The Eunice Lonergan Carer Respite Grants is a program run by MHCN to provide mental health carers and families in NSW an opportunity to take a holiday break from their caring duties.

This program is with huge thanks to Eunice Lonergan, who kindly left a bequest to MHCN to provide carers and families in NSW this opportunity.

MHCN are very excited to be able to offer this opportunity to mental health carers living in NSW.

The Eunice Lonergan Carer Respite Grants will be awarded by a random draw (like a lottery).

Please check back here regularly for upcoming dates of draws (2023 draw dates coming soon).

There are eligibility requirements that people need to meet to receive a grant.

There are eligibility requirements that people need to meet to receive a grant.

Because Eunice’s will is a legal document, MHCN can’t deviate from what she has said she would like the money to be used for.

To be eligible to receive a grant, you must:

  1. Be a member of MHCN.
  2. Care for someone with a diagnosed mental illness.
  3. Live with the person you care for.
  4. Be 18 years old or above.
  5. Be a resident of NSW.

The people drawn from the lottery will need to fill in an application form and also submit the required evidence to show that they meet the eligibility criteria in the form of a statutory declaration.

MHCN will provide the applications to our Board, who must assess each application to ensure that our legal obligations are met. MHCN will then contact the applicants to let them know if the Board has approved their application or not.

If your application is successful, you will receive a voucher to the total of $1000, to use for travel and accommodation for you to take a break from caring duties.

If you have any questions about the Eunice Lonergan Carer Respite Grants, please read the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) below.

If this doesn’t address your question or concern, please contact MHCN’s Business and Organisational Support Services Manager, Laura Knight by emailing: or ringing the MHCN office on 02 9332 0777.


How do I know if I am a carer?

A carer is a family member or friend who provides unpaid support and care to a loved one experiencing a mental illness.

Some of the things you might do as a carer are:

  • Practical support – Cooking, cleaning, washing, shopping, paying bills or interpreting for a family member.
  • Emotional support – Listening, monitoring moods and behaviours, encouraging or providing a shoulder to lean on.
  • Personal support – Assisting with medication, bathing, feeding, lifting/moving, toileting or dealing with emergencies.

You don’t have to be the main person looking after or supporting someone to be considered a carer.

You don’t have to receive the Carer Payment or Carer Allowance from Centrelink to be considered a carer.

Please feel free to reach out to MHCN and have a chat with someone from the team if you are unsure if you are a carer:, or 02 9332 0777.

What are the eligibility requirements for me to enter the draw for the grants?

You must:

  • Be a member of MHCN.
  • Care for someone with a diagnosed mental illness.
  • Live with the person you care for.
  • Be 18 years old or above.
  • Be a resident of NSW.

If your name is drawn, you need to provide evidence that you meet the eligibility criteria above.

I don’t want or need a break from my caring role. If my name is drawn, can I use the money from the grant on something else?

Unfortunately, no. You will receive a voucher for Flight Centre or Webjet. The voucher needs to be spent on travel and/or accommodation for a holiday. This is because Eunice’s will is a legal document that made very clear what the bequest left to MHCN had to be spent on which needs to be adhered to.

What is the application process?

When you become a member of MHCN, you will be asked if you think you are eligible to receive a grant, based on the above eligibility criteria.

If you select ‘yes’, when MHCN runs a draw, your name will go into the draw where we will select at random the name or names of someone to receive a grant. Please only select ‘yes’ if you believe you meet all of the eligibility criteria.

MHCN will email all members who are eligible to go into the draw, when there is an upcoming draw.

  • If your name has been drawn, MHCN will contact you via email.
  • If your name has not been drawn, you won’t be contacted.

We will then give you an application form for you to fill out with your personal details and a statutory declaration. You will need to fill in the application and get someone to complete the statutory declaration, and send this to MHCN via email.

We need a statutory declaration to prove that you meet the eligibility criteria to receive the grant.

The statutory declaration would be written by someone known to you and your loved one, like a GP, psychiatrist, psychologist, etc. They can write the statutory declaration to say that they can confirm that your loved one has a diagnosis of a mental health issue, and knows that you both live together.

We don’t require or want any personal details about the person for whom you care for.

Once we have your application, we will give it to our Board. Our Board need to assess whether they believe you are eligible to receive the grant based on your application to ensure that our legal obligations are met.

They will then either approve or deny your application. MHCN will let you know of the outcome of your application regardless of the outcome.

If you are successful, MHCN will organise to provide you a travel voucher to the sum of $1000 to use to pay for your holiday (travel + accommodation).

What is a statutory declaration?

A statutory declaration (also known as a stat dec) is a written statement which a person swears, affirms or declares to be true in the presence of an authorised witness — usually a Justice of the Peace (JP), lawyer or notary public. An NSW statutory declaration is made under the Oaths Act 1900.

Why do I need to provide a statutory declaration?

A statutory declaration from a 3rd party will be required as evidence for your application. We need this to make sure that you are eligible to receive the travel voucher.

Statutory declarations are commonly used to allow a person to declare something to be true for the purposes of satisfying some legal requirement or regulation when no other evidence is available.

It is an offence to lie in a statutory declaration.

The person who needs to fill in the stat dec needs to be a 3rd party – they could be your loved one’s GP, psychiatrist, support worker, etc.

They 3rd party will have need to have seen evidence from you that your loved one has a diagnosed mental illness, and that you and your loved one live together, then fill in and sign the stat dec confirming this.

Providing a stat dec means that you do not have to provide us with any sensitive information or documents about your loved one’s diagnosis and care.

We will give you a stat dec template as part of your application, for you to use. Your application requires the stat dec, otherwise your application will be denied.

What if I am worried about providing my personal information in my application and how will it be stored?

Any information you provide such as your name, phone number, address, statutory declaration etc., will be stored securely according to the MHCN Advocacy Network Policy, and Privacy and Confidentiality Policy.

The information that is stored is password protected and can only be accessed by MHCN staff members.

How do I become a member of MHCN?

Signing up to our membership is quick and easy! You can sign up to our membership here!

Sign up today

If you don’t want to be a member of MHCN anymore, that is perfectly fine. You can let us know at any time you do not wish to be a member. However, this means that you will not be eligible for a grant.


For more information, you can visit the membership section on our website here:

Find out more

I am a member of a regional ARAFMI/MHCN branch – does that mean I am also a member of MHCN?

No, you must be a member of MHCN – however, signing up to our membership is quick and easy. You can sign up to our membership on our website here!

Sign up today

I am not sure if I am a member of MHCN or not – what do I do?

That’s okay – if you aren’t sure, you can contact MHCN and ask, at or 02 9332 0777.

I am having trouble signing up to be a member. What do I do?

That’s okay! You can contact one of MHCN’s friendly team who can help sign you up – or 02 9332 0777.

How much is awarded to each winner of a grant to spend on a holiday?

You will be awarded $1,000 in the form of a voucher from Flight Centre or Webjet to spend on travel and accommodation for a break from caring duties.

What can my travel voucher be spent on?

The voucher can only be spent on accommodation (e.g., motel, hotel, caravan park etc.) and travel (e.g., plane, bus, taxi, etc.).

All other costs associated e.g., meals, drinks, activities, must be paid for yourself. MHCN will not pay for these costs.

This is also subject to the terms and conditions of the travel voucher from Flight Centre and Webjet.

How long do I have to spend my voucher?

The gift voucher is valid for 3 years from the date of purchase.

If I don’t spend the full amount of the voucher, do I get to keep the rest of the money?

If you don’t spend the full $1000 in one go, that is okay.

You can use the remainder of the voucher for another trip, so long as it is used within 3 years of the date of purchase of the voucher.

Any unused funds on the gift card can’t be cashed out from Flight Centre or Webjet.

Do I have to use the voucher for a holiday in NSW, or can I travel nationally, or internationally?

You can use the voucher for a break in NSW, or anywhere in Australia. If you wish, you can use it to contribute to an international holiday of your choosing – subject to Flight Centre and Webjet and the options on their websites.

What if the travel and accommodation total more than the $1000 voucher?

That is okay, but you would have to pay the difference yourself.

Can I bring the person I care for on the break with me, or other family members?

Yes, you can bring the person you care for on your break with you, or other family members.

However, the main purpose of your break needs to be respite from caring activities. That means, the break should not be focused on you providing caring duties, but for you to have fun and/or relax.

If your application is accepted, we will ask that you read and sign a policy that outlines some guidelines around spending your $1000 voucher, which are in line with the legal parameters of the grant.

Additionally, at the end of your break, we will send you a short evaluation form to find out how you found your experience, and if you think the break helped.

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