The University of Newcastle's Family Action Centre will mark a major milestone this month, celebrating 20 years since the Australian start of a program designed to offer a helping hand to young families needing additional support.
The Family Action Centre was the first organisation to bring the internationally recognised Home-Start program to Australia in 1989. Twenty years later, there are more than 35 organisations running Home-Start in NSW and Victoria.
Director of the Family Action Centre, Judi Geggie, said since the program's inception the Centre had trained more than 500 volunteers who have gone on to support more than 1,400 families in the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie regions.
"The Home-Start program links volunteers to families with young children who are facing difficulties ranging from isolation to sudden or unexpected stresses in their lives.
"Families needing support are usually those suffering from isolation or loneliness because they are new to the area, have a new baby, have a number of children under the age of five or are coping with a multiple birth.
"Our volunteers visit and offer practical support and encouragement for the challenging task of raising young families," Ms Geggie said.
Home-Start is funded by the NSW Government's Department of Community Services and is supported by the University of Newcastle.
Sunday 13 September
Past and present volunteers and families will attend a family picnic to be held at the Newcastle Foreshore from 11am to 2pm. More than 200 people will take part in activities including a sausage sizzle, face painting and jumping castle.
Wednesday 16 September
More than 100 guests will gather for a formal Twilight Reception to be held at the Family Action Centre, Callaghan campus from 5.30pm to 7.30pm. Guests of honour include ABC broadcaster Geraldine Doogue and University of Newcastle Chancellor, Professor Trevor Waring.