Family Action Centre


Our Family and Community Outreach Projects are managed by Kerrell Bourne. After working for one of Australia's largest non-government family support organisations (The Smith Family), Kerrell came to UON in 2001. Since then she has collaborated with several government departments and non-government organisations and develops very successful outreach partnerships.

Under Kerrell’s excellent management our state funded family projects continue to meet their annual performance targets. This is a huge achievement given the significant transitions to changing service delivery specifications. Attendance at parenting programs are reaching or exceeding target numbers, and overall satisfaction with service delivery is very high. Our staff work in challenging and complex circumstances on a daily basis while they conduct the ground-breaking family and community work for which the Centre is so well known.

Family and Community Programs

Hunter Outreach Project

The Hunter Outreach Project is a support service for families in the lower Hunter area. The project offers services which build on existing community strengths and foster positive relationships within families. The service is available to any family with at least one child up to 17 years of age. All activities are offered free of charge. Referrals are accepted from individuals and support services. We cover the local government areas of Newcastle, Cessnock, Lake Macquarie, Maitland and Port Stephens.

The Hunter Outreach Project grew out of the Caravan Project which gave rise to the work and identity of The Family Action Centre and its outreach activities. The Hunter Outreach Project receives funding from the NSW Department of Family and Community Services, in recognition of its role in family support and child protection.


Special Need Unlimited Group (SNUG) is funded by the Steve Waugh Foundation (SWF) and provides  residential retreats for families with children with rare conditions. Students from a range of health disciplines contribute as volunteers and students on placement. The whole family attends the retreat together and a program of activities is designed so that every attendee can participate.


Uni4You offers intensive support to people in the University of Newcastle’s Enabling Programs. Activities include study preparation workshops, learning support groups plus personalised social-emotional support.
The activities provide individuals, from areas historically under-represented in the general university population, with the skills needed to prepare for university and study successfully. The activities has been designed to support the lifelong learning continuum of the Widening Participation activities offered at UON. The program is funded through the Australian Government Higher Education Participation Program (HEPP). The Uni4You project involves The University’s Family Action Centre, the Pathways and Academic Learning Support (PALS) Centre and The Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Education (CEEHE).

Deadly Streaming

The Deadly Streaming Project provides school based activities to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) students to improve school attendance, to support connection to culture, and to encourage cultural sensitivity in schools. The main objective of this project is to support ATSI students to culturally identify and promote a sense of cultural competence and to support schools to become more culturally sensitive thereby leading to improved educational outcomes for ATSI students.

Our Health Rules!

The Our Health Rules! Project is provided with the support of The Smith Family’s Communities for Children Raymond Terrace and Karuah. It provides innovative activities to promote and improve the health and wellbeing of families living in areas of Port Stephens and Tea Gardens/Hawks Nest.

Students on Placement

The Centre hosts a range of students from various disciplines in an inter-professional placement unit, and also provides opportunities to student volunteers, to participate in our family support programs, where they liaise with human service workers in education, health, and family and community services.

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.