Meet The Team
As our Director Chris has had a wide range of experiences that allow her a depth of knowledge, practise, engagement and respect from her peers extends not only in community work, but also into the business and non-for-profit sector.
Chris has pioneered the work of LIVEfree project and has shaped its coal face, grassroots reach into the community from its very conception, giving community a voice, a strong foundation of genuine concern and an opportunity where mutual exchange of respect and journey has been embraced.
Chris’ areas of knowledge in wellbeing, welfare and community have not only come from working with those challenges associated in low socio-economic communities within Newcastle and her surrounds, but also from relief and aid work abroad with those experiencing abject poverty, disaster and ongoing effects of trauma and violence in Uganda, Thailand, Philippines, and Nepal. In all these places working particularly with young people, children, and women as they establish life again and reshape a safer future for themselves connected with trusted relationships within community. The model of community care that Chris continues to vision cast for LIVEfree culturally embraces awareness, diversity, and community engagement.
“Our lived experience together teaches us; continues to shape our planning and help us navigate brighter futures for those found within our local community”
Nomination for Citizen of the year for City of Newcastle 2023
Winner of Westfields Local Hero 2021
Finalist for Westfield Local Hero 2021
Nomination for Westfield Local Hero 2021& 2020
Chaplaincy Australia Unsung Hero Award for Service to Australia in area of Chaplaincy 2019
Nomination for Westfield Local Hero Nomination 2019
Pride of Australia Nomination 2017
Rachel is an experienced Program Coordinator and leads our team in supporting individuals and communities in a variety of areas. With a background in wellbeing, community and Indigenous studies, counselling, tertiary and early childhood education, disability support, and trauma, Rachel brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to our organisation.
As a Program Coordinator, Rachel is responsible for developing and implementing programs that address the unique needs of the individuals and communities we serve. She is passionate about creating positive change and empowering people to live their best lives. Rachel's extensive experience in the areas of trauma and lived experience is particularly valuable, as it allows her to work with empathy and understanding towards those who are facing challenging experiences.
Rachel is a dedicated and compassionate professional who is committed to helping people overcome obstacles and achieve their goals. Her expertise and leadership are essential to the success of our organisation, and we are proud to have her as a part of our team.
Wellbeing and Community Engagement
Emma brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her role, having worked extensively in various fields such as Mental Health, Disability, Community Services, Education and Training.
Additionally, she has experience in Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care, Therapeutic Education, NDIS Support, Mentoring, Trauma, Suicidal Ideation and Self-Injury Management. Her diverse skillset enables her to offer comprehensive support to our clients and help them achieve their goals.
Emma is a valuable member of our team and is dedicated to supporting the wellbeing and resilience of our staff and clients. We are so fortunate to have her on board and know that she will continue to make a positive impact on our community.
Therapeutic Educator and Community Engagement
Mandy Homard is delighted to be working with the LIVEfree team. With a background in Social Work, Mandy has worked with children and young people across numerous fields over the past 20 years, including Mental Health Services, Education, Homelessness and Family Work.
Her passion is early intervention and helping people find their strength in hard places. She currently spends lots of time working in schools to support students with learning, wellbeing and social and emotional skills.
Mandy has a gentle curiosity and loves listening to the stories of children and young people around her. Her quiet mission is to make sure every child feels seen and heard and knows their worth. LIVEfree Project are grateful for the experience and skills she brings to both our team and community.
Chloe is able to offer well rounded support to clients, with her experience working in Wellbeing, Child Protection, Disability and Learning Support, Food Handling and Mentoring.
Additionally, she has completed units of study around Child Protection, Education and Mental Health at Newcastle University. Chloe has years of experience in working with primary and young people, planning activities for them and mentoring in the community space.
This learning and experience on the ground enables her to support clients with a range of needs and provide support that aligns with both their goals and capacity.
Chloe is an asset to our team and endeavours to see each client reach their unique and full potential. We are proud to have her as a part of our team and know that she will continue to make lasting impact on our community.
Shay has a Certificate IV and Diploma in Community Services and is currently in her fourth year of studying Social Work at Newcastle University.
Shay has been involved in working with the Newcastle local Community since 2017 and has a heart for people who are experiencing disadvantaged and unjust circumstances.
Shay works from a strength-based approach and enjoys working with people from diverse backgrounds. Shay is passionate about social justice and supporting individuals to ensure that their voices are heard.
We are so please to have Shay's wealth of knowledge and her expertise as she steps into the space of low socioeconomic communities and the complexities of working with trauma and hardship.
Shay's strength is her friendliness and ability to relate and make a client feel at ease - she is such an asset to our team.
Wellbeing Worker, Parent/Carer Educator and Mentor
Elizabeth brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her role, having worked extensively in various fields such as Paediatric & Community Nursing, Midwifery, Birth and Parenting Education, Youth Support, Management, Tertiary Education and Training and Community Services.
Additionally, she has experience in Pastoral Care, Team Building, NDIS Support, Mentoring, Trauma, Financial Support, Domestic Violence and Family Dysfunction Her diverse skillset enables her to offer comprehensive support to our clients and help them achieve their goals.
Our team is privileged to have Elizabeth as a member who brings immense value with her dedication towards supporting the wellbeing and resilience of our staff and clients. We appreciate her unwavering commitment towards making a positive impact on our community and are confident that she will continue to do so.
Wellbeing and NDIS Worker
Mel brings a genuine passion and commitment to her role with LIVEfree Project where she supports individuals as a Wellbeing and NDIS Worker. Mel works alongside families in our new Brighter Beginnings Bus program where she will support children from home to school. Mel has worked alongside LIVEfree Project for years, and was previously a facilitator for our women's Inspire group.
She has a heart for building a safe, nurturing and just community so that families can thrive irrespective of their complex circumstances - she is determined to build capacity that strengthens.
Mel has a background working across diverse community groups, she is grounded in her advocacy work in the mental health and suicide prevention spaces where she is dedicated to advocate in hard places both locally and globally.
As a long time carer, Mel uses her lived experiences to champion support and positive communication for others across systems where she sits on various committees as a Family Carer Representative more specifically in Child and Adolescent Mental Health.
Wellbeing and NDIS Worker
Susan brings a wealth of experience to her role having worked in the corporate world and charitable organisations for over 35 years.
Covering a diverse range of skills including civic and community support, mindfulness, creative therapies, NDIS support work, mental health, and disability.
Susan believes everyone deserves to be treated with dignity, respect and kindness being able to live a full and rewarding life and strives to bring positivity, inclusion and kindness to everything she does.