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Time to Celebrate & Evolve!

Sir David and Lady Martin

As the world around us experiences significant disruption, here at Sir David Martin Foundation we continue to navigate a steady course and work diligently to ensure our important work is maintained.

On the 10th August 2020 we commemorated the life of Rear Admiral Sir David Martin KCMG, AO, RAN, 34th Governor of NSW – remembering a man who embodied the essence of service, leadership and humility.

As we honour Sir David’s outstanding life and legacy, we also celebrate 30 years of the family foundation established in his name, which has helped save the lives of over 3,000 young Australians and had a positive impact on countless families.

Thank you to all who have participated in our special 30th Anniversary celebrations and supported our recent events and activities.

It has been humbling to read the many messages of support, shared memories and anecdotes and receive such generous endorsement for our future activities.

With renewed vigour our Foundation now harnesses these sentiments of celebration and optimism to fuel our future endeavours.
We also look to the future to maintain strength in our vision.

The stories and success of our graduates drives our determination to reach more young people seeking help, especially as the economic, social and health implications of this pandemic take such a devastating toll nationally.

With your continued help and support we know we can make Sir David’s dream of “safety, hope and opportunity” a reality for more young vulnerable Australians than ever before.

Now that’s something worth celebrating!

From our General Manager, Helen Connealy

Helen Connealy

Mental Health Month this October will have more relevance than ever before.

In 2020, our understanding and empathy for mental illness is far greater and we know the impact of COVID will create much more stress for vulnerable young Australians.

Thank you, our supporters, for all you do.

As well as the much needed donations, we couldn’t do the work we do without a team of volunteers who generously give their time, energy and expertise to us.

As well as the much needed donations, we couldn’t do the work we do without a team of volunteers who generously give their time, energy and expertise to us. My thanks to our Board of Governors, our Youth Ambassador Elli, ABC broadcaster Sophie Scott and our Reset Challenge Ambassador Phil Kearns.

The Reset Challenge campaign will engage more people to our cause, allowing us to bring some positive change to our lives whilst helping young people in crisis.

Partnerships such as the Navy are so valuable to us and we’d like to invite more organisations to engage in our work.

Please share our story with your friends and colleagues and if you know anyone who would like to help us, do please get in touch at

Report reveals high demand and unmet need

On Wednesday 12th August our Patron, Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC, Governor of New South Wales formally launched a new research report ‘Evolve 2020: Are we doing enough for young people with drug and alcohol addiction?

Watch Her Excellency’s video message here

Commissioned by Sir David Martin Foundation, Evolve 2020 makes seven key recommendations calling for a nationwide expansion of youth-specific services to prevent vulnerable young people being caught in a debilitating and lifelong cycle of addiction.

The report shows that almost 40% (76,000) of all those requesting help for drug and  alcohol addiction in Australia each year are under the age of  30.

However, a lack of youth specific treatment options leaves many of these young people in adult programs not tailored to their needs.

The report recommendations will now be used as the basis for awareness, collaboration and informing our future funding. You can download the full report here

Meet Elli – our new Youth Ambassador

Elli Youth Ambassador

Elli, 22, has a wide smile that can light up a room… and a zest for learning that’s infectious. But behind that smile lies a steely determination that’s helped this young woman overcome adversity and set a new course for her life.

“I had a very troubled childhood  and I turned to drugs and alcohol to self-medicate, I guess, to cope with the uncomfortable feelings I was experiencing,” said Elli.

“This escalated really quickly to the point where I had to make a choice about the trajectory I wanted my life to take… and for me… that choice was recovery!”

Elli has generously agreed to be our Youth Ambassador – sharing her experience and insights to help others.

After graduating from Triple Care Farm in 2018, Elli is now living independently and studying Forensic Science at university. She also has an interest in law – and hopes to one day embark on a career advocating for victims of crime.

“I do consider myself to still be in recovery,” said Elli.

“It’s a daily thing. I have professional help I can call on, but mostly I feel I have the tools and self-awareness to know when I need to check myself. When I feel myself struggling I have a few select family and friends I can talk to, but then I focus on exercise, eating well and things like journaling or my art.”

“For me structure and routine really help. Attending classes, studying and working out daily is really important and the prospect of going to university next year keeps me motivated and focussed.”

Elli says that part of recovery is making tough decisions.

“I made a conscious decision to cut ties with many people I associated with before my recovery – and those conversations were hard to have.”

“But the program teaches you about accountability and good choices – and that’s what’s working for me at the moment. I’m building a new life.”

Elli is a strong advocate of the Aftercare program – crediting her Mission Australia support worker Linda with setting her up for success in the outside world.

“Leaving Triple Care Farm was just as frightening and daunting as arriving there, to be honest. I was new to Sydney and had no support or real connections. Linda was my top person – she was fantastic. She helped me find my feet and opened me up to new opportunities I didn’t think I was capable of. She gave real and authentic support. She was there and I wasn’t all on my own.”

As part of her role of Youth Ambassador Elli has already made a live TV appearance on Studio Ten and been a guest speaker at our Understanding Youth Addiction event.

Thanks Elli for your generosity in sharing your story and being a voice for young people.

No short Supply of naval support


We are excited to announce a partnership with the ship’s company of the Navy’s new Supply class Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment ship, Supply (II), who have generously nominated our Foundation as their charity of choice.

Commanding Officer, Captain Ben Hissink and the crew are participating in the Reset Challenge as their first fundraising activity – completing a series of health and wellness activities as they await the arrival of their new vessel from Spain.

“NUSHIP Supply (II) is proud to be supporting Sir David Martin Foundation and the important work they do for young people in crisis. Sir David Martin was a former Commanding Officer of the original HMAS Supply in 1979 – so this relationship has special significance for us all,” said Captain Hissink.

“We are delighted to kick off our fundraising efforts with the Reset Challenge and look forward to growing this relationship into the future.”

Thank you to Captain Hissink and the Supply (II) crew for coming aboard.

Media spotlight

Did you catch our appearances in the media over recent months? Our Foundation, the Martin family and Mission Australia’s Triple Care Farm were extensively featured in the Spring issue of Highlife magazine. Read the full article Saving lives at Triple Care Farm

General Manager, Helen Connealy was also interviewed about the Evolve 2020 research report on ABC’s State-Wide Drive program on 12th August, appearing the next day on live TV for Studio Ten alongside our Youth Ambassador Elli. Watch the full interview here

Follow our Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter pages to keep up to date with all of our latest media coverage.

Care in the time of COVID

Triple Care Farm

Treating our young people has become more complex in the COVID world. Despite this, Mission Australia’s Gabriella Holmes says Triple Care Farm has managed to adjust and continue its support for young people.

“Our model and many day-to-day processes have had to change, which has been difficult, but the program team and the young people have been very responsive,” said Gabriella.

David Martin Place Nurse Educator, Beth Horner, has been part of the team implementing new clinical and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) procedures to protect staff and students.

“It’s been a really interesting journey for the staff, who haven’t needed to adhere to this stringent level of infection control previously,” said Beth.
“Early on we had sessions that involved educating staff about correct PPE techniques, the importance of hand hygiene and also reviewing the changes in process from pre-COVID to now and really thinking through the consequences of all our actions, including the steps we’d take in the event that any signs or symptoms were identified.”

Being met at the car by staff donned in full mask, gowns and gloves could naturally be very daunting for young people arriving for residential treatment. But Gabriella says extensive preparation and communication has been crucial.

“There is already a high level of anxiety for our young people coming to the program. But the new intake restrictions have made things very difficult.”

“We’ve addressed this by having open communication with the young people and their families before they arrive so they know what to expect.

“They know, for example, that they’ll be greeted by a staff member in full PPE, and have a COVID screening test before they enter. I think that decreases the anxiety about COVID management because they could clearly see that we had it covered and that we’d keep them safe.”

“Maintaining personal connection is so important. I say to my team, ‘make sure your eyes are smiling’. You can still be yourself, even if you are presenting with a mask and a gown.”

“I’m very proud that due to ongoing and transparent conversations with our young people and staff we’ve been able to manage any heightened level of COVID-related anxiety.”

"I've found out what it means to be me"

“My time here at TCF has come to an end so soon, the weeks have just flown by.

I remember being in my first couple of weeks complaining to my partner saying there is no way I would ever be able to do it.

And look where I am! I feel like I have accomplished so much since entering the farm as the little lost kid that was looking to find who he was as a person and with the help of all the staff and other students I have finally found out what it means to be me.

I always say the farm has actually saved my life. I owe so much to this place, without coming here my life was destined to be cut short.

I am very confident to be graduating from the program and I am so positive that my life is only moving forwards from this point onwards.

Thank you for having me stay here, I mean it from the bottom of my heart.”

**Letter from Triple Care Farm Graduate – name withheld for privacy reasons.

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