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Thank you Manly Warringah Sea Eagles!

In the lead up to the festive season, our community partner, Manly Warringah Sea Eagles are reaching out to their members, fans and the local community to support our young people.

The Club is seeking donations of gift cards for children and young people that The Burdekin Association supports.

Christmas can be a challenging time with its huge emphasis on the family unit. This can have an unintended side effect on young people without a family who feel more alone and isolated than usual.

Manly Warringah Sea Eagles are asking that before you finalise your Christmas shopping, that you consider a thoughtful gift that supports young people.

Often these gifts are the only ones that a young person will receive at Christmas and the joy that it brings is immeasurable.

Below is a list of vouchers that would be appropriate:

People are encouraged to refrain from purchasing gift cards that have access to alcohol and tobacco.

Gift cards can be purchased and emailed to: or dropped off to Grace at the Penn Centre of Excellence, 25 Federal Parade, Brookvale. Additionally, the gift cards can also be emailed directly to The Burdekin Association at

The Burdekin Association thanks Manly Warringah Sea Eagles, their members, fans and supportive community.

Causes of youth homelessness – family breakdown

The Burdekin Association youth homelessness services

Family breakdown is one of the leading causes of youth homelessness in Australia today.

According to AIHW, in 2020–21, around 41,700 people aged 15–24 presented alone to SHS agencies, accounting for 15% of all SHS clients.

The main reasons these young people presented were:

  • family and domestic violence (17% or around 7,000 clients).
  • housing crisis (17% or around 7,000 clients).
  • relationship/family breakdown (13% or over 5,200 clients).

Other reasons include:

  • Difficult family situations such as parental drug and alcohol abuse, abuse, neglect
  • Leaving a parental home without stable employment
  • Leaving state care without an appropriate plan in place
  • Mental illness
  • Alcohol and other drug issues
  • Rejection or trauma associated with gender identity or expression
  • Discrimination in the private rental market due to lower income or lack of rental references
  • Insecure employment
  • Less access to social housing

Homelessness and the LGBTIQA+ community

In 2019 the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS) at La Trobe University, with support from Rainbow Health Australia and Rainbow Network conducted a report called Writing Themselves in 4. Researchers asked 6,418 LGBTIQA+ people, aged 14 to 21 about their experiences with education, homelessness, harassment, assault, mental health, community connections and more.

23.6 per cent had experienced homelessness and for 11.5 per cent it was in the past year. This was often directly related to family rejection of participants being LGBTIQA+.

In the Snapshot of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Statistics for LGBTQIA+ People from LGBTIQA+ LGBTIQA+ Health Australia. Young people aged 16 to 17 were over three times more likely to report high or very high levels of psychological distress.

The Journeys Home report found that Family rejection was a major issue for LGBTIQA+ people, and their pathway to homelessness is more complex with discrimination also coming from the housing sector.

Getting help

There are a large number of support services available today, both for young people and their families. Having open conversations about sexuality and gender is helpful, as is keeping an open mind and above all letting your child know they are loved and accepted for who they are. If you are a parent who is having a hard time, getting support from any of these organisations may be helpful. You can also ask us, we assist families and community with a range of support services.

We believe everyone deserves to feel safe, to be loved and have a home. Let us know if you found this article helpful or if there is anything you would add?

Celebrating our Volunteers

Burdekin youth support services

Our Volunteer Program was launched in 2020 during National Volunteer Week and every year since, we celebrate our volunteers and their contribution to the organisation with a nice meal, warm words and certificates of appreciation. Check out the photos below, it could be you next year if you want to become part of our Burdekin family.

We have all been inspired by our Burdekin volunteers this week. Our regular volunteers act as role models and mentors to a young person. They turn up consistently for two hours each week to do an agreed activity e.g. cooking a meal, L driving hours or education support. We also celebrated with our very special volunteers, our Foster Carers ,who have been thoroughly assessed and authorised as Burdekin Foster Carers and have given a young person a caring, nurturing home.

One of our foster carers shared:

“I have always wanted to foster a teenager but just this year, the time has become right to do it. Even though it’s been challenging at times, it is so worthwhile to provide a safe home where she has been able to relax and feel she belongs.”

We are so grateful for people in our community who step out of their comfort zone and choose to connect with a young person who needs trusted adult role models in their life.

We need more volunteers in South East and Inner West Sydney, to inquire, please email us at:

Demand for our services continues to grow

Youth Homelessness and Family Support Services

The Burdekin Association exists to support young people towards a better-quality life. Many of us have found ourselves in this job because we love the idea of helping others and advocating for our most vulnerable people in society. We have a huge amount of job satisfaction – we get to help children and young people have a better life but it is a tough job at times too.

Our workload is high as we strive to meet our continued growth but we are highly motivated. We do not want to let one single young person down; young people come to us and have often been let down multiple times prior to finding us. We continue to run our organisation well and operate within our means. However, the increase in demand for our services means an increase in costs with no associated change in revenue. The solution is simple, we require increased funding and are constantly fundraising. Our CEO, Justene recently took to Facebook to say this.

It’s been both an inspiring yet exhausting last few years. We provide homes for children and young people all over the eastern Sydney region from Avalon in the North to Ramsgate in the South. In the space of 4 years we now care for 10 times or 1000% more children and young people. We don’t want to increase however whilst their are children and young people who need a safe home we will strive to ensure that everyone of them has one.

We want to make sure everyone of these children and young people have access to the same opportunities as there peers. We are now struggling to do this.

Our fundraising/philanthropic and donations that we receive go straight back into ensuring our children and young people have the absolute best and extra care we can possibly provide as well as holidays, access to our bespoke education program, mental health support, formal dresses/tickets, soccer shoes, sports fees, gym fees, apprenticeship tools, driving lessons…everything and anything that they need (balanced with what they want!). With our growth we need more funds to give all our children and young people all that they deserve.

What can you do…I would love it if you could run your own one off or yearly third party fundraiser at work, in the community, your family, your school or club. I will run (well walk), swim (slowly), dance and do pretty much anything I can to assist in your efforts.

If you are interested in running an event for us please reach out. Thank you for any support you can provide. Justene CEO.

Your help, small or large, is immensely appreciated and vital to our continued success. There are many ways in which you can support us. One opportunity is sleeping over at Freshwater on Friday March 17th for Home Sweet 2023 or sponsoring our team to sleepover. Grab your comfy gear, friends, family or colleagues and come and join us for a fun, community event to raise much needed funds and awareness for homelessness.

Our pages: Get involved, Community Fundraising and Support Us, all have information on practical ways that you can support our work.

As part of our commitment to continuous improvement we are in the process of collating data from our surveys of our young people and employees. This will enable us to see what we are doing right and what we need to improve. We look forward to sharing this information with you soon.

Home Sweet 2023 update!

Home Sweet 2023

The countdown to Home Sweet 2023 has officially begun, on 17 March we will return to the waterfront of Freshwater where community will unite for a sleepover to raise funds for and awareness of homelessness.

The event is also about celebrating our community and an opportunity to connect and nourish local relationships – get to know local people whilst supporting a great cause!

We are proud to be part of this event and appreciate the organisers, Link Wentworth, for their work in getting this event off the ground. In times of hardship we must act generously and compassionately to benefit those who are less fortunate.

So, gather up your comfy stuff and join us at Freshwater Surf Club on Friday March 17th!  Expect fun, food, talks and lots of mingling – maybe a household name or two! Will you be in the class photo for Home Sweet 2023?

Our event ambassador and MC on the night is Jay Lenton – wicket-keeper for NSW – we are delighted that Jay could lead the proceedings again this year and thank him for his support! Burdekin have a special friendship with Jay, Manly Warringah Waratahs and Manly Warringah District Cricket Association. read more about our partnership here.

Food and entertainment kindly provided by the Mounties Group, merchandise and giveaways from Manly Warringah Sea Eagles. The event kicks off at 6pm on Friday 17th – please take a look at the event program and house rules below. It’s getting exciting!!

What if you can’t sleepover?

Participate in the virtual sleepout.

This year we also have the option to join us virtually – you could sleep out in your backyard or car or maybe couch – couch surfing is common for young people who are amongst the most hidden groups experiencing homelessness.

Support our Team

We also have a ‘Team Burdekin’ you can support or individual team members directly – we really appreciate any and all support. No amount is too small!!!

More about this year’s event and previous events can be found both on our website and the official Home Sweet 2023 website, we are also loving the new photos of those involved including our CEO, Justene Gordon, Andrew McAnulty, CEO of Link Wentworth and Annabelle Daniel, CEO Women’s Community Shelters as well as sponsors Pitcher Partners and Experteq – check them out here.

We acknowledge the Aboriginal people of the Cadigal and Gayamaygal Clans. We acknowledge the Country on which we live, work, and gather as being Aboriginal land.

We acknowledge the lands, waterways and skies that are connected to Aboriginal people. We honour them and pay our deepest respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.

We respect their rightful place within our communities, and we value their ancient cultural knowledge and practices.

Aboriginal Flag
Torres Straight Island Flag

We deeply respect that this will always be Aboriginal land and we will honour and follow the first peoples’ values in caring for the Country and for preserving their culture.

We deeply value that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are the oldest living culture in the world and we will continue to work with their peoples and communities to ensure their cultures endure and remain strong.