Parenting can be tough, but the FRS can help

We know that parenting is a tough gig. The Far North Coast Family Referral Service is here to help. We are releasing our new film clip to coincide with National Families Week and our team will be visiting shopping centres in our region for Families Week. You can find us at Goonellabah Shopping Centre (outside Coles) on Tuesday 15 May, at Grafton Shopping World on Wednesday 16 May and at Casino Shopping Centre (outside Coles) on Friday 18 May. FRS will also have a stand at the renowned Murwillumbah Kinship Festival on Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 May.

So come and chat to us and let us tell you how we can make your life a little easier. You can also call 1800 338 774 or email [email protected]


Young People Taking on Youth Homelessness for YHMD 2018

Young People Taking on Youth Homelessness for YHMD 2018

Young People Taking on Youth Homelessness for YHMD 2018

Local school students are encouraging their peers to take the issue of youth homelessness into their own hands this Youth Homelessness Matters Day.

A group of Trinity Catholic College students are using the national campaign day on 18 April to mobilise and encourage friends and classmates to undertake their own fundraising events and initiatives to raise funds and awareness for local young people who are homeless. The funds, to be donated to The Connecting Home Youth program, will be used for emergency accommodation costs, living skills programs, and basic needs including food, clothing, medical and personal care items.

To compliment the student’s initiative, The Connecting Home Youth Team from Social Futures will be working with local high schools across the region, holding information sessions on youth homelessness. The sessions will inform young people about the risks and contributing factors of homelessness, better equip young people to support peers who are at risk, and educate students about how to access available services.
Read the Northern Star Article on de-stigmatising youth homelessness.

Do you want to help fundraise money for homeless youth in your area?

Here are some great ideas how on the Youth Homelessness Project poster!
For more information about the Connecting Home Youth Homelessness Project, contact: Katie Juster [email protected] 0417 167 631
You can also donate to Connecting Home on our support page 


#YHMD2018 will be held on Wednesday, 18 April 2018.
More than 28, 000 young Australians do not have a home. In most instances, they do not have a home because they are escaping conflict and violence. They find it almost impossible to find a home because of the housing affordability crisis in Australia.
The vast majority of young people experiencing homelessness are hidden from view in refuges, couch surfing situations and sleeping in cars with their family, but their experience is very real.


Twitter #YHMD2018
Instagram #YHMD2018
Petition for a national plan to end youth homelessness

Northern Rivers Social Change Collaboration

The Northern Rivers Social Change Collaboration brings community and government organisations together to work collectively to improve community wellbeing and attract and facilitate investment for positive social impact in the Northern Rivers region of NSW.

The group was established in February 2015 as the Regional Social Plan Implementation Group to support and manage the implementation of the Northern Rivers Regional Social Plan launched in early 2014.

Membership started with Social Futures (SF), Regional Development Australia (RDA) Northern Rivers and other organisations that nominated as implementation partners for the plan before it was launched (CRANES, The Family Centre, Northern NSW Local Health District, North Coast Community Housing Company, North Coast NSW Medicare Local (now North Coast Primary Health Network), Nortec and Tursa.

The group is using a snowball method to identify and include additional organisations with interest and capacity to participate and contribute. Any organisation can nominate to join the Implementation Group. It now has 24 community and government organisations in its membership.

Read the Terms of Reference and Principles and Procedures NR Social Change Collaboration. The Collaboration identified the following strengths of our region we can build on collectively.

Diversity | Proactive community | Resourceful people | Region of choice | Capacity to influence | Strong networks

Opportunities for working collectively

The Regional Social Plan identifies 13 desired future outcomes along with potential measures, partners and strategies. The Collaboration considered the plan, along with information about changes and issues in the service delivery, funding and policy context in the region, to identify three key action areas as opportunities to focus its work.

Key action area 1: improving outcomes for children and young people

Our action in this area focuses on understanding how our services and service systems in the Northern Rivers are responding to what works for children and young people – to support them to reach their potential and be safe. We are at the beginning of a collective process to:

  • understand how children and young people across our region are faring on key indicators including child development (readiness for school) and numbers in out-of-home care, and why
  • consider existing evidence about what works and how we can offer better support
  • establish an engagement process or platform to identify what is working well and how we can respond to barriers and challenges and provide better support.

See Better Chances Forum.

We are aiming to draw together work of member organisations, other activities engaging with children, young people and families in the region, and service providers’ perspectives to consider how we can better support children and young people.

Key action area 2: a collective approach to domestic and family violence, including prevention

The Collaboration identified supporting a collective approach to domestic and family violence, including prevention, as an important opportunity for improving community wellbeing in the region. We will work with the Northern NSW Combined Domestic and Family Violence Forum to progress this work. The forum brings together representatives from the local domestic and family violence committees and regional services to focus on providing the best possible outcomes for women and families affected by domestic and family violence given the current resources available in Northern NSW.

Key action area 3: affordable housing investment and supply

In this action area, the Collaboration is working with the Northern Rivers Housing Forum Steering Group on activities to attract and facilitate investment in affordable housing in the Northern Rivers. This includes events and activities to encourage and support collaboration between housing providers, developers and investors, and sharing information about housing supply and demand highlighting housing risks, challenges and opportunities for vulnerable households and the whole community.

Collaboration principles for the Collaboration

The following principles guide how the Collaboration does its work.

• Acknowledge the tensions of working collectively in a competitive funding environment.

• Work to develop shared goals.

• Being clear and respectful about individual and shared intellectual property.

• Allow space for organisations to progress their own work.

• Communicate within and between member organisations.

• Be transparent about decisions and make information available to the community.

• Support shared measurement of impact.

• Promote access and participation – services, planning, design, delivery, community life.

• Understand and collectively influence positive systemic change.

• Pursue opportunities for strengths-based work and early intervention.

Member organisations – Northern Rivers Social Change Collaboration

Aboriginal Affairs, NSW Department of Education and Communities
Australian Government Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
Clarence River Women’s Refuge and Outreach Services Inc
Clarence Valley Council
Consortium of Neighbourhood Centres
CRANES Community Support Programs
FSG Australia
Local Community Services Association
North Coast Community Housing Company
North Coast Primary Health Network
Social Futures
NSW Aboriginal Land Council
NSW Department of Education and Communities
NSW Department of Family and Community Services
Northern NSW Local Health District
OTCP (Formerly On Track Community Programs)
Rekindling the Spirit
The Family Centre
Transport for NSW
Tursa Employment & Training
Tweed Shire Council

Acknowledgment: Social Futures acknowledges the funding contribution made by NSW Family and Community Services (FACS) through the Community Builders program, which contributed to the development of the Regional Social Plan and enables our organisation to continue to build capacity in the regional community services and health sector.

Car Free Feb – rides, runs and buses into town

Car Free Feb – rides, runs and buses into town

What you would do if suddenly you didn’t have a car to get around?

This is the question Social Futures is asking people to consider as part of the new public transport initiative Car Free Feb. 

“We are challenging people to leave the car at home for a day in February and try using a different transport mode,” Social Futures’ Transport Development Officer Alex Lewers said.

“That might be catching a bus, riding a bike, walking or carpooling with a colleague or friend.”

“As extra incentive, we have some great prizes to give away including a $500 Flight Centre Voucher, 3 x yearly Spotify subscriptions, and some free weekly bus tickets.”

“To enter the draw to win, simply post a selfie going ‘car free’ on the Northern Star Facebook page with the hashtag #carfreefeb by midnight 28 February.”

Car Free Feb was developed to raise awareness of public transport across the Northern Rivers.

“In regional areas we are so used to getting in the car to go anywhere that many of us never really consider public transport as an option,” Alex said.

“As a result, we generally don’t know much about what services are available in our area.”

“Car Free Feb is a great opportunity to test out some of the different transport modes available to us here in the Northern Rivers.”

As part of the event some bus companies will be providing free public transport on 27 February for Car Free Feb:

  • Northern Rivers Buslines
  • Blanch’s Bus Company
  • Ballina Buslines
  • Brunswick Valley Coaches
  • Casino Bus Service

People wanting to check public transport in their area can visit or

Media Enquiries: Social Futures Transport Development Officer, Alex Lewers 0417 832 286 or email [email protected].

Pin It on Pinterest