With the opening of the Bendigo office, Very Special Kids will be able to increase services to families including counselling for children, parents and siblings, group therapy programs, bereavement support and increased access to Very Special Kids Hospice in Melbourne for respite and end-of-life care.
Very Special Kids currently supports 27 families in the Greater Bendigo community; however, these families are currently serviced remotely from an office in Ballarat. Very Special Kids also hope to reach more families in the region and estimate there could be as many as 30 additional families in Greater Bendigo in need of their unique services.
The new office has been made possible through a generous grant from Gandel Foundation of $180,000 over three years, as well as funds raised by the Bendigo Tour of Tasmania cycling group.
Vedran Drakulic, Gandel Foundation Chief Executive Officer, said living in a regional centre should not prevent families from accessing such vital support.
“Very Special Kids is unique in supporting Victorian families to navigate their child’s life threatening condition and recovery, and in some instances cope with bereavement. It is also great to see there is really strong local support that ensured the Bendigo Office became a reality.”
The Bendigo Tour of Tasmania cycling group raised more than $120,000 in February 2016 by riding 815 kilometres around the Apple Isle. Andy Hoare, a member of the cycling group, said it was fantastic to be able to support their community through the ride.
“We chose to raise funds for Very Special Kids in the hope of supporting the families in our community that need this care. These families face many challenges and we feel honoured to have been able to help them.”
Very Special Kids will need continued support from the community to secure a long-term future for the office, and offer its services in Bendigo for many years to come.
To read more go to www.vsk.org.au