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.

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?

FleetPartners offers driving opportunities for youth

Burdekin Learning to Drive Program

The road to independence just got a little easier for our young people thanks to an incredible helping hand from FleetPartners and The Manly Warringah Sea Eagles. The Burdekin Association will now have the ability to provide more young people across the Northern Beaches and Inner West of Sydney with essential learn-to-drive hours and support.

We are thrilled with the news that FleetPartners have generously provided a dedicated vehicle for Burdekin’s existing learn-to-drive program, which to date, has relied on staff and volunteers lending their own vehicles.

Learning to drive is an important rite of passage for any young person – it provides the freedom and independence in social situations, for appointments and employment.

Julian Russell (Eclipx Group (FleetPartners) CEO) and Justene Gordon (The Burdekin Association CEO)

The Burdekin Association learn-to-drive program provides support and driving practice hours to young people living in out-of-home care without the family support required to complete driver training towards securing their licence.

Not only does the program provide essential driving hours and practice, important relationships are also developed between young people and volunteers, who become mentors, not just driving instructors.

“The road to independence is very challenging for young people in our out-of-home care and youth housing programs. This support from FleetPartners and the Sea Eagles allows us to provide more opportunities for young people to accumulate driving practice hours required to attain their licence and to progress on to employment,” said The Burdekin Association CEO, Justene Gordon.

We’re proud community partners with the Sea Eagles and we thank the Club for their initiative in bringing FleetPartners together with our learn-to-drive program.

An Eclipx Group business, FleetPartners is a strong contributor to the communities in which they operate. Providing a vehicle to The Burdekin Association learn-to-drive program is just one of many meaningful ways they contribute to the community.

“We are very proud to extend our support to The Burdekin Association. We recognise the important role a driver licence plays in providing independence, building confidence, improving employment prospects, and proving a pathway to financial stability for the young people participating in this program. This positive impact is why we’re so pleased to be involved,” said Eclipx Group (FleetPartners) CEO, Julian Russell.

To find out more about FleetPartners, visit fleetpartners.com.au.
To find out more about The Manly Warringah Sea Eagles please visit seaeagles.com.au

Forum for Parents on Gaming

DY Project is an initiative driven by Burdekin Youth Services - Focusing on Young People and Gaming

Please join us for a face-to-face forum for parents on gaming. The forum aims to provide education about your child’s screen time and tools to deal with it.

When: Wednesday 25th May from 6:00pm – 8:pm

Address: Northern Beaches Secondary College, Freshwater Senior Campus Theatre, 153 Harbord Road, Freshwater NSW 2096.

Why conduct a Forum For Parents on Gaming?

Parents are feeling helpless with the new normal of constant screen time. So, where do we go from here? How can parents help their children find balance between screen time and other activities without causing stress and friction? DY Project is covering the potential harms and risks of screen time and solutions. We are running a face-to-face Community Forum on May 25th, 2022 in partnership with special experts from GameAware, Headspace & The DY Project.

This is a prevention and intervention project aiming to support the many families that have found their children dependent on gaming throughout COVID times and who are concerned there may not be enough balance in their social, emotional, and physical lives, and wanting them to get back on track.

Special Guest Speaker, Andrew Kinch from GameAware, has 30 years gaming experience and 15 years of well-being and teaching experience. His skillset is primed to tackle this issue by using Intelligent Gaming Strategies to help gamers enjoy their games without it being the number one priority in their lives. Andrew approaches problematic gaming with experience-based strategies and current information on the psychology of games. In 2020, GameAware was awarded the AMP’s Tomorrow Fund and works collaboratively with HeadSpace to enrich the lives of young people and their family through strategies to make playing video games a hobby, not a habit. Working with parents, youth professionals and schools, Andrew and his team of mentors help empower through education and tools to create healthy gaming habits. Each month GameAware run a range of online and face-to-face programs to support the community.

GambleAware’s purpose is to work towards zero gambling-related harm in NSW through research, education and support for individuals and communities. The work GambleAware does concerns everyone in NSW who is affected by gambling. GambleAware work with adults and young people, families, schools, councils, community groups and the gambling industry to help prevent and address gambling-related harm.


Please click on the link to take a brief survey


Our Dee Why Project is an initiative driven by The Burdekin Association Youth Services – focusing on young people and gaming, a face-to-face forum one we are very excited to hold!  Due to COVID times it’s been over two years since any forums have been held with presenters at the forefront. In case you’re not available to attend we will be filming the event and posting it up for your viewing should you be keen.

  • This forum is an opportunity to learn as a case manager the ins and outs of supporting our youth around the trials and tribulations of the world of gaming. Or, as a parent to gain amazing insight to the world of gaming seen through a young person’s eyes. What draws them in? What’s a healthy amount of time to game? Is my teenager dependant on gaming? Andrew Kinch is our key presenter, a previous school teacher also experienced working with youth at risk, his Company GameAware covers workshops, bridging the gaps between gamers, parents and professionals. Reducing conflict around gaming at home, minimizing compulsion and escapism by building resilience.
  • Headspace will also be presenting and covering their expertise in the area and linking into services and treatment options.
  •  GambleAware’s purpose is to work towards zero gambling-related harm in NSW through research, education and support for individuals and communities. GambleAware is funded by the NSW Responsible Gambling Fund.

Get Fit for Homeless Youth – 30 day fitness challenge

PIF 30 Day Fitness Challenge

We have joined the fundraising efforts of the Property Industry Association (PIF) to fight youth homelessness with a 30 day fitness challenge which aims to raise $250,000 – will you support us?

Check out who of the Burdekin team has signed up for the PIF 30 Day Fitness Challenge, we would love it if you could support us! We have set a modest aim to raise $1,000, every single donation counts! And of course, we would like to overshoot the goal and contribute as much as possible to the overall goal.


PIF wish to raise $250,000 towards The Haven Project which includes the renovation of a house in Balgowlah into a new home for young people. You can read more about the project here: New Home in the Making and here: Haven House Balgowlah. We wanted to thank PIF so much for their efforts in getting this fundraiser off the ground for our project partners – SMLXL Projects, Bridge Housing and others, such an amazing community effort!

Burdekin are getting active in the name of team building, mental health, and physical health, but most importantly to Get Fit to For Homeless Youth.

#pif30daychallenge #getfitforhomelessyouth

Youth homelessness affects 44,000 young Australians, and each night, 1 in 3 young people are being turned away from supported accommodation services.

The Property Industry Foundation exists to solve this problem of youth homelessness. We bring together the property and construction industry to build homes for homeless youth through our Haven Project.

Every day for 30 days from 2 – 31 May, we are walking, running, cycling and everything in between to raise funds as we go – please support us!