‘Again another wonderful weekend away – child free therefore stress-free!  Thank you for all the behind-the-scenes planning and negotiating and prioritizing so our mums can have that so desperately deserved TLC luxury break away.

I think on the whole it equates to mission impossible:  trying to please  50 women !!!  However on behalf of the silent majority (some so overworked they could not find time to send a thank you)  whole-heartedly thank you!  Some of us simply hurtle through the merry-go-round of life – dreaming of the next IOE Mums escape weekends!  Roll on 2019!’

‘Woohoo, the weekend was awesome l am so grateful to be included and to be able to enjoy good company and a great venue l would otherwise not be able to afford plus a beautiful beachside location. Thank you so much.’

‘Fabulous weekend. I haven’t felt so relaxed (and understood!) for a very long time. The break was so needed and so appreciated.’

‘It was so much fun! Such a great bunch of chickie babes!’

Some of the feedback received after our recent annual Mothers Group weekend away.

This year we headed to the Mantra in Lorne. A perfect place to relax and unwind, which really is the main purpose of the annual break.

Lots of time to chillout, to walk and explore, to enjoy the luxury of browsing the shops child free,or just sit on the beach or in a cafe and chat. Simple everyday things for many but cherished opportunities for most of the ladies in the Mums group.  No having to look after anyone but themselves, definitely no cooking or cleaning, just eating and drinking and enjoying the fruits of others’ labours for a change. An added bonus was that the weather was perfect!

The more energetic took advantage of Mantra’s gym and indoor pool. On the Saturday afternoon we took a small group to a local sculpture park, then on to the magnificent Erskine falls – the 260+ steps to the bottom and then up again were well worth the considerable effort, as the falls were even more spectacular when viewed from their base. Final stop was Terry’s lookout with a superb overview of the ocean and the Great Ocean road.

Saturday night following dinner it was time for fun and games as our entertainment facilitators, Sarah and Ryan from Misfit Project, had us role playing individually and in ‘table teams’, dressing up, being silly and having loads of laughs. Great fun!

On the Saturday night Ryan asked ‘Stand up if this is your only weekend away in a year’  and quite a number of the ladies present stood up. Testimony to the value of the respite breaks and opportunities offered through IOE’s family support programs.

Relaxation, fun, socialisation, inclusion, support and understanding – the weekend had those and more to the max.





In response to a number of requests IOE’s communication guru, Bec, has put together a calendar template to help families organise the busy summer holiday break. The lack of routine and the unpredictability associated with the break can be unsettling for some children and confusing for their hassled parents. The calendar will give a visual cue as to who is where and what is happening. It has been created in Powerpoint, which is readily available on the majority of computers and devices.

Bec has provided a few of the most commonly used icons/pictures at the side of the calendar. Simply drag or copy and paste these across to the calendar days to create your own schedule. You can customise your calendar by adding extra pictures of people or places of your own eg. Grandpa’s house can be changed to a picture of someone else, whether it’s grandparents, aunts, uncles or a support person, whoever the child will be staying with for the day, overnight or extended period of time. Just drag or copy and paste your images onto the calendar, resize and reposition them to the correct days. When you’ve finished print the finished pages, stick them on your fridge or wall and your holiday schedule is clearly there for all to see!

The calendar has been designed to be printed A3, but it also prints well as A4, if an A3 printer is not available.

The first couple of pages of the template are an example of how the calendar can be used. Please note the school term dates are not necessarily correct as these will depend on the school attended. A blank calendar (December and January) follows, ready for you to create you own version. Voila! An organised, easy to follow, hassle free look at what is happening over the holiday break , keeping everyone happy.

You could even get creative and modify the template for use throughout the rest of the year.

The images Bec has used are from Boardmaker. If you would like more like these, or require a bit of help with how to use the calendar, please contact her on 97585522 or



Keep up-to-date. Read the latest news from IOE with the November edition of our monthly enewsletter.


Head to Chesterfield Farm with IOE for a fabulous fun evening to celebrate the end of 2018 and the start of the festive season.

Save the date and time! Saturday 8 December 5pm-8pm

It’s after the usual closing time so the farm will be just for us to enjoy. As well as all the animals, big and small, there will be special face painting, jumping castle, balloon creations, games and activities, including the famous tractor ride around the farm. Of course Santa will be there for ‘sensitive’ Santa Christmas photos (numbers limited).

EVERYONE IS WELCOME  Families – waiting for services, fully or partially registered with us – all families ; volunteers; staff and their families.


Registration is essential; online or contact IOE 97585522 or  And … remember to notify us of any dietary requirements for the BBQ.



After a bit of a break our support program for Grandparent Carers is up and running again.

Being a grandparent and caring for someone with a disability is a demanding double role and comes with unique challenges. IOE’s Grandparent Carer Program’s offers support by providing opportunities for older carers to socialise, network and share experiences with others in a similar care situation.

So … come along for a chat, a cuppa and a game of lawn bowls at the Yarra Junction Bowling Club on Wednesday 14 November from 10am – 12 noon. For $5 you’ll get a game of bowls plus a delicious morning tea.

Then, dig out those Christmas earrings and get ready to ho ho ho at the fabulous Zonzo Estate winery in the beautiful Yarra Valley on Wednesday 5 December from 12.30pm-2.30pm. Eat wood fired pizza, slow roasted lamb, potatoes and salad while taking in the stunning surrounds of the estate. All for just $25. What better way to celebrate Christmas and the end of the year!

Planning is already underway for next year and, starting in February, a re-vitalised program will bring even more interesting and relaxing outings to give our grandparent carers a welcome break and some time for themselves.

Take a look at the flyers for the remainder of the year’s activities, share them with others and don’t forget to rsvp to IOE 9758 5522 or  Anyone who is a grandparent and caring for someone with a disability can join in the fun.


Where would IOE’s Siblings Program be without the generosity of Freemasonary. Certainly it would not be flourishing and providing the support to so many siblings in the way that it now does.

Once again Freemasons Victoria and Freemasons Monash Gully  have come to the fore and today presented IOE with a cheque for an incredibly generous $50000, ensuring the continuity of our Sibling Program for the coming year.

The need for support for siblings is increasingly obvious with all IOE’s sibling activities and camps fully booked well ahead of time. Today’s substantially increased funding from Freemasons will allow the program to expand, offering more opportunities to even more siblings of people with disabilities.

At today’s morning tea and presentation, Cath and Jodi, whose children access the sibling program, described the difference  being involved in the program has made to the lives of their children and their families as a whole – how much positive support, friendship and enjoyment their children have derived from getting together with other siblings who understand their situation. It was a message well understood by Freemasons who have continued their support of siblings for the past nine years!

Thank you to Freemasons Foundation Victoria and Freemasons Monash Gully for sharing our vision and our passion for the Sibs Program. Thank you for your tremendous fundraising efforts. We are incredibly grateful for your support!

Take a look at our Sibs video – none of this would be possible without the support of our good friends at Freemasons.


Keep up-to-date. Read the latest news from IOE with the October edition of our monthly enewsletter.


The past year has presented plenty of challenges and surprises. Overall, with most families now transitioned to the NDIS, we are satisfied with the way in which we, as a community, have responded and adjusted to the new and still developing systems and requirements. Whilst this has been a far from smooth process, the ability and capacity of the to adapt and develop new processes has been the silver lining.

We invite all members of the IOE community to join us at the agency’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) where we will discuss the year’s challenges and successes, hand down the 2017-18 Annual Report and elect the Board of Management for the coming year.

When: Tuesday 30 October from 7pm onwards
Where: IOE Keith Thornton Room  5-7 Yose Street Ferntree Gully
RSVP: to IOE 97585522  or email
Supper provided so please advise any dietary requirements.

The AGM is an opportunity to learn more about the inner workings of the agency, to meet the Board of Management and to be further involved in what is a wonderfully supportive and welcoming community.

All welcome! 

Fred Brumhead   CEO Interchange Outer East