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




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



2020 AND BEYOND ,,,

Alexander Pope: “to err is human, to forgive divine …”   I have been pondering how we are traveling along the road of good intention as poetically described by Mr Pope in the 17th century. Sometimes I think we live in a world that demands accuracy and we are becoming less tolerant of people making mistakes. Yet at other times we accept people choosing not to err but to downright lie and not seek forgiveness but perpetrate the myth…and getting away with it, and still being supported!

We live in a technological age that can check for accuracy. Now while sport is a game, there is this focus on ensuring that human error is eliminated. VAR, DRS, Goal review systems and other technologies are introduced to ensure that truth prevails in sport. This is technology trying to turn art into science … colour by numbers rather than accepting the imagination and interpretation of the person doing the drawing. I yearn for the much loved dodgy decisions made by people in sport. It may affect a moment in time but it all works out in the wash. “Analogue” decision makers (aka people) can be creative, have a bit of fun, and even do a little good. I remember an umpire giving a free kick to a kid in a football game for absolutely no reason except that he hadn’t had a kick and his opponent was too good.

At the same time we demand accuracy in sporting decisions, we accept and support leaders who tell lies, perpetuate myths, claim fake news and even attack young people who have the temerity to say … hey its getting a bit wild in the climate area – why don’t you do something? Are we too focused on achieving divinity that we just accept our leaders talking tripe and forgive them? Is world leadership and diplomacy not as important as Carlton being given a goal when it hit the post? Do we hold a goal umpire more accountable than the so called leader of the free world? Where is the technology holding elected bullies to account?

As much as some would like a technological solution (I don’t) for the worlds “errs” it will always be imperfect. Humans will make errors. Interchange aims to offer a human service that gets it right most of the time, however if we were to aim to totally eliminate errors, it would only serve to eliminate service, creativity, flexibility and humanity from the agency. I want Interchange to give a dodgy free kick here and there. Moving into 2020 we will make mistakes, we will own our “errs” and continue to improve.

My only hope is that our world leaders will own their “errs”

I wish all a great holiday period and a happy new year.




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





Christmas is a time for family, for friends and for thinking of others. That means it is Christmas every day of the year at the St. Kilda Mums NFP, which distributes cleaned and recycled baby and children’s goods to families in need.  Interchange Outer East is proud to have been associated with this amazing organisation for yet another year, with our adult service participants working passionately on getting goods ready for redistribution for SKM.

Matt Howard, IOE Boronia Day Services Coordinator writes:

‘To celebrate another year, I just wanted to send out a special message in regards to the connection that Interchange Outer East has with the St Kilda Mums (SKM) organisation.

As most of you are aware we have had a successful partnership with this wonderful organisation for almost four years now. I have been fortunate enough to be a part of the program throughout, first as a program worker and today, as the program coordinator, I went out to see the new St Kilda Mums headquarters in Clayton. Wow, what a great set-up. SKM has come a long way in the last decade and the Clayton premises will ensure this amazing community service will continue for years to come.

I am writing this to share how proud I am of our groups for the huge progress they have made over the past several years. After speaking with Felicity (operations manager) and Jessica (CEO/Founder) at SKM today its incredible how much this program has been valued and continues to be valued, not to mention all the skills our participants continue to develop whilst engaged in this program.

I would like to acknowledge and thank all IOE staff who have shared involvement with this program over the years. We truly appreciate everybody’s ongoing support.’

To which Felicity Schafter, Adult Program Intensives and Prep4Work Coordinator, added:

‘St Kilda Mums has been a huge success in so very many ways – we have had participants from all the day service sites as well at students form Eastern Ranges School, the SLES guys and a multitude of other participants and volunteers pass through SKM,  learning valuable skills, taking pride in their work and knowing they are contributing positively to the lives of families and parents of young children who are facing  significant challenges.

As we  acknowledge this amazing connection over the past four years, I think special thanks need to go to IOE’s Cathy Handy  – who along with myself headed out to meet Jessie (SKM’s CEO) for the very first time all those years ago to discuss how we could make this relationship work.  That’s when we asked the question of how we could help them and be of service.

Special thanks must also go to IOE’s Sara Alcorn and Shelly Stevens (along with their amazing volunteers) who have worked so hard and driven this program in recent years. The passion and commitment they have shown to growing this relationship is invaluable and ongoing. From small beginnings the SKM and IOE relationship has continued to expand and flourish  – thanks to all who have spread the word, donated time, donated baby and children’s goods and  overall been supporters of this program. You are awesome!’

A valuable and mutually rewarding partnership which we intend to nurture for years to come. Keep spreading that Christmas cheer throughout the coming year!


With our ability to now utilise our Carer Support Program’s Department of Home and Community Care funding to fund some of our other family support programs, IOE needs to be compliant with the funding guidelines.  To this end, we now need to change our current access system for parents and carers using these support services.

As of the 1st January 2020 anyone accessing family support services is required to enrol before participating in any of these services.

Completing the Family Support Enrolment Form is considered a partial registration and does NOT provide access to other program areas where a full registration is required. It provides IOE with your contact details, evidence of your carer status and your goals when accessing family support programs. The online form is secure and all information collected is confidential and kept in accordance with IOE’s information privacy and record keeping policies.

Unfortunately, even if you are currently registered with IOE and we already have many of your details, we still require you to complete this new form. Previously we have   focused mainly on collecting good information about the participants we provide direct support to and have not included detailed information about carers. HACC requirements mean we now need to collect more information about carers, hence the need for the form to be completed.

Completing the form is an indication of interest in family support programs and only carers/parents who complete the form will receive the relevant information about programs and will  be able to access activities.

We understand that this can be a frustrating process and thank you in advance for your time. IOE values the importance of the carer support programs, and looks forward to providing great opportunities for carers in 2020.

If you require assistance to complete the form, please contact the Family Support Team on 9758 5522 or email

We also welcome any feedback or suggestions for future family support activities.



Interchange Outer East is proud to announce its newest initiative in support – the IOE Mentoring Program.

Mentoring programs have played an important role in community groups and services for many years. Mentoring traditionally aims to support people to build skills and improve wellbeing through the support, input and assistance of another person, who has a range of skills, knowledge and experience. Essentially, it is the ability and capacity to match one person with another, creating a positive relationship that brings value to both sides of the match.

As a registered NDIS provider with over 35 years experience in supporting children and young adults with disability and their families, IOE is well placed to extend its support into the area of mentoring. The mentoring of a young person with a disability by an older person creates the potential to build a relationship with another adult who is not a family member, and who can support the younger person to build skills, build relationships, have new experiences and discuss daily life. IOE’s Mentoring program is goal focused and outcome based.

For young people, relationships are everything. They need to feel liked, to receive attention and to live within limits and boundaries. But above all, young people need to feel valued and respected. A mentor relationship has the capacity and ability to provide this support.

IOE has had many years experience in engaging with community and recruiting community members for our programs and services supporting children and young people with disabilities. Programs such as the host program, specialised care, flexible care and recreation volunteers have been integral parts of this history.
The skills and aptitude IOE has developed in recruitment, matching, supporting and developing people from the community to work effectively with people with disabilities and their families will be readily transferable to this mentoring initiative.

The Mentoring Program can be funded using the mentee’s NDIS plan – for more information  see examples of mentoring arrangements and funding in the Mentoring Program flyer.


• Careful 1:1 matching of a young person with a disability (mentee) to a young person from their community (mentor).
• A commitment of 8 to 20 hours per month over a one year period is made by both the family, the mentee and the chosen mentor.
• A set of goals is identified for the match which is progressed through the year. Goals will be discussed with input from the mentee’s family and allied health professionals.
• The purpose of this program is to build on individualised goals for mentees and to provide a service that can build on previously identified goals by mental health professionals.
• Periodic review of each mentoring relationship undertaken by the program coordinator with input from all parties; the mentee, their family, the mentor and other support staff.


To kickstart the matching process, complete the online form: (for participants NOT registered with IOE)
For more information, or for participants who ARE registered with IOE, contact Michaela or Daniel on 9758 5522 or


Take a read of the summer edition of the quarterly eNews for IOE Support Workers with information, news, ideas and handy hints for the holiday period.