KIDSFEST Annual Play and Picnic Day

The South Coast Communities for Children Program held their annual play and picnic day at Shellharbour Civic Centre. It is part of KidsFest Shellharbour, which is the longest-running free weeklong festival for children, families, and carers in NSW. The theme this year was Planting Seeds of Diversity and Delight.

We established Paint Shellharbour REaD in 2016 as part of our funded programs, and since then have celebrated our mascot Bangu’s (a Flying Fox) birthday every year, at the picnic, to promote the importance of singing, reading and rhyming every day. There was incredible support from our Community Partners, other external organisations and our own Kidstime and Family Support teams in providing various stalls which included, face painting, art and craft, ball games, music making, food, play, nature and transition to school activities.

Bangu had some special birthday visitors which included Billy Backpack and Bright Sparks. The children all sang Happy Birthday and shared in the delight of Bangu’s birthday cake.

Each child received a gorgeous Communities for Children Bag which had a story book and other goodies. Our Community Partners received a badge and lanyard. In all, it was an amazing day.

Western NSW HIPPY and the Wellington Show

As part of the Barnardos Wellington Age 5 HIPPY program, one of the curriculum activities is to make a robot from recycled materials. This activity helps children become more confident and involved learners and connected with their world.

We put the call out to our Wellington HIPPY families (both age 3 and 5) to make a robot using what they could find around the house and entered them into the local Wellington Show.

The exhibits were entered under the art category for ‘5 years and under – Recycled Article’. The robots looked fantastic and we had 1st, 2nd, and 3rd winners and 2 ‘highly commended’ in our group.

This is just one of the many ways that HIPPY Wellington is helping families to build strong relationships and connections within the family unit and in the Wellington community.

Congratulations to all the families who participated in such a meaningful way.

International Family Equality Day and Family Pride Day

Yesterday was International Family Equality Day which celebrates the diversity of LGBTQIA+ families around the world. Barnardos Carer Recruitment and Intake team celebrated the day with their partners at Rainbow Families attending their Family Pride Day event in Marrickville Town Hall.

It was wonderful to see so many happy, loving and diverse families including Barnardos foster carers and children. Thank you to Rainbow Families and all the community partners who made the day such a success.

Auburn Children’s Family Centre voted favourite local community organisation!

Barnardos Auburn Children’s Family Centre was voted the favourite local community organisation in both Lidcombe and Auburn Commonwealth Bank (CBA) branch, twice in a year! As a result, we will be receiving two $500 cheques from Commonwealth Bank (CBA) as a funding boost from their Community Donations Program.

CBA’s Community Donations Program is a nation wide initiative. They have donated over $350,000 in July 2022 to organisations within local communities that make a difference. We were very grateful to be the successful recipient twice in a year. We are fortunate to have these champions for children join us in supporting struggling children and families in our local areas.

Happy Eid with Auburn Children’s Family Centre

Eid Mubarak! Eid occurs at the end of Ramadan, where our Muslim brothers and sisters celebrate by having a special feast and praying together with their family and community.

At Auburn Children’s Family Centre, quite a few of our staff had entered a month of fasting and extra praying, which to them Ramadan means strengthening their relationship with God and showing kindness and patience. To some of us who don’t follow the Islam religion, we simply share the significance of the month by attending the Ramadan Night Market. It’s noteworthy to mention the Ramanda Market at Lakemba is something all of us should attend. It is a massive event hosted by the Canterbury Bankstown Council. You can try all different kinds of cultural food there. For the very first time, I had a camel burger, which surprisingly was very delicious! Few of our Auburn staff have visited the market to join the festivities. We also bumped in a few head office staff at the market as well.

So to all our Muslim colleagues and clients, Eid Mubarak to you and your family.

Barnardos x sass & bide 2023 ‘Kind Hearts’ Sweater

Barnardos are thrilled to announce the release of the limited-edition sass & bide ‘Kind Hearts’ Sweater which is a special collaboration with the children of the Barnardos Yurungai Learning Centre. Available now and just in time for Mother’s Day in both adult and children’s sweaters, with 100% of the profits from the sales coming directly to Barnardos Australia. During a day of play and creativity, each Yurungai student drew their own heart designs to be placed on the sleeves of 2023’s Kind Hearts Sweater, crafted with embellished signature beading and black and gold detailing. The new campaign features our very own Yurungai children and staff proudly wearing the sass and bide Kind Hearts sweater along with top celebrities such as comedian Celeste Barber! Discover the Campaign

About the Barnardos Yurangai Centre

The Barnardos Yurungai Learning Centre was set up in 2009 primarily for local Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander children who attend primary schools in the local areas, to provide a safe, nurturing environment for the children, with a focus on education and cultural activities. The incredible staff at the centre intertwine Aboriginal learning practice with traditional learning so that children can better understand the underlying principles of their cultural development.

The staff at the Barnardos Yurungai Learning Centre are community elders, led by the incredible Aunty Viv, Senior Advisor, Aboriginal Services and Uncle Bruce, Senior Education Support Worker

“We are very grateful to sass & bide for their continued support for Barnardos through their annual campaign. The Yurungai children are incredibly creative and loved being involved in the artwork featured on the sweater. The opportunity to take part in the photoshoot was great for the girls confidence and the experience helped them to understand more about design”
– Aunty Viv Senior Advisor, Aboriginal Services at Yurungai

Meet Penrith CFC Family Support Team

Introducing our Family Support & Intensive Family Preservation Team at Penrith Children’s Family Centre!

Melissa Cooke is the program manager for this team, but Mel also manages the:

Community Counselling Clinic with Western Sydney University, Legal Clinic with WSU, Art Therapist, Accommodation Program Onsite and so much more!

The team has:

Intensive Family Preservation case managers Hareet Klair & Sneha Suryakumar.

Family Support case managers Tamara McCann & Kristal Kellaway.

Intake & Community Support Worker Simone Reynolds.

Group Work Co-Ordinator Jessica Johnsson.

We’ve currently got 2 students completing placement with the program, Olivia & Mervyn, who have already been a huge help to the team with casework and events.

Barnardos workers reveal the personal impact of child abuse

Every 13 minutes in Australia a child suffers abuse or neglect.

But the truth is, most Australian’s DON’T know the heartbreaking facts about child abuse and neglect in this country.

A new Barnardos awareness online campaign launched today which highlights how these hard facts give Barnardos workers the determination, courage and ambition for change.

The new spots feature Barnardos social workers Anna from Sydney Metro and Mark from Western NSW talking about how they will never rest; never stop helping children, young people and their families.

These real workers from the frontlines of one of Australia’s largest social problems share their personal insights into the issue and how they deal with facing child abuse and neglect day in and day out.

Rather than feeling overwhelmed or hopeless at the scale of the problem, we hear how the work they do has made them the people they are and instilled in them the hope to believe they can bring about change.

In her video Anna says “I had a really good start in life. I do what I do because that’s what every child deserves. Emotionally, I carry the children and families that I work with, with me every day. We should be devastated that that has happened to any child.”

Mark goes on to explain “I do this work because there’s something inside that drives me to work alongside children, young people and their families – and to see them heal from the effects of trauma of abuse in their life. I’m surprised that we don’t have more of an understanding of what trauma and disadvantage is like in Australia. If you go into your community with different eyes and allow your eyes to be open, you’ll see the trauma, you’ll see the disadvantage and you’ll see where perhaps where you can make a difference.”

Barnardos believes every child needs a champion… like Anna and Mark. Someone to stand up for them, speak up for them and do what’s right.

And like Anna and Mark, Barnardos are fearlessly optimistic and determined to do whatever it takes to address child abuse and neglect by supporting families to raise their children safely, giving them the chance to thrive for a brighter future.

Watch Anna’s videos here
15 seconds
Full video

Watch Mark’s videos here
15 seconds
Full video

View the campaign:

For interviews with Anna or Mark, please contact:

Spotlight on Tonelle Lewis

My name is Tonelle Lewis and I have been at Barnardos Southern NSW (Queanbeyan) since November 2020. My current role is now Team Leader, where I oversee the Family Preservation, Intensive Family Preservation teams and the Youth and Family Support team.

I love seeing the look on the parents’ faces when they share with me their stories of the good parenting choices they’ve made after being influenced by the conversations we have. Seeing parents being proud of what they’re able to achieve by providing their children with better outcomes and lives. Seeing them believe in themselves and develop the capacity to see the world from their child’s perspective. Their faces light up and their voices say it all.

My career has done a full circle – I started out in early childhood education. I studied teaching and worked my way up into a leadership role within the early childhood sector. I was in this field for 13 years. It was while I was in the early childhood field, I got a taste of working with children experiencing difficulties in learning and moved over into the disability sector. I then worked more closely with the families of children with disabilities and supported them to better support their children in everyday living activities. I was in this role for 9 years. I grew a strong urge to want to do more for families so I came across to Barnardos. ​​​​​​​

Funnily enough, as a child I had always dreamed of being a preschool teacher – I loved watching Playschool and always wanted to be like the Playschool presenters. As I grew, I then wanted to become a counsellor/psychologist. The closest I got to my other dream was becoming a Circle of Security Parenting Facilitator.

The most common issue I come across with the families that I work with is the mental health of the parents and the impact this has on their children and their relationships both with their partners and children. The parents’ mental health can affect the style and capacity of parenting, some cases are worse than others, it really depends on the severity of the mental health condition. The other common thing I see is undiagnosed disabilities both in children and parents. This also impacts the parents’ capacity to parent in child-safe ways and approaches.

My hope for the children and their families that I work with is that they have an opportunity to live a life that they can be proud of and that they feel safe, loved, and supported in all that they do. That they can live a life without fear and judgment from others.

My proudest achievement to date is when a mother reached out to me two months after she relocated to tell me how happy she was that I was able to help her. She felt good about the choices she had made to keep her and her family safe. At Barnardos, I hope to continue to help as many children and families to reach their full potential and parents to see their value and worth.

Easter with Family Support Cranebrook

On Thursday 6th April, our Family Support program at Penrith Children’s Family Centre (Cranebrook) held their yearly Easter event and decided to go even bigger this year!

We invited Sweet Peas Cranebrook Childcare and Penrith Council Tamara Children’s Centre to our morning tea as well as the children and families currently working with our Family Support & Intensive Family Preservation teams.

We were extremely lucky to also have some amazing volunteers from the Australian Mutual Bank with one being lucky enough to star as the Easter Bunny!! Lots of photos and fun was had while they searched out playground for easter eggs and goodies!

There were lots of arts and craft activities that the teams put together for everyone on the day, this mixed with lots of yummy food made for an egg-ravagant event with heaps of kids enjoying the fun as well as the adults.

Easter with Family Support Cranebrook