Very Special Kids will be able to provide better support to children with complex medical needs with the help of the Coalition Government providing a $7.5 million Commonwealth grant to upgrade its Malvern hospice.
The children’s charity will use the grant to demolish its existing hospice and build a world-class facility in its place, allowing the charity to accommodate children with more complex medical conditions.
Minister for Health, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, said the Government would fund the $7.5 million grant in the 2018-19 Financial Year, enabling Very Special Kids to upgrade its facilities to meet changing needs.
“The children cared for by Very Special Kids today require more clinical technologies and equipment than when the hospice first opened in 1996,” Minister Hunt said.
“This upgrade will ensure the facility has the right technology to provide the best possible care to these children.”
Very Special Kids was established in 1985. Its hospice is the only children’s hospice in Victoria which offers families access to planned and emergency respite, as well as end-of-life care. The charity helps up to 900 families across Victoria each year.
Minister for Jobs and Industrial Relations, the Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP, said the upgrade was required to meet Very Special Kids’ requirements in 2019 and beyond.
“The hospice has supported families for more than 20 years and it has never undergone any renovation or received any medical upgrade in that time,” Minister O’Dwyer said.
“Very Special Kids does the work of angels. 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 and care is in place for them and their children.”
“With almost 1,000 truly amazing volunteers, Very Special Kids is an integral part of our community.”
Liberal candidate for Higgins, Katie Allen, is a doctor and medical researcher who has spent the past 25 years working as a paediatrician at the Royal Children’s Hospital and as a medical researcher at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute.
Katie Allen said the upgrade will allow for life-extending therapies to be delivered during respite stays such as physio, occupational therapy, music, art and hydro-therapy.
“This is such an important upgrade for families in our community and across Victoria,” she said.
“It’s vital that our Government enables Very Special Kids to provide the best possible care to these gorgeous children and their loving families.”
The announcement follows an earlier $4 million Commonwealth grant which enabled Very Special Kids to permanently secure its home in Glenferrie Road, Malvern.
There will be arrangements in place to ensure Very Special Kids can continue to assist families during the rebuild.