Future secured for Very Special Kids Hospice

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The future of the Very Special Kids Children’s Hospice in Malvern has been secured with the purchase of the Crown Estate comprising the land and the two hospice buildings.

Minister for Regional Development Fiona Nash said the Australian Government is committed to supporting regional health services to ensure patients and their families have access to the highest quality service.

“By supporting the hospice to secure this land, around $300,000 will be saved each year in rent, allowing those funds to be reallocated into providing more family support staff in the community,” Minister Nash said.

Minister for Health Greg Hunt and Federal Member for Higgins Kelly O’Dwyer who joined the Malvern community for today’s announcement said securing this property marks a crucial step towards the continued success of the hospice.

Minister O’Dwyer said the Very Special Kids Hospice provides specialised respite care for children and provided their families with the support they need while dealing with disability, major illnesses, and end-of-life care.

“Dealing with ongoing illness and terminally-ill loved ones is often the most challenging thing we face in life, particularly when children are involved. The hospice makes it possible for families to take a break when needed, knowing the right support is in place for them to do so,” Minister O’Dwyer said.

“Up to 950 families access the short-term accommodation onsite every year to be close by while their child is staying at the hospice. This support will only be strengthened by the announcement of the land purchase today.”

Minister Hunt said the Hospice offers a wide range of programs that make a huge difference in the children’s lives including music and art therapy which enables expression without the necessity of speech or hearing.

“The multi-sensory room provides a stimulating yet calm atmosphere for children with disabilities featuring a waterbed, a bubble lamp, many interactive lights and soft play areas,” Minister Hunt said.

“School holiday programs and mates weekends offer activities and interaction for children with life-threatening or physical challenges in a safe and controlled environment.”

Very Special Kids Chairman Peter Polson said he is delighted the capital funding will secure the long-term future of Very Special Kids Hospice.

“It’s a very pleasing result after two years of negotiations with both levels of government. After receiving a critical funding pledge from the Australian Government in 2015, the announcement that Victoria’s Minister for Health has pledged support is the final piece in the puzzle to safeguard this critically important children’s service,” Mr Polson said.

“This capital funding secures our physical location and allows us to focus on raising the $7.5 million of operational funding each year it costs to deliver our services.”

This project was jointly funded by the Australian Government ($4 milllion), Victorian Government ($2.75 million) and the Very Special Kids Hospice ($250,000).