these deserving community members.”

The final word must go to Jill, a very humble Local Hero.

“There’s no hero without a team. My team is amazing, they’re the real unsung heroes.