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What, Why, How


Ronald McDonald House Charities Northern NSW is an independent, not-for-profit organisation dedicated to providing vital programs for families with a seriously ill child. The Stronger Together Partnership will achieve life-changing outcomes and provide much-needed support to thousands of families across Northern NSW. Through the four Stronger Together Pillars, families will be provided with accommodation; access to hospital-based Family Rooms; holidays at the Forster-based Family Retreat; and continued assistance through the Learning Program.


When a child is diagnosed with a serious illness or injury, their family’s life is turned upside down as they face both emotional turmoil and financial burden. Many families struggle to make ends meet, whilst facing the many challenges when caring for their ill or injured child. Parents need to take extended leave from work to travel to major hospitals to support their sick child, often at short notice. In an unfamiliar place, families incur significant expenditure on food, laundry, transport, and parking. State governments provide travel and accommodation subsidies, but these subsidies generally don’t cover the full cost of accommodation close to the hospital.


Ronald McDonald House Charities Northern NSW currently operate the Ronald McDonald Houses in Newcastle and Tamworth, Family Rooms at Newcastle’s John Hunter Children’s Hospital and Gosford Hospital, and the Family Retreat in Forster, all of which will benefit from the partnership.
The Stronger Together Partnership will address four (4) Pillars of service that will assist with the financial burden of families during a time of great stress and vulnerability.

Stronger Together Pillars

A home away from home

Providing up to 800 nights of accommodation at the Newcastle and Tamworth Houses for an estimated 80 families per year who have to travel far from home to receive vital medical treatment for their child.

A place to unwind

Providing up to 1,500 visits per year to the 3 Family Rooms at Newcastle and Gosford so families can forget the stresses of ward life, in a home-like environment, giving them the chance to refresh, reset and focus on their child’s recovery.

A peaceful getaway

Providing up to 40 family holidays per year for families who may not otherwise have the time or the finances to take time out to relax, reconnect and create precious memories together at the Family Retreat in Forster.

A chance to catch up on missed education

Providing 600 hours of tailored one-on-one tutoring through the Learning Program for up to 15 students per year across Northern NSW who have missed long periods of school due to serious illness.

Stronger Together Partnership Impact

When a child has been seriously ill, it can have a lifelong impact on their family’s financial and emotional wellbeing, quality of life, family relationships and education.

Families who have stayed at Ronald McDonald House reported more positive overall experiences and noted that the supportive environment helped them be more involved in their child’s care.

Our partnership with Ronald McDonald House Charities Northern NSW from 2019-2021 enabled 478 students to participate in the Learning Program and provided 550 nights’ accommodation for 82 families through additional funding due to COVID.

Julia, a Ronald McDonald House Family

“We needed to be far from home so our daughter, Harper, could receive the vital medical treatment she needed after being diagnosed with an extremely rare cancer. For families like us who don’t have options of places to stay near the Hospital, having Ronald McDonald House Charities Northern NSW take away the incredible financial stress for us was such a relief. It was one less thing we had to worry about.

If we weren’t able to stay here at the house, the cost to stay elsewhere means we would struggle financially, but we wouldn’t have a choice, we needed to be by Harper’s side.”