Northern Beaches


Better Homes and Gardens backyard transformation

Better Homes and Gardens support Burdekin youth

We are delighted to share with you, a recent project undertaken by Better Homes and Gardens on the behalf of our young people.

The garden before

Recently, the team undertook a garden transformation project at one of our properties in Manly turning it into an impressive multi-purpose entertain and relaxing area that will benefit a number of our young people.

The property now has a beautiful pergola with outdoor furniture, hammock, new basketball/badminton set-up, lots of fabulous new plants and herbs and even a new BBQ! The space has been transformed just in time for summer so everyone can enjoy spending time outdoors.

The pergola

Thank you so much to Juliet and Charlie and all the Better Homes and Gardens team for this stunning asset for our young people. Did You Catch: Summer Ready Backyard? This episode aired on Channel 7 on Friday 25th November and you can catch up on 7plus.

Christmas Spirit

Support Burdekin youth this Christmas

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

We have been able to decorate our properties for our young people thanks to the donations from our amazing community!

We really want to make this time of year as magical as possible, Christmas, while it comes with a mixed bag of emotions, is also a great opportunity to build up a new bank of positive memories and traditions for the future.


22 handmade wreaths were donated to us to decorate our properties where our young people live – which is just amazing, see in the photo below how we used them.

Oxford Falls Grammar School

Thanks to the staff and students from Oxford Falls Grammar for these amazing Christmas hampers – the children and young people in our care will be so excited! Thank you so so much for your ongoing support!

Christmas campaign

We have received numerous donations from individuals and organisations. Our Patron, Brian Burdekin, AO has pledged $5000 towards our Youth Development Fund.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Spring Garden Project

Introducing you to the Spring Garden Project – a wonderful project undertaken by The Burdekin Association and Oceanic Landscapes, and funded by The Northern Sydney Primary Health Network’s (PHN) Natural Disaster and Extreme Weather Program.


Burdekin’s Youth Housing Program currently support ten Tibetan and other Culturally and Linguistic Diverse (CALD) young people aged 16-24 years residing in our short term and transitional housing at a residential property in Manly.

These young people have experienced substantial trauma in their young lives, many currently experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression and currently live in a community setting with small studio rooms and shared bathrooms.

Luckily there is a small garden area, however it was severely damaged by recent floods and unsafe for use and unpleasant to look at.

About the grant

The objective of the grant was to develop a community wellbeing project that strengthens social connectedness and resilience. Due to the impact of the severe weather conditions on the Northern Beaches the Northern Sydney PHN made available grants to increase delivery of community wellbeing and mental health supports through activities that strengthen social connectedness, resilience and wellbeing for communities in response to extreme weather events.

Photos of the garden before facelift


Burdekin successfully applied for funding from The Northern Sydney PHN to lighten up the lives of these young residents, to enhance their spiritual wellbeing and build resilience, and to show that you can overcome the risks of poor health outcomes and step into a level of mindful positivity – a safe space. Access to a peaceful garden provides opportunities to gather socially together or with family and friends, to take time out to read, practice yoga, meditate, garden or undertake other wellbeing activities.


Our goal was to replace overgrown vegetation, remove dead grass, replace with new soil and grass, remove/fix unsafe pathway, place drainage, and install low maintenance blooming plants with a variety of ground cover. Our landscaper Oceanic Landscapes also installed items to enhance the garden such as a garden bench, Bali style artifacts, a tree of life wall feature, a Buddha head planter and various other art works. The young residents were consulted in the design to incorporate their ideas, creating a sense of belonging and connectedness to the space.

Working Bee

A working bee was organised with the community and young residents to remove old furniture – leaving a blank space for the landscaper.


The transformation is amazing – Oceanic Landscapes went above and beyond for our residents in creating a welcoming, safe space to be enjoyed by everyone. Community-led initiatives such as these are fundamentally important to wellbeing and we would like to thank our funders The Northern Sydney PHN for the opportunity and Oceanic Landscapes for completing our vision with such care and commitment.

Home Sweet is back!

Five years after the initial Home Sweet event, and three years since the follow up event, the Link Wentworth team are back at it again, raising much needed funds for homelessness with Home Sweet 2023.

Home Sweet commenced in 2017 and now, five years later, its needed even more due to the ever worsening housing crisis. There are more than 116,000 people experiencing homelessness across Australia and more than 17,000 Australian children under the age of 12 have no permanent home.

The Home Sweet campaign has raised over $300,000 across the two events in 2017 and 2019. This year, with your help, we hope to raise $200,000 plus. Money raised will be donated to The Burdekin Association (youth homelessness service), Women’s Community Shelters (providing safe accommodation for women escaping domestic violence) and Link Wentworth Scholarship Program (helping social housing tenants access education and employment training).

The event will be hosted on 17 March 2023 at Freshwater Surf Club with an added option to join virtually.

What’s next?

Donate, support a “sleepee” or sleep over yourself at Freshwater Surf Club on17th March 2023 to raise money for this valuable cause. You can also join virtually on the night by sleeping out in your car or backyard. Our CEO and some of our staff members will be sleeping over at the event and you will have the option to donate to the organisation or to an individual. More information.

Sponsor the event

Are you a business or individual who would like to sponsor the event? Please let us know if this is something you would be interested in supporting — we would love to hear from you! 2017 Press Release.

Famous faces in the past include: Brad Hazzard, Andrew Reid (Reidy), Christian Wilkins, Michael Regan, Jay Lenton …

You can read more about the event here: Home Sweet 2023 and/or download the Sponsorship Proposal.

The Home Sweet 2023 sleepover event is the perfect way to connect and reunite following a difficult couple of years, it will also provide economic, social and cultural benefits too! So we hope that you will jump onboard with great enthusiasm and support a wonderful community event that supports a number of initiatives.


Link Wentworth is one of the largest community housing providers in Australia, managing approximately 6,400 homes with around 10,000 residents and 200 staff. Link Wentworth is committed to providing more homes and delivering better services to enable a brighter future for people facing housing stress and homelessness. Read more…

Some photos from the 2017 event:

The Importance of extended care

Makeit21 CREATE campaign

The right to shelter

Unsurprisingly, housing affordability and supply is at crisis point and has been for a number of years. It is always our most vulnerable who feel disadvantage the most. The AIWH states: “Access to good quality, affordable housing is fundamental to wellbeing.1 Indeed it is a human right, supported by International Law. Children and young people because of their vulnerability are of particular importance.2

Housing crisis exacerbated by the pandemic and natural disasters

In his keynote address at the National Youth Homelessness Conference in 2021, our Patron, Prof. Brian Burdekin AO stated:

The Covid 19 pandemic followed closely on the heels of widespread bush fires and floods. The latest evidence is that these events have been extremely stressful – including for many young Australians – particularly our most disadvantaged young people. And we now have:

House prices which are for many completely unaffordable.

Rents which are completely unaffordable – for a very large number of people – (including in our major cities and in many coastal and regional towns as well).

Last year, a survey conducted by “headspace” (run by Professor Pat McGorry) found 75% of young people reported their mental health deteriorated during the covid-19 pandemic.

NCOSS Aftershock Series

After a challenging few years NSW’s housing crisis has worsened, NCOSS has just released its 3rd report in the Aftershock series: ‘Addressing the Economic and Social Costs of the Pandemic and Natural Disasters’. The first report focused on Mental Health, the second on Domestic and Family Violence and the third on Housing Security. All of these issues are interlinked – mental health issues both, can cause and are caused by homelessness, domestic & family violence is one of the main causes of youth homelessness as is housing insecurity.

A recent NCOSS press release states:

  • An additional 3,700 homeless people in NSW since 2020 is estimated to cost the NSW economy between $524.5 million and $2.5 billion over six years.
  • Homelessness has increased by around 10 per cent in NSW since the start of the pandemic as more people seek assistance from specialist homelessness services.3

Calls for a National Youth Homelessness and Housing Strategy

In April 2022, Pam Barker, who was the CEO of Yfoundations at the time, wrote a piece calling on state governments to put a sharp focus on children and young people who are at risk of or are experiencing homelessness and A National Youth Homelessness and Housing Strategy.4

Our key recommendation calls for a national child and youth homelessness strategy because the evidence shows that what we’re doing now isn’t working and continues to worsen.

National Child Protection Week 2022 – National Children’s Commissioner, Anne Hollonds – keynote address

Currently, we’re spending much more money on late reactions, such as youth detention and child protection systems, instead of investing in prevention and early intervention to keep children safe and well in their communities.

Our health, education and social service systems are fragmented and not fit for purpose for children and their families living with poverty and disadvantage.

Many of these families have told me directly about their frustrations at being unable to access support for their basic needs.

A country that values children would be trying hard to address child poverty, and shift investment upstream and earlier, to redesign the basic systems of support so that kids don’t fall in the gaps.5

Youth Mental Health

One of the key individual risk factors to homelessness is mental ill-health. It has been estimated that mental ill-health is a contributing factor for as many as 35 per cent of young people who have experienced homelessness.

It is also estimated that as many as 90 per cent of young people experiencing homelessness would probably meet the criteria for the diagnosis of at least one mental disorder. The experience of homelessness also can exacerbate, or contribute to, the onset of mental ill-health.

A Welcome Home – Youth Homelessness and Mental Health, Orygen 6

Cost to hold a child in youth detention

NSW Govt spends $713,940 p/a to hold a child in youth detention, including those detained under Sect 28 of the Bail Act simply because they are homeless and cannot provide an appropriate bail address.

Pam Barker, former CEO YFoundations

Deloitte report improved life outcomes by extending care to 21

One of the most startling findings in this report by Deloitte Access Economics is uncovering the very significant improved life outcomes of simply extending care supports until the age of 21. It will halve the rate of homelessness for care leavers and more than double the rate of educational achievement. For young people leaving care, these reforms would also see significant reductions in the rates of:

  • hospitalisation;
  • mental illness;
  • interaction with the criminal justice system;
  • alcohol and drug dependency; and
  • lost wellbeing.

Young people who have been in Out Of Home Care (OOHC) are among the most vulnerable cohorts in Australia. They are more likely to experience homelessness, mental health issues, substance abuse and engagement with the criminal justice system, and are less likely to pursue post-school education or to be employed. A survey of NSW care leavers found that within one year of leaving care around 35% of young people had experienced homelessness.

The analysis found that young people who stay in care until the age of 21 experienced the following 18 Extending care to 21 years in New South Wales | Commercial-in-confidence outcomes relative to those who leave care at 18 years of age:

  • Homelessness halved from 39% to 19.5%;
  • Rate of teen pregnancy reduced from 16.6% to 10.2%;
  • Educational engagement increased from 7.0% to 16.3%, for non-parents;
  • Hospitalisation rates reduced from 29.2% to 19.2%.
  • Rate of mental illness reduced from 54.4% to 30.1%;
  • Rate of smoking reduced from 56.8% to 24.9%;
  • Interaction with the criminal justice system reduced from 16.3% to 10.4%;
  • Alcohol and drug dependence rates reduced from 15.8% to 2.5%; and
  • Lost wellbeing due to mental illness and substance abuse reduced from 54.4% to 30.1%.

Furthermore, the analysis found that extending care to the age of 21 is estimated to generate a return of $2.10 for every $1 spent on the program. When wellbeing costs are included, the return on investment increases to $3.40 for every $1 spent. 7

HomeStretch Campaign

For all of the above reasons a group of concerned organisations and individuals established the HomeStretch Campaign to urge all state and territory governments to provide an option to extend the care to any young person needing or seeking to remain in care until 21 years. Giving young people in state care the extended care option will provide them with increased chances to make the right start in life and enjoy a better long term life outcome.

You can join the 21,000 Australians who have signed up in support of Home Stretch #makeit21. Click here to read more:

NSW will soon be the only jurisdiction in Australia where automatic state support for children in foster, kinship or residential care ceases at 18, after Queensland announced in June it would extend state care to 21 from next July. 8 Now we need to get the NSW government on board to raise the age of support to 21.

The Burdekin Association has signed the pledge along with many others and urges others to do the same.

Why not Take the pledge now.

Create Foundation and Makeit21

CREATE Foundation is the national consumer body representing the voices of children and young people with an out-of-home care experience and launched a campaign using the hashtag #itsyourturnNSW #makeit21 to help young people transitioning from care to adulthood have their voices heard.

CREATE Foundation video series – transitioning from care