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.

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!

Life skills for young people

Important life skills for adulting

As young people navigate and survive the challenges of growing up – their everyday life skills are so important.

More young people today are taking a little longer to grow up than in past generations with mixed success. It’s a good thing that teenagers are granted a slower trajectory into adulthood – they tend to stay in school longer and tend to go on to further education as opposed to getting married young and starting a family at a young age.

Today’s delayed adulthood has many benefits but it also means that some young people are missing out on life skills. Skills that are important for all young people but especially so for the ones who need to grow up a little quicker due to their circumstances – like the children and young people who come to us.

Here are some of the skills young people should be developing:

Money and budgeting skills

In an increasingly digitalised world, it is important to teach young people the value of money.

Don’t go full digital – keep cash around!

Show teens:

  • how to open a bank account
  • where the ATMs are and how to use them
  • how to transfer money online
  • how to pay bills – online, over the phone and in person
  • how to save, budget for a goal or an emergency
  • the importance of giving to others, sharing what you have.

Cooking/food skills

Some young people naturally want to cook and experiment in the kitchen but for the vast majority, the adults in their lives take care of buying groceries and cooking for them. What happens when they move out – do they live on cereal, take away and baked beans?

Teach young people:

  • where to go grocery shopping
  • the correct amounts to ask for – a dozen eggs, half a kilo of nuts, a litre of juice.
  • how to identify basic ingredients in food
  • how to eat healthily

Show young people how to:

  • safely prepare and store food
  • use kitchen appliances – the cooker, oven, kettle, toaster, microwave, dishwasher, iron

Do they know the hazards of leaving gas on, of sticking anything into an electrical appliance, of not putting anything metal in the microwave (including foil)?


Young people should know where to shop and what to shop for – such as choosing the right clothes for the right occasion, for example an interview.

Show young people:

  • what clothes will last, what clothes will require hand washing or ironing

How to:

  • read the labels on clothing
  • match items of clothing
  • do laundry – separating whites and colours, where the detergent goes, what setting to put the machine on
  • tie a tie
  • iron a shirt
  • organise a wardrobe
  • pack a suitcase
  • sew (perhaps this is going too far… but we can always try!)
Teen doing laundry

Personal grooming/hygiene

Some young people are not aware of the need for personal hygiene and grooming and this lack of awareness needs to be taken care of sensitively so not to offend the young person.

Inform the young people about the need for:

  • daily showering
  • oral hygiene
  • washing hair
  • cutting nails
  • what products to use
  • shaving
  • menstrual care and hygiene

House keeping

Sounds boring to a teen or young person but, nonetheless, skills to keep a home are important!

  • making sure their home is clean and tidy
  • knowing how to vacuum, mop, change sheets and make a bed
  • understanding the importance of clean kitchens, bathrooms, fridges and taking out the bins
  • knowing how to recycle

Life skills

We do so much for our children and young people that the importance of being able to accomplish basic tasks can be overlooked, like:

  • making/cancelling appointments
  • writing a letter and posting it
  • crafting an email
  • using a phone (most young people today will know this)
  • how to vote
  • how to use public transport
  • how to read a map and use GPS
  • how to drive and basic auto maintenance skills – change a tire, get gas, driver insurance
  • basic DIY – change a light blub, change a fuse, unblock a toilet/sink, fix a dripping tap
Teen fixing a drawer

Safety and first aid

Young people should know about:

  • physical and mental health/exercise
  • the importance of a healthy/balanced lifestyle
  • self-care
  • how and when to seek help
  • basic first aid
  • over the counter medication
  • who to call in an emergency
  • how to look out for other people
  • staying safe – online and in real life situations
  • basic survival

Healthy relationships

We live in a very confusing world and relationships are difficult to navigate for young people so it is important that they know what is ok and what’s not.

We need to teach young people about:

  • boundaries
  • mutual respect
  • emotion regulation
  • communication & listening
  • tolerance
  • understanding diversity
  • equality
  • empathy
  • compromise
  • healthy conflict/how to disagree
  • how to apologise
  • gratitude
  • morals and values
Teen setting goals


Young people need to be well socialised to find employment. They need to have:

  • social and emotional wellbeing and intelligence
  • organisation skills
  • communication skills
  • personal responsibility
  • problem solving
  • resilience
  • goal setting
  • time management
  • decision making
  • adaptability
  • how to create a resume & apply for a job
  • how to ace an interview
  • ability to evaluate skills and identify weaknesses

We think we have covered most things – can you think of any others that we may have missed? Does your teen/young person know how to do any of these?

Celebrate our Volunteers with us

We recently celebrated National Volunteers Week as well as the second anniversary of the Burdekin Volunteer Program so, we saw this as a perfect time to celebrate our volunteers and all they do for our young people with an appreciation dinner. Of course we appreciate our volunteers every day of the week.

Just like our dinner last year, our volunteers received certificates of appreciation for their extraordinary contribution during the challenging times over the past two years as we navigated working with Covid-19. We acknowledged particularly the huge impact a trusted adult can have on the life of a young person, especially one who has experienced childhood trauma.

It really has been a time like no other and we thank each and every volunteer!

We have recently just completed another round of volunteer training and cannot wait to welcome new recruits into the team. We are currently in the process of “matching” some of our volunteer recruits with clients. We take this process seriously, looking at the skills, interests and availability of the volunteer and thinking through who might be the most suitable young person and whether they’re ready for a new adult in their lives. Many of our young people have lost trust in adults so it’s important that they are in a good place to be ready and willing to meet with a volunteer mentor. When the match works well, it is brilliant and over time, a very strong bond can develop. As one of our young clients said, “it’s so good that there’s someone who wants to meet with me who isn’t paid to meet with me.”

In the meantime, if you would like to know more about volunteering we have lots of information on our website, you might like to start here and then search volunteer. Please get in touch if you are interested and we will let you know once the dates for the next sessions have been confirmed – we love hearing from you. If you have any questions, please email:

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.