Christmas in Pyrmont were delighted to be able to donate $20,000 from the 2019 event to Barnardos.
The Christmas in Pyrmont funds supported critical programs to ensure the children and families in our care can access our support, when, where and how they need it. The case study below highlights the critical work that Barnados does in our community.
Sarah was 23 years old when she gave birth to her third child. While she yearned to celebrate, Sarah was
sadly mourning the death of her mother who had passed away the day before.
For years her family had faced poverty, drug addiction and abuse. They were referred to Barnardos by the
Department of Communities and Justice, who were struggling to engage with them to provide support.
After the funeral, Barnardos tried to contact Sarah to organise assistance for her and her young children, but
she was reluctant to meet with us. We eventually gained her trust after several weeks and were able to
arrange a home visit. Sarah told our support workers that she wasn’t receiving Centrelink benefits for her
newborn, and she was struggling to make ends meet. She was also experiencing emotional trauma from the
loss of her mother.
Sarah’s relationship with her partner, Ben, was also strained. She told Barnardos staff that Ben was an
absent father, refusing to help with the children, or in the home, or to contribute financially to the family.
There was also family conflict with his sister, who had stabbed Sarah in the face and arm when she was 8
months pregnant. The matter is going to court and Sarah said it was traumatic for both herself and Ben, who
no longer has contact with his own family.
We introduced Sarah to our Aboriginal Early Years Program, an early intervention service that supports
parents to give their children the best start in life. Our staff helped Sarah with registering her children,
applying for their birth certificates and commencing immunisations. Barnardos also supported Sarah to
access Centrelink benefits to help her get back on her feet. It was difficult to arrange these payments as Ben
had no identification and was not willing to assist in the process. Sarah was told by Centrelink that her
payments would not be backdated but will commence from the date of lodgement.
We also set Sarah up with additional support services such as counselling, financial assistance, parenting
support and playgroup sessions to help her create a safe and stable life for her children. She is now in the
process of getting a referral to see a counsellor to help with her grief and trauma. The Aboriginal Early Years
Program is so proud of Sarah and will continue to empower this young mother as she strives to give her
children a brighter future.