Five families in need of a well-deserved break recently had some time away in Portsea to relax, reconnect and recharge.
VMCH’s Home and Community Care Program for Younger People (HACC PYP) project received funding to provide weekends away for carers and families in Melbourne’s east who are not NDIS participants.
Diane Gow, VMCH Project Officer Lifestyle & Respite said the five families and two disability support workers, stayed for two nights at the Portsea Village resort where each family had their own apartment.
“Most of the families had family member/s with ASD, depression and anxiety, other disabilities and health issues, and all the families needed a well-deserved break from multiple day-to-day challenges.”
Diane said the weekend was filled with activities, including time spent in the swimming pool and spa, beach walks and enjoying the local coffee shops and markets. The group also indulged in massages at the resort followed by an afternoon at Pennisula Hot Springs.
With shared experiences of either having a family member living with or themselves living with disability, Diane said the group was able to form close bonds with each other.
“Everyone came from a similar background and experiences and understood each other’s journey. Many of the families had not had a holiday for many years or experienced time away with friends.
“They were all just so glad to get away, and many of the participants commented that it was the break that they all needed, they were able to relax, and it was nice to find like-minded friends after usually feeling so isolated.”
Diane said there are many long-term benefits of programs such as the weekend away including the tendency for the participants to maintain contact with at least one other family.
“We’ve also found that the families plan to enjoy regular time together, which is great.
“It has also inspired families to go away again independently and to feel less socially isolated and more confident to try new activities.
“It also gave carers the chance to talk with workers and link in with resources and information which can help them to build more connections and supports.
“We’ve got two more weekends planned, and we can’t wait!”
If you live in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs and would like more information about HACC PYP, contact Diane Gow, VMCH Project Officer on 0412 535 435.