Join us at Kidsfest Shellharbour – May 23rd

Kidsfest’s signature event, Shellharbour Communities For Children Play and Picnic Day will be held on Thursday May 23, 2024 from 9:45am to 12pm.

The 2024 festival theme is Bouncing Through Bumps is inspired by this year being the United Nations International Year of Camelids (camels, llamas, alpacas, vicuñas and guanacos) and the significant role they play in adapting to climate change. The camel’s hump is a store of energy for when food is scarce enabling it to be resilient. For children, the pandemic has been a big bump in their lives. Bouncing through bumps, being playful and present, is a reminder of the value of community, nature, creativity and play for children and their families to survive and thrive.

Join us for a day of family fun at the Shellharbour Communities for Children Play and Picnic Day, a highlight of the Shellharbour Kidsfest program. On this special occasion, the Shellharbour CIVIC Centre will transform into a kid-central hub, celebrating the importance of play in a vibrant and exciting community setting.

The aim of the event is for children and families to explore new ideas and activities that they can recreate at home. On the day families can expect to find the following free activities and giveaways:

  • Activities will be provided by more than 25 community partners. From the artistic allure of face painting to the immersive world of nature play, there’s something for every child’s interest.
  • Imaginations will run wild with music and craft stations, where young minds can unleash their creativity and create unique masterpieces to take home.
  • Gumaraa Aboriginal Cultural Experience will include cultural activities such as ochre painting and bark canoe construction.
  • Paint Shellharbour REaD reading tent: Step into the magical world of literacy and explore the enchanting realm of books, to foster a love for reading that lasts a lifetime. Join interactive storytelling sessions and take home a book to enjoy.
  • Pack your picnic baskets and blankets, as the Shellharbour CIVIC Centre grounds will be the perfect spot for families to relax, enjoy a free BBQ, and soak in the festive atmosphere.

Don’t miss this opportunity to be part of a memorable day where laughter, creativity, and community spirit come together. The Shellharbour Communities for Children Play and Picnic Day promises a delightful experience for the entire family. Join us for a day of play, discovery, and connection in the heart of Shellharbour.

Further information:

Join us at Kidsfest Shellharbour

Meet Michael – Canberra Children’s Family Centre Manager

My name is Michael Dunne and I’m the Centre Manager here in the Canberra Children’s Family Centre. I’ve been at Barnardos for 12 years.
A common misconception about Canberra is that it’s boring and always cold. Canberra is a very welcoming community. It is quite the opposite of boring, it’s a great community to raise children.

I came to Australia in 2012 and started with Barnardos. When I moved to Australia, my children were very young and I’d come from a career where I was on call seven days a week, 365 days a year. I worked nonstop. I found that Barnardos was an incredibly family friendly organisation that allowed me to actually be present for my kids and to see them grow up, which is what I missed with my eldest daughter. The support at Barnardos has always been fantastic. It’s what’s kept me here for 12 years.

When I was a child growing up in Ireland, I wanted to be a vet. I started off my career as a butcher, then worked in the building construction for years. I was also a prison officer and then I managed a children’s detention centre secure unit in Ireland for the Irish Justice Service. My background was in criminology.

In the last 60 years, the greatest impact by Barnardos on the Canberra community is probably the fact that we move with the needs of the community. The Children’s Family Centre in Canberra has been for focal point for the community. We’ve always been here and will be for the next 60 years hopefully. In an ideal world, children and families wouldn’t need the support of Barnardos. But if they do that, it’s accessible, it’s easy to find and easy to resource. Here, there is always an open door for families who need support.

Our Canberra Centre is a great training ground for young people starting out in this type of work. We’ve got many dedicated staff who have been here for many years and probably couldn’t see themselves working anywhere else. My proudest achievement working in Barnardos is probably the Intensive Intervention Service which I set up when I started. It provides fantastic support to young people, children and families across the ACT and is still going strong today.

The links we have with the other community services are really strong. We work hard on collaboration and we see that as one of our strong points. It doesn’t matter whether we’re competitors, we all work for the same goal. Barnardos Canberra wants to work with other people. We can’t do it all on our own. To give the best community, we all must work together, and we live and breathe that on a daily basis.

The other thing love about Barnardos is that we never give up. Whenever other services walk away, we stay, and we keep knocking on the door. We work really hard to build relationships with all the people that come to us and strong relationships with a cornerstone of everything we do. When the going gets tough, we don’t go. We stick in there.


National Domestic Violence Remembrance Day 2024

On the 1st May, our Barnardos South Coast Centre held a candlelight vigil to remember the women and children who have lost their lives to domestic and family violence. Each candle represented the 28 lives taken too soon.

Candlelight vigils across the country marked National Domestic Violence Remembrance Day.

We mourn the women and children who have lost their lives due to violence and we stand with victim-survivors and all people impacted by domestic and family violence.

We stand with them during this time to work towards the goal of eliminating domestic, family and sexual violence in our society.

If you or someone you know is affected by domestic, family, or sexual violence, please reach out to our Leadership Team, EAP, or call the toll-free number 24-hours a day, 7 days a week for support on 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732.

Fearlessly Optimistic Art Show – May 16th

Barnardos Australia is excited to announce their inaugural fundraising art show will be happening on May 16, 2024 at the National Art School’s Cellblock Theatre in Darlinghurst for one night only.

The theme of the show is “Fearlessly Optimistic” with artists kindly donating never-before-seen artworks created especially for the event.

All proceeds will go to Barnardos Australia safety and prevention programs.

For more information

Buy tickets

Saltwater Festival Bundaleer 2024

The Saltwater Festival held in Bundaleer, Warrawong was an incredible success, thanks to the dedication of our team and the overwhelming support from the community.

With over 1000 attendees, it marked a significant milestone, attracting numerous new families seeking our support services. We’re grateful for the hard work of the events team and everyone involved, making it the best festival yet.

Our Bundaleer team was heavily involved in the organisation and the running of the event and of course, the South Coast Teams were connecting with community & cultures, delivering child focused interactive activities from the Play Ranger Van.

The event was organised by a collaborative including Barnardos South Coast, Wollongong City Council, DCJ, Warrawong Residents Forum and was led by Mission Australia.

The committee is thrilled with the outcome, highlighting the positive impact it had on showcasing the resilience of the Bundaleer community.

Eid Mubarak

Eid Mubarak to all our Muslim colleagues, families and communities.

Eid is one of the most important festival in Islamic calendar. It marks the end of a month long fasting of Ramadan, and is celebrated during the first three days of Shawwal.

This year, our Auburn Children’s Family Centre has decided to host a Eid festival to celebrate the event with our Cumberland communities. We had an overwhelming number of families participated the event with us. Many of our Muslim communities are from different cultural backgrounds, such as Afghanistan, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and many more. We all came together to celebrate such a joyful event through drumming, dancing, food and gifts.

Eid Mubarak 2024

Listening to the voices of young people

Opinion Piece by Deirdre Cheers, CEO Barnardos Australia.

As a woman in her 60s I have no obvious qualification to talk about what it’s like being a young person in 2024 but, as CEO of a children’s organisation, there’s a few things that should not go unsaid.

Firstly, we talk about young people like they are a separate and discrete part of society. Headlines about youth crime in 2024 frame young people as an invading threat, upending our normally healthy and peaceful society. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. Young Australians who are transitioning to adulthood are living in a world that we created. A world where opportunities for housing, employment opportunities and safe spaces are harder to find. A world where families are not getting the support they need to safely raise their children. A world where violence and control dominates people’s home lives.

We need to properly understand these social problems before we can find the solutions. Last month the NSW Government changed bail laws for 14-18 year olds, making it harder for young people with break and enter charges to get bail. This move towards more young people being incarcerated is not something we should aspire to. Once a young person first becomes involved with the justice system – so begins an often life-long journey down a very dark path.

Our youth workers strive every day to divert young people from this path towards a future of opportunity and social inclusion, but can be very difficult, especially as the system is becoming more and more unforgiving. For any of us who can remember, being a young person is hard and making mistakes is par for the course. If you add to this, disadvantage or violence at home, coupled with school disengagement, young people can begin to feel worthless or even question whether they are worthy of having a successful or productive life. Giving young people back their sense of worth is the very key to Barnardos work. Our young people need to have their voices heard and to be given a second chance at a better life. Once they begin down the road to incarceration – it can be too late.

Jailing young people might provide an illusion of security for some but the long term consequences tell a very different story. The very real and more complex solution – creating social and economic changes that tackle domestic violence, support mental health and healing and provide safe housing – are changes that support all of us.

We work intensively with children, young people and families who are experiencing violence, poverty or homelessness to overcome their setbacks and fulfil their potential in a world that is increasingly divided. What is fundamental to this work is to listen each person’s story to so that we can understand their experience of making their way in this world. Young people already have the answers – it is our role to ensure they have the resources and support that they need. The solution is there if we would only listen.

Our work is vital to ensure that young people aren’t on a pathway to incarceration. More than that, there are enormous benefits for our communities when young people are actively engaged. A world that is safe and supportive of young people is a world that benefits everyone. Whether we support them or not, they will become parents of the next generation. Let’s make sure they have the chance to do it in the best possible way.

Barnardos is going green…er! 💚

Barnardos is going solar! Our Head Office in Ultimo, and our Penrith and South Coast centres now have solar, reducing their energy cost, our carbon footprint and helping us on our pathway to net zero which is a commitment we have signed up to through the CitySwitch program. This solar initiative is all at no cost to the organisation thanks to a grant from the City of Sydney and partnership with Pingala for Head Office, funding through revolving funds COREM for Penrith, and CORENA for South Coast. We will continue getting solar on our centres across Barnardos.

The bigger picture here is about working towards building resilience and sustainability into Barnardos, renewable energy saves us money, reduces our carbon footprint, and demonstrates an actionable contribution to achieving decarbonisation which is essential for a livable planet for the generations to come. – Peta, Head of Data Operations & Donor Analytics

Check out this video which captures our sustainability initiatives update.

Harmony Day and National Close the Gap Day

March 21st marks Harmony Day and National Closing the Gap Day. The team at Barnardos Homebush NSW marked the joint occasion with a morning tea and by taking time to reflect on the strengths of our clients, families, communities and staff.

Of the attendees, more than 45% of the group had been born overseas, with over 80% having parents born overseas.  Staff shared stories of strength and resilience and connection to culture, language, kin and country as shown by children, families, communities, carers, clients, and staff working in Barnardos.

Using the Commitments Cards with artwork from Jack, 12, of the Kinship Program, staff made individual and professional pledges to work towards actions to reduce “the gap” and to address the barriers faced by Aboriginal and cultural and racially marginalised populations, for a more equal Australia.

Harmony Day and National Close the Gap Day

Ramadan Mubarak

Last Monday, marks the beginning of Ramadan. It is a sacred month that is observed by many of our staff and clients. During this period, Muslims are encouraged to fast and give to charity, to show kindness and patience and to strengthen their relationship with God.

At Auburn Children’s Family Centre, Ramadan is a very big deal for all our staff as well as children and families accessing our service. We have decorated our centre to get ourselves involved in the Ramadan mood and to feel enthusiastic about celebrating upcoming Eid. Breaking the fast everyday with dates has always been a Ramadan tradition. Due to the increased cost of living, our families were not able to afford purchasing dates. So we have purchased boxes of dates to give to our Muslim families to break their fast and some for the office too.