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Lighthearted April 2016


Welcome to this special edition of Lighthearted, announcing the expansion of our Mothers and Babies live-in care program over the coming months. I’m proud to share the news that along with opening a brand new, purpose built home in June, our existing Cabrini Richmond Lighthouse home will also be converted to a Mothers and Babies home. This will increase our capacity to care for young mums threefold.

Our excitement is building as we move closer to opening our third Mothers and Babies home in Coburg North.  This home has been purpose built for us by generous donation of the Property Industry Foundation.  This is the second home they have built for Lighthouse.  Our generous patron, Vicki Vidor OAM, whose ongoing support over the years has paved the way for so much change to the lives of vulnerable young people at Lighthouse, will support the delivery of our live-in care program for mothers and babies at Coburg North.  We are currently working on fitting out the home with beautiful, brand new furnishings.  If you are able to help with this, please contact Terrie Barton on 9093 7500.

I look forward to seeing many of you at our luncheon in May, raising vital funds to support this important program’s growth.

This is an exciting time for Lighthouse as we see changes in the residential care sector that are starting to embrace the level of care that Lighthouse provides for its young people.  The Department for Health and Human Services (DHHS) have faced criticism over their poor outcomes for young people in state care.  It’s awful to think about the figures that indicate 35%-50% of young people who leave state care will be homeless before they are 19 years old.  Thankfully, the DHHS released a new direction last week committing to change their systems to adopt models of care for young people that 1) have evidence to demonstrate they work and 2) are based on clinical treatment for traumatised young people.  This is great news for young people and for Lighthouse as we have been doing this for several years now. 

As an example of our outcomes, in 2011 a Social Return on Investment study from Social Ventures Australia found the Lighthouse model to return $12 to the community for every $1 invested.  We are also in the process of extracting further outcomes data to so that the good quality of care that our Lighthouse young people receive can be spread to other young people who need it.

The development of the Lighthouse Therapeutic Family Model of Care would not have been possible without the ongoing support of our generous donors who I wish to acknowledge here.  From individual, private and corporate funding we have been able to develop a model that has demonstrated good outcomes and changed the lives of over 700 young people.  A model that isn’t about short term cost saving, but about long term life changing for young people who have suffered trauma. This hugely benefits society by breaking the cycle of homelessness and saving on welfare costs in the longer term.  

Thank you for your ongoing support to share the good practice that you have helped to develop.

Simon Benjamin, CEO

A message from our Founder

Susan BartonIf, like me, you were gutted by the news story of a little baby killed by her mother recently in Melbourne, you may wish to step up to become more involved in Lighthouse Foundation’s work supporting young mums and their babies who are at risk of homelessness.

We are fortunate to have the opportunity to expand our highly regarded program for Mothers and Babies, which means we will shortly have three homes available for young women at risk of homelessness, where they can bring their newborns home after giving birth. 

As you can imagine, life becomes even more difficult for these young women once they are in the late stages of pregnancy. They cannot stay in homeless shelters and refuges with their newborns, and their options are very limited for finding any affordable housing, let alone a nurturing and supportive 24/7 program within a Lighthouse home. Many have originally fled homes where they were victims of abuse and violence. They experience many challenges and have complex needs, which means they require a great deal of support in the crucial early months when they are forming healthy attachments and bonds with their baby.

The Lighthouse program provides the support they need with hands-on practical help, as well as extensive psychological help as they adjust to the changes in their life. After a period of settling, many are able to return to education and even complete subjects online with tutoring support. Their lives become hopeful again, and they know they can always contact Lighthouse for further support in future years. In past years, several have transitioned to shared private rental accommodation quite close to their Lighthouse home, so they can stay in close touch with their Carers.

I am proud that one of these young women will bravely share her story at our upcoming Mothers and Babies fundraising luncheon, hosted by George Donikian, on Wednesday 4 May. Please come along and join us if you can.

With heart,
Susan Barton, AM

Get involved


Please get the gang together to join the Richmond Community Committee on Friday 6th May for an evening of games and trivia at the Caulfield RSL, with all proceeds going to support the Cabrini Richmond home, as many changes are made to prepare it to welcome the new young mums and their babies. Quite a bit has to be done to the home, so we need all the help we can get from this fun trivia night. Great prizes are on offer and plenty of laughs are guaranteed. If you come on your own, we’ll put you on a table to meet new friends.   Click here to book your place.


Let’s RUN THIS CITY together and shed LIGHT on it! Take the challenge and join Team Lighthouse. This year we have a dedicated Lighthouse Marquee that will provide a meeting point and refreshments. We’re aiming to raise $20,000 and we need your help to achieve this. Check out our handy cheat sheet to get yourself registered with the team and get training!

imageAs we increase our focus on the Mothers and Babies program, it’s important that we ensure there is adequate financial resources to support this growth. Our Mothers and Babies fundraising committee (pictured) are holding a luncheon in May to raise additional resources that will combine with the support of our generous patron Vicki Vidor OAM. Click here to secure your ticket now.

Amanda's story

1U9C7973My mum kicked us out three weeks after my son was born. My midwife was visiting and when I told her that living at home wasn’t going to work anymore she brought me in to Lighthouse for an interview. Before I moved in I got to visit the house and meet the other girls who lived there as well as the carers, and to see which room was going to be mine. I was a bit nervous before moving in but everyone seemed nice, it was just a little family home. Living with other mums was good because we could all relate to each other and talk about baby stuff, even though we were all really different. My favourite thing about living there was how calm and quiet it was most of the time, it was relaxing. Also I got along really well with Barb, my carer. She’s like my second mum, we’re still really close.

Aidan was my first child and to be honest, I had no idea what I was doing. I couldn’t cook and when it came to feeding him solids I just didn’t know what to do. Barb was such a big help. My second baby was born last year and I’m much more relaxed with him, I know what I’m doing now.

One thing that stood out for me at Lighthouse was my birthday while I was there. I had no one else to celebrate with really so they had a little party for me, that was beautiful. They baked a cake and everyone sang. It made me feel special.

Lighthouse helped me find another path in life. I never grew up with a dad and neither did my partner and we really wanted to be able to raise Aidan together, as a family. Lighthouse helped us get to the point where we could move in together and live independently. They helped connect us to other organisations and with their support we were able to get all the second hand furniture we needed for the house as well as a washing machine, a fridge, everything. Lighthouse still gives us Christmas presents and food every now and then, it’s just so helpful.

I know that Barb’s there if I ever want to talk to someone, and that there’s counselling if I need it. I wish more people knew about Lighthouse, lots of young kids don’t really know about these sorts of services, like what sort of help and support is out there. I’m so glad that my midwife found it for me, you hear some pretty sad stories and I don’t know where I’d be without Lighthouse.

You know what? If I won Tattslotto I would give to Lighthouse. I want to make sure it keeps going. Money comes and goes, but it’s happiness that’s important. You’ve just got to help people and make them happy.

Knit One Give One

20160421_140856_HDR~2Knit One Give One (KOGO) is a not for profit organisation that asks volunteers to donate time and wool to knit warm winter woollies and distributes them to people and organisations in need. We have been the lucky recipients of three huge boxes of amazing knitted goods that will go a long way towards keeping our young people warm and cosy this season.

We thank the KOGO volunteers who work tirelessly to enable such a contribution.

We also thank our Ambassador, Carlton Football Club player Andrejs Everitt who is a mentor for our young people and joined Lighthouse staff and young people to pose in winter warmers for this photo.

New faces

We are delighted to introduce two new members of the Marketing and Fundraising team at Lighthouse.




Janet Grima has joined us this month as the Director of Fundraising and Marketing. Janet brings over 25 years’ experience in the not for profit sector and she joins us after working in a similar role at SIDS and Kids. At home Janet enjoys photography, all things shoes and cooking. Janet is also currently writing a book on leadership in the not for profit sector. She can be contacted at janetg@lighthousefoundation.org.au

Photo 2Many of you may have already met our new Volunteer and Fundraising coordinator, Fairlie Cottrill. Fairlie joined Lighthouse as a volunteer member of our Kensington Community Committee and stepped up last year to work as the liaison between committees and the organisation. In her new role she will continue to liaise with the committees and any current or prospective volunteers, as well as supporting our fundraising efforts. If you would like to discuss volunteering or fundraising, you can find Fairlie at fairliec@lighthousefoundation.org.au.

Our wonderful supporters

We recently hosted some interstate visitors from some of our corporate supporters at Herbalife and we were happy to sit down to discuss team engagement strategies and our plans for a grant generously provided by the Herbalife Casa Foundation.

Another of our corporate friends, the Grand Hyatt, has selected Lighthouse as one of their official charities for 2016. As well as fundraising support, they will be offering work experience placements to some of our young people. We thank the Grand Hyatt General Manager, Ilan Weill who, along with his wife Sharon, is a passionate supporter of ending youth homelessness.

Our corporate supporters are vital to our progress and we warmly invite other interested organisations and businesses to contact Janet Grima on janetg@lighthousefoundation.org.au to discuss the exciting possibilities.

Our long-time supporter, Paul McKessy, recently published a book. Dependence Vs Opportunity which outlines Paul’s journey over the past 25 years in supporting youth homelessness and employment projects. The book’s foreword was written by another beloved Lighthouse supporter, Morry Fraid. The founder of Spotlight, Morry has been committed to assisting disadvantaged young people through Lighthouse for over 20 years. We congratulate Paul on his work and thank both him and Morry for their dedicated support over the years. Find out more and purchase the book online here.

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