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In 1981 the first Victorian Interchange program was initiated in the inner eastern region of Melbourne. Parents and professionals, who were keen to develop an Interchange program (host family program) in the Outer Eastern suburbs, formed Interchange Outer East the following year. By the end of 1982 Interchange Outer East had its first operational host matches.

The agency continued to grow as a single host program until 1990 when, responding to the needs expressed by families, it began to develop other service options.  Since the early 1990s it has continued to grow and diversify the program and service opportunities offered to children and young adults with disabilities and their families.

From its inception, the governing body of Interchange Outer East has been primarily composed of families and volunteers involved in the service. This has ensured the agency has retained its ‘grass roots’ focus and strong cultural basis with the needs of service users always at its centre.

Major Milestones in the Growth of Interchange Outer East


  • 1982 – Interchange Outer East formed by parents, interested community members and professionals under the auspice of the Outer Eastern Residential Planning Association. Volunteer Host Carer Program commences. Annual budget $18,290
  • 1985 – Interchange Outer East becomes an Incorporated body. Annual budget $40,872


  • 1990 – School holiday programs and children’s camps become IOE services
  • 1992 – Family camp, Sibling Support program commences. Case management and Brokerage pilot service.
  • 1993 – Host Program reaches 70 matches. Social Support activities for Mums and Dads. Annual budget $193,283
  • 1994 – Youth Group, Making a Difference program and In Home Support service commence
  • 1995 – Host Program peaks at 90 matches. Young Adults program and Specialised Care service commence. Early Choice Program. Management of individual support packages
  • 1996 – Weekend program for children with ADD/ADHD
  • 1999 – Balance Program, a Futures For Young Adults (FFYA) day service for young adults commences. IOE becomes an associate member of the Outer East Primary Care Partnership


  • 2000 – Adult Recreation service commences. Interchange Outer East Op. Shop opens. Annual budget $1,334,686
2001 – New Management structure implemented. 3 pilot programs trialled through the Respite Development Project – Children’s Recreation Program, School Holiday Outreach and School Holiday Coordination.
  • 2002 – Recurrent funding for all pilot programs. Purchase of a portable for growing Balance program. Development of reference groups to assist in service planning.
  • 2003 – Balance continues to expand requiring 2 more portables. Review of Interchange Outer East undertaken by the Department of Human Service with very favourable results. IOE turns 21
  • 2004 – Balance Business Enterprises commences with 18 participants engaged in work oriented programs
  • 2005 – Inaugural IOE Sports Week and Balance Art Exhibition. Successful development and trial of ‘Do- It- Yourself Kit’. Over 170 people attend Annual Family Camp. Over 700 families in Melbourne’s outer east supported by IOE. Interchange is registered as a Homes First provider
  • 2006 – ‘Community Balance’ shopfront opens with greater focus on community involvement. Homes First grows 177% and Support & Choice grows by over 1000%. New training room built. 10 – 13 Recreation Program begins. After Work Social Program for young adults begins. High Energy and High Physical camps funded. New website launched. IOE Volunteer Coordinator, Tara Cantwell, presents at International Respite Conference in Paris. SHARP partnership formed between IOE, Scope, ERLS and EACH. Annual budget $4,622,461
  • 2007 – Completion of family survey with positive feedback on service quality. St. George Foundation, Clayton Utz and Jack Brockoff Foundation continue their support. Outdoor Education Program conducted by Balance. Teenage sibling group formed. Principles of Person Centred Planning embraced with regard to Interchange programs and services. Good 2 Great training undertaken
  • 2008 – St. George funded camping program for children with disabilities and their siblings begins. Development of Balance ‘Link’ in Bayswater. 10 year plan for Interchange developed. Good to Great process begins. Advanced volunteer program begins
  • 2009 – New ‘Balance Network’ program based in Lilydale. St. George Foundation funds 5 for camps for children with disabilities and their siblings. Over 1000 families are registered with IOE


  • 2010 – Freemasons commit to financially supporting the sibling program for the next 3 years. IOE website redevelopment. First Interchange Outer East Conference held over 2 days. Introduction of Human Rights position into the agency. MELMI (Melbourne Milan) exchange project initiated.
  • 2011 – New Community Connections position created at IOE, Interchange publishes the first edition of Bayswater Buzz. MelMi exchange continues with a trip to Italy.
  • 2012 – New Communication Support Coordinator position and iPad services introduced to the agency. IOE celebrates its 30th birthday. Strategic Plan developed with restructure to refocus on children’s services finalised. ‘Keeping It Real’ IOE’s 2nd Conference a success. New applications for services re opened after 5 year closure. Interchange Outer East receives certification under the Disability Standards. Annual budget $8,314,700
  • 2013 – Activ8 program launched which will assist children in the Shire of Yarra Ranges to access community groups and activities. Community through individualism program launched which enables people to access support collectively using peer support and sharing support workers. Brand refresh and an update of the look of the Website and publications. Two external quality Audits conducted – Satisfaction Rate of 84%. Introduced second Family Camp to provide opportunities for new families to experience a family camp. Adult services become more deliberate and focused on the supports they provide including development of the ‘Futures – school leavers program’ and a stronger focus on individual solutions.
  • 2014 – Interchange was a participant of The Crunch developed by Social Traders and designed to enable individuals and groups to develop a Social Enterprise. The ‘Friends of IOE’ program was launched to enable people to support IOE’s mission and to raise money to maintain Family Support services. Freemasons Victoria led by the Monash Gully District continue to support the Sibling Support Program providing $20,000 for the ongoing provision and development of the service. Activ8 continue to develop new options with the Woori Yallock after school program, and Sports 4 fun program at Knox. 3rd Interchange Conference held at Burringa. Annual Budget $9445,446
  • 2015 – Baby boom as several staff provide future volunteers for the agency. Activ8 adds a Sports 4 Fun program and a Youth Hangout in the Upper Yarra Valley. Dads Support group re-energized and re-vitalized to include regular monthly activities.  Development of a Mens Shed at IOE, Freemasons continue their support of Sibling Support. Fundraising Officer, Quality Coordinator and Intake positions developed. Youth week festival conducted at Bayswater Park, planned and conducted by IOE volunteers. New Strategic Plan developed with the aim of growing the agency over the next few years.
  • 2016 – Agency works to prepare for the NDIS. Parent Support Network added to Interchange Family Support Services. Restructured Family Support with PSN services, Grandparent Carers and plans for pre-school programs. Mums Support program expanded. Quality Audit undertaken. Further development of the Yarra Valley hub at Yarra Junction with the set up of Yarraburn as an office. Waiting list addressed with many new families joining IOE. Atlha exchange visits in Australia and Italy during this year. Overseas holiday opportunities continue for adults. New partnership with the St Kilda Mums project. Partnership with Freemasons and Sibling Support strengthened and further developed. Partnership with Lions developed to conduct and support Family Camps. 4th Interchange Conference in October. Annual budget $10,460,000

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