• Free RAT Test Available

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    The NSW Government is providing free Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) to vulnerable communities. Following the increase in COVID cases, we have received a number of questions from DCJ staff, service providers and clients about this program.

    Below is some helpful information:

    Who is eligible for free RATs?

    Eligible Service Providers can order RATS from DCJ and dispense these to the following priority client groups:

    • 24-hour residential services for homelessness, out-of-home care and youth justice rehabilitation
    • children and young people in out-of-home care, their carers and birth parents
    • vulnerable children and families at risk in child protection, and domestic and family violence
    • social housing tenants supported by community housing provider
    • case management for people receiving homelessness, community corrections and youth justice services
    • Aboriginal communities
    • people with disability including individuals who are immunocompromised and their carers
    • eligible Commonwealth Concession Card holders in NSW:
    1. Pensioner Concession card
    2. Commonwealth Seniors Health Care card
    3. Health Care Card (including Low Income Health Care card); or
    4. Department of Veterans’ Affairs Gold, White or Orange cards.

    Which service providers can order RATs from DCJ?

    All DCJ contracted service providers are eligible to access free RATs and dispense them to any of the priority client groups listed above.

    Service providers not contracted by DCJ can also participate as long as they are a non-government organisation or charity that provides services to the priority groups; and is registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC).

    How can service providers order free RATs?

    Eligible Providers can order RATs online in batches of 300, up to 4 boxes per order, and they can be used for their clients, carers, and their staff. Further information and how to place an order can be found on the DCJ COVID-19 microsite

    We encourage Providers not to wait until they run out of RATs before ordering again.

    Why are clients asking about RATs?

    The free RAT program is widely publicised, and millions of vulnerable people across NSW are eligible.

    People with disability, the immunocompromised and their carers, as well as Concession Card Holders are directed to their nearest DCJ funded (TEI) neighbourhood and community centre. This is a valuable service to the community, but centres can choose to opt out of the program by contacting us.

    Providers are not to apply additional criteria to recipients from the priority client groups, as this may cause confusion among clients.

    What to check before dispensing the RATs?

    Providers can dispense RATs to priority clients they work with. RATs can be dispensed to any person who self-declares they have a disability and their carers. No other criteria checks are required.

    For eligible Commonwealth Concession Card holders, providers will need to check their concession card but do not need to record details.

    How many RATs can be given out per person?

    For people with disability, the immunocompromised and their carers, it is recommended that they be given 8 RATs per month per person. This is only a guide, as it may vary due to personal circumstances, such as more than one carer per week.

    For eligible Commonwealth Concession Card holders they are entitled to up to 10 RATs per person for the three-month supply.

    Why did we receive a box of RATs we didn’t order?

    In mid-July neighbourhood and community centres received an additional box of 300 RATs so they are prepared for any extra requests for RATs. This can be dispensed to priority clients, including those who ‘walk up’ to request RATs, and meet the above criteria.

    Please email capabilityandpractice@dcj.nsw.gov.au to find out more information

  • Young Carer Busary Program Open Now

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    Applications are open now!

    The Young Carer Bursary Program supports young carers to continue with their education. The program offers 1000 bursaries of $3000 each year to assist with education needs and resources.

    Applications for the 2023 Young Carers Bursary are now open and will close at 5pm Tuesday 19th September (AEST).

    To apply you must login to your account and complete your application on line.

    There are many ways to access the internet:

    • at your place of study (school, TAFE, University)
    • public libraries
    • free wi-fi spots at shopping centres and other major outlets

    Need support to assist you with the application:

    • approach a teacher
    • support worker
    • counsellor
    • young carer coordinator
    • friend or family member

    For more information about young carers and eligibility for the bursary please visit the Young Carers Network website.

    The Carer Gateway also offers assistance to young carers and their families by way of advice, services, support and respite. Please contact them on 1800 422 737 to register.

    Young Carers Team | Carers Australia

  • Laptop Grants

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    Laptop grants for high school students! Do you have students in your community that require a laptop for school but need financial support to make it happen?
    🙋 Yes, then read on.

    The Variety We Learn Grant, provides high school students living in financial hardship with a laptop to encourage their educational goals.

    Applications open Monday 25th July - Wednesday 24 August at 5pm.

    Can you please share our Variety We Learn Grant with your LGA through your newsletter, website or social media? Click here to forward this email to a colleague who looks after community communications in your council.

    This is a highly sought-after grant, we're reaching out to you early to give you the opportunity to share the information with your community to read the guidelines, and allow families to get their applications ready, and not miss out!


    The Variety We Learn Grant opens from the 25th July to the 24th of August at 5pm and supports families with children who attend full-time high school (years 7 -12) or tertiary education (TAFE or other educational institutions) throughout NSW and the ACT and are 18 years and under.

    When Lismore student Giaan was entering Year 10 and required a new laptop, she came to her mum with the only possible solution, she had no choice but to leave school and get a job.

    As a single mother, Wendy was struggling with mortgage repayments and household bills, a new laptop was out of reach.

    Giaan's was told about Variety's grants and applied for an education grant. Her application was successful and she was able to get a new laptop and continue her education goals.

    The We Learn Grant will provide a laptop and laptop sleeve that has been pre-selected. The laptop is an Acer TMB311-32, please click here for the brochure and all device specifications.

    Please share the information about the Variety We Learn Grant with your community and specifically kids and families that are in need of support. Together, we can ensure that all kids can stay connected.

    If you have any questions about how Variety might be able to support your school or students, please reach out to us.

    Applications open Monday 25th July - Wednesday 24 August at 5pm.



    Liz Gearing

    Head of Kids Support
    Variety - The Children's Charity NSW/ACT

    P.S. we are here to help kids aged 0 - 18 in a variety of ways (pun intended) if you would like to have a look at the full range of support Variety is currently offering please head to our website.

  • Karauh Hub 2022

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    The Karuah hub playgroup is run by the team at Firstchance and led by our specialist Early Childhood Intervention Educators, providing local families with:

    • A community-led, playgroup for 2 hours per week during school terms
    • A Speech Therapist and Occupational Therapist to support children and families
    • Individual support to parents/carers

    Click Here to find out more additional information

  • NSW Government Services

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    NSW Government Services will be available At Tanilba Bay on the Tuesday the 23rd of August 2022 from 9:00am – 3:00pm

    Read this flyer to find out more information

  • Healthy Workplace Programs

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    Free Healthy Workplaces Program (facilitated by the Community Management Advisory Project & supported by DCJ funding) for TEI funded local services, commencing 10 Aug 2022.

    The program consists of four sessions.

    The first two sessions will be held via “Teams on Line” (Microsoft – MS Teams) from 10 am to 1 pm on 10 Aug 22.

    Click Here to find further details and requirements for the sessions

  • Intro to Peer Support

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    Find out about what peer support is, how it works and how you can be the best peer supporter!

    Click HERE for more information

  • Youth Opportunities Program Grants 2022

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    Projects funded under the Youth Opportunities Program are to involve young people at every stage of the project - from identifying the need, through to design, project delivery and final review and recognition. Organizations applying for funding must have spoken with young people and involved them in developing the project proposal prior to submitting an application.

    Applicants are advised to read the Program Guidelines carefully before completing an application for funding. To download these Guidelines and more, please visit the Youth NSW website.

    Applications are submitted via SmartyGrants, an online grants administration system. SmartyGrants and the online application form can be accessed from here.

    Applications must be completed and submitted online via SmartyGrants by 5:00pm on Monday, 08 August 2022. The SmartyGrants system automatically shuts off at 5:00pm on that day. It does not allow for extensions to be granted.

  • Youngster.Co

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    We’re looking to employ youngsters to help our old-sters learn new digital skills.

    Council has been successful in securing an Australian Government Be Connected Network grant to deliver a program focused on building the digital skills of our older generation. As an added bonus, the program will employ local young people to teach the seniors of Port Stephens how to use technology

    We’re really keen to be partnering with Youngster.co – an organization that specialise in employing youngsters to teach seniors digital skills.

    The benefits to youngsters:

    • Get paid to help Seniors in your community
    • Use your native tech knowledge
    • Flexible working hours
    • Learn life skills

    The sessions will be held across Port Stephens in our libraries and will give youngsters the opportunity to gain new social and problem solving skills and gain experience and wisdom from the oldies, while showing off their awesome tech savvy skills!

    The young person will be paid a competitive rate, directly into their bank account. They’ll need an email, ABN, vaccination certificate and a police check.

    For more information or If you know a young person who’d like to be involved in this exciting opportunity, encourage them to sign up by visiting the website.

    For more information about the program, call Jen Underwood on 4988 0190.

    We look forward to seeing our youngsters working with the oldies soon!!

  • 13 Yarn

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    What is 13 Yarn:

    13 Yarn is the first national crisis support line for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community feeling overwhelmed or having difficulty coping. They offer a confidential one-on-one yarning opportunity with a Lifeline- trained Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Crisis Supporter who can provide crisis support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 13 Yarn empowers the community with the opportunity to yarn without judgement and provide a culturally safe space to speak about their needs, worries or concerns.

    If someone you know, are feeling worried or no good, connect them with 13YARN on 13 92 76 (24hrs/7 days) and talk with Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Crisis Supporter.

    Visit the website to find out more