Gateway Family Services

We are a community service based in the NSW Blue Mountains, providing support to vulnerable families and individuals. We offer family support and counselling services, parent education programs and supported playgroups, as well as practical & financial relief.

Following devastating bushfires in the region in 2013, we brought together workers from our local welfare and community services sector to create the Step by Step team. With funding from the then NSW Ministry for Police & Emergency Services (now NSW Office of Emergency Management) and the local Uniting Church Synod, Step by Step provided support to over 520 Blue Mountains households during 9 months of operations. We gratefully drew on the expertise of all of the Australian community workers and services that had gone before us and set benchmarks for supporting communities after disaster. The combination of their collective experience, skills and commitment to equity and justice supported us in our belief that we could meet the challenges of assisting people after the 2013 fires. We are incredibly grateful to be able to play our part in continuing our sector’s tradition of sharing knowledge, learning and wisdom for the benefit of our communities.

The Step by Step project was evaluated by the University of Newcastle who found that it was very successful in providing effective post disaster support to people impacted by the 2013 bushfires.  Walk With has been based on the Step by Step model of psycho-social support.  Step by Step Evaluation, University of Newcastle.

The Step by Step team catches up …

filmed at a reunion of the Step by Step Bushfire Support team.  The Walk With resource has been crafted from the experiences, skills and expertise of Step by Step.

Acknowledgement and thanks

As you travel through the Walk With resource, you will hear and learn from some amazing community sector workers with a wealth of first-hand experience in providing support to their communities after disaster. Their contribution to this resource cannot be underestimated and we are very grateful for their generosity in sharing their experiences and on the ground wisdom.

The people who you will meet in the Walk With courses are (in alphabetic order):

Anne Crestani – Step by Step Manager
Rachel Hannan – Step by Step Team member
Faizah Kaye – Step by Step Team member
Terese Klynhout – Finance Manager, Gateway Family Services
Eleanor Mann – Step by Step Team Leader
Ruth Myers – Step by Step Team member
Kris Newton – Manager, Mountains Community Resource Network
Eartha Odell – Blue Mountains Resident and former Step by Step Client
Kerry Thomas – Executive Officer, Gateway Family Services
Sarah U’Brien – Manager, Dungog Shire Community Centre
Peter Worboys – Step by Step Team member

*Nicola Horton and Bianca Scaramella were also valued members of the Step by Step Team but were not available to appear on the Walk With site.

The Walk With resource has been funded through the NSW Office of Emergency Management’s Community Resilience Innovation Program (CRIP).

Thank you to the University of Sydney and Associate Professor Amanda Howard for conducting and overseeing the evaluation of the Walk With program.

Much thanks and appreciation to these amazing NSW community services for your participation in the piloting of the Walk With Program.

     Social Futures Lismore                      Tamworth Family Support Service

Wollondilly Community Links                Maryland Neighbourhood Centre


Walk With Project Manager – Anne Crestani        Walk With Project Coordinator – Joanna Brown

The Walk With concept, content and resource was developed and written by Anne Crestani [email protected]


Thanks to Third Space Media and  Adam Grieve for website development and design, video production and creative expertise.