IOE’s recreation programs are undergoing some important changes. We are streamlining the forms and application processes for both children’s and adults’ recreation programs to improve communication and transparency and generally make it easier for families to plan.

Three month blocks:

Children’s and adults’ recreation programs will now be planned, advertised and activities allocated every three months instead of six monthly. New program blocks will coincide with the seasons – spring, summer, winter and autumn. Click the link for our guide to application and allocation dates for 2018-1019.

School Holiday Program

The School Holiday Program will now be included in each program block instead of being advertised separately. For example, the Spring Program, available this coming Monday 16 July, will list all recreation activities for September, October and November 2018 and will also include the school holiday program for September.

Cost breakdown

The cost breakdown will be clearly displayed for each advertised activity and will include the actual activity costs as well as the NDIS support costs. The reason for this is to provide families with an understanding of the actual costs involved in recreation programs and to familiarise them with the change to program expenses that will be incurred under full NDIS costing.

  • ACTIVITY COSTS – These are the out of pocket expenses relating to the activity such as ticket costs, accommodation, food, transport etc. These costs have been broken into standard costs which are $15 for day and evening activities and $120 for weekend camps as well as customised costs for those activities that are more expensive.
  • NDIS SUPPORT COSTS – These cover the cost of the support worker and all related planning and overhead costs related to supporting a participant throughout an activity and are determined by the NDIS price guide

Currently IOE is not charging the NDIS rate for many of our recreation programs, as we are still receiving HACC funding to run these programs. However, as of 31st January 2019, Interchange Outer East will no longer receive HACC funding to run our recreation programs. This will mean that participants will be required to use their NDIS plan funding to participate in all recreation programs. Please use the costing breakdown information we are providing to ensure that your NDIS plan will cover the amount of camps and activities you are hoping to access over the next 12 months.

If you are currently using your NDIS plan, please ensure that you have the funds to pay for camps and activities that you are applying for. Families will be invoiced directly for any costs IOE incurs where a plan may have overspent and funds are not available.

If you have any questions about the recreation programs changes, costs or application process, please contact IOE on 97585522 or email


Victoria Day award for Thomas


Congratulations to Thomas Edwards on his well-deserved Victoria Day award.

Thomas has been a regular volunteer with IOE’s recreation programs for the past two plus years. He gives an amazing amount of time and energy to the program and is a frequent volunteer on many of the weekend and holiday camps and activities.

Thomas was presented with his 2018 Ferntree Gully Electorate – Victoria Day award on Friday, 29 June by Nick Wakeling MP for Ferntree Gully, and Kim Wells MP for Rowville. Not only was he a successful recipient, at the age 17, he was also the youngest person to win the award!

Volunteer Coordinator, Jess, says “We are delighted Thomas has received this award as he is a fantastic volunteer. We are always getting great feedback about how wonderful Thomas is with all the kids. As well as being engaging and heaps of fun he has a kind, caring and nurturing nature – quite exceptional for someone so young. He is also a favourite with all the other volunteers and is always happy to pitch in and help out whenever he can.”

Thomas has now taken on an additional role with his volunteering and is involved in the Volunteers with Disability Leadership Program which is a joint initiative of IOE, Different Journeys, The Misfit Project and Beyond the Book Therapy Services. He has approached this initiative with his usual enthusiasm and, working together with another volunteer, has organised their first recreation activity which is due to begin next week.

Commenting on the award presentation Nick Wakeling praised Thomas saying “… he is a very worthy winner.”

Well done Thomas from all at IOE

Jenny Tomlin


Interchange Outer East is excited to have formed a partnership with Araluen to provide housing coordination in the outer east. Araluen is a disability support service operating in Melbourne’s north east regions. As a prime part of their service Araluen’s dedicated housing support officer has been using his expertise to assist people with disabilities to investigate housing options to suit their needs.

Jenny Tomlin has now taken on the role of coordinator for our region and is based at IOE’s Yose St premises, two days per week. Jenny has an extensive history in the disability sector, including working for Uniting Harrison for the past seventeen years in the role of General Manager Disability Services. Jenny had management responsibility for the 20 week Genesis Independent Living Skills Program and the 1:1 Outreach Program, both of which focused on providing support to individuals to enhance the development of maximum independence at home and in the community. Jenny is also the co-founder and steering group member of Knox’s Eastern Disability Housing Network (EDHN) which provides valuable information on current disability housing issues to families and individuals.

With the move to the NDIS and the ability to include housing coordination and support in individual plans, there has been a rise in awareness of the need for housing options for people with disability. Jenny is working with those who want to move on to more independent lives with their housing pathways, identifying their needs, planning their path, identifying possible options, and supporting them to achieve their housing goals.

Jenny says ‘The demand is huge. It’s still early days but with an increased awareness of the need for all forms of housing options we are slowly starting to see steps towards addressing the issues. I have hope that there will be increased momentum over the next few years. In the meantime we can continue to look at what is available and help people to plan for more independent living options.’

If you would like Jenny to work with you to plan your housing path or explore housing options, or if you would like more information about housing support coordination Jenny would love to hear from you. She can be contacted at

Local Hero Grant Application –  support needed

Jenny has had some very welcome news. On behalf of EDHN, she applied for funding via the Westfield Local Heroes grant scheme to develop a housing resource booklet for people with a disability, plus a housing app for the phone. She recently received notification that their grant project is one of the six finalists, with the final 3 winning submissions being selected via a community voting system. If successful, receipt of the $10000 grant will enable the production of EDHN’s important housing resources.

Jenny is seeking our community’s support of their project. To vote click on the following link

Voting closes July 1 2018.

Araluen logo


Boys2Men is a new initiative by Interchange Outer East which aims to provide a safe and supported place for young males with a disability to explore who they are, the men they want to become, and to gain tools to further them on their path towards becoming good men.

The program is targeted at males aged 14 – 24 years and will run over a six month period, starting July 2018. It will be staffed by two regular male staff members who will call on the expertise of others, as required, when presenting particular topics. The course will be run over weekends and on weeknights.

For participants with NDIS funding, the individual out of pocket cost of the Boys2Men course will be $350, with the remainder able to be invoiced to their plan under Core Funding/Capacity Building. For non-NDIS participants the all-inclusive cost will be $6749.18.

The program has been established to address a need for supporting young males with a disability to have the opportunity to spend time with other males on a regular basis, work towards achieving and experiencing new skills and to explore and discuss relevant and contemporary topics about being a male with other young males and older male mentors.

The course content will be delivered with fun and challenging activities through which a narrative about key discussion areas / themes for the month will be woven. Participants will learn about:

• What it is to be a man
• Coping with anger
• Building better relationships with those around you
• Dealing with peer pressure
• Resilience skills
• Mental Health
• Sexuality

In addition Boys2Men will present a series of challenges and life skills to participants through which they can work to address anxiety and feelings of competency over every-day tasks. This may involve such things as sewing on a button, buying a meal, learning to give compliments, changing a tyre etc. Each participant will have a journal which documents their journey, achievements and areas for further exploration. This will be completed by the staff members and participants.

Applications to Erin Weegberg 97585522 or email

Applications close Monday 2 July 2018

For more information


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



As school holidays loom it’s time to start thinking about how we are going to entertain the kids for two weeks in this wintery weather. Melbourne is the world’s most livable city (again!), but it’s not always easy to find accessible, sensory sensitive or inclusive options for our kids. So we’ve put in some of the ground work to bring you the top five accessible activities for your kids these July school holidays!

1. Visit Wonderland – low sensory exhibition – Sunday 15 July 2018

You might have to wait until the last day of school holidays to take advantage of the low sensory opportunity, but it will be worth the wait! Follow Alice’s journey through Wonderland and through the decades that this timeless story has spanned. The exhibition is open now until October, with only one sensory friendly session remaining – Sunday 15 July. The sensory friendly session include a dedicated quiet zone, lowered sound and light stimulation, and fewer visitors in the exhibition at once. Check the ACMI website closer to the date for a pre-planning social script developed in consultation with Amaze. Ensure you book to avoid disappointment! Bookings:

2. All 4 Mess – Super messy sensory fun for everyone!

All 4 Mess is the perfect place for children of all ages to enjoy messy and creative sensory play. With 90 minutes to paint, squelch, rub, splash, squeeze and splat, kids are sure to get their sensory fix for the day. There is one session per day from 10am to 12pm and sessions are just $15 per child. Sessions can be booked out for larger groups, so get the gang together and book today! Accessible and inclusive All 4 Mess is suitable for wheelchairs and includes a wheelchair accessible bathroom. Bookings:

3. Viri VR – A special treat for the tech lovers!

Viri VR is Melbourne’s most immersive virtual reality experience. It’s a bit on the pricey side (around $20-$50 depending on the experiences you choose) and not suitable for people with epilepsy, but for lovers of tech and gaming, it could definitely get you some serious school holiday brownie points! Choose from defending your castle in virtual reality archery, car racing, 15 different games in a private booth, or for the thrill seekers – The Plank. Most games are suitable for people using wheelchairs. Bookings are preferred:

4. Pauline Gandel Children’s Gallery at the Melbourne Museum

A kooky and quirky space for discovery for children of all ages. There’s space to climb, crawl, balance, build, discover and touch, as well as a great outside area featuring dinosaurs and water play. The Pauline Gandel Children’s Gallery could keep the kids entertained for the morning, but don’t forget that the older kids (and adults!) have the whole museum to explore too! The museum is open every day and admission is free for kids and concession holders and just $15 for adults – making it an affordable full day out for the whole family. Find out more and see the social story:

5. Melbourne Magic Festival – with ‘Magic in the Dark’ thanks to Vision Australia

The Melbourne Magic Festival casts its spell across Melbourne from 2 to 14 July with 65 different shows including top international guest magicians from all over the world! There are dozens of shows and workshops for all ages, including The Kids Magic Gala, Tim Credible’s Family Magic Show and Magic School, and Playdate with Silly Billy. For the ultimate accessible and inclusive sensory experience you’ll never forget, why not check out Magic in the Dark (for adults and older children 8-10+ years)! Magic in the Dark, a show developed for vision impaired people, is the only magic show worldwide that takes place in absolute darkness – and it’s in Australia for the very first time! Sighted people will be asked to wear blindfolds, as does the performer, Juan Esteban Varela. ‘Magic In the Dark invites the public to witness the possibility to be astonished and live magic without using their sight, participating in an experience that allows them to activate the intellect, fantasy and emotion.’ All venues are wheelchair accessible (booking form required: and all shows accept companion cards. Find out what’s on at the Melbourne Magic Festival here:


The volunteering scene has been a busy one this year at Interchange Outer East.

Volunteers continue to play a vital role in all our recreation programs for children. The majority of programs match children and volunteers on a 1:1 basis, providing children (and volunteers) with the maximum interaction and maximum fun in a safe and supervised environment.

Placement students and volunteers also play an important part in our adult services, particularly in regards to the post school service. As well as assisting with the running of the programs they bring a diverse range of skills and interests to share with participants.

Approximately 40 Interchange families continue to receive regular respite and support through our volunteer host program. Whether it’s a full weekend, a day or a few hours, our fantastic hosts – families, couples or individuals – regularly get together with their host ‘child’ for a wealth of shared time and experiences.

A few volunteering statistics:

  • Recreation volunteers have contributed around $10,000 hours to our rec programs so far this year;
  • Hosts have contributed 4,790 hours of support;
  • Placement students have added another 3,000 hours across the agency.

A significant contribution by volunteers!

Recruitment has been high on the agenda:

  • IOE has taken an active part in Interchange Incorporated’s recent volunteering campaign, #VolunteerforDisability which was funded by NDIA’s Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) grant program . This national campaign aimed to raise awareness of volunteering in the disability sector, as well as working to highlight the contribution that people with disability can make as volunteers. The project gained widespread exposure via public media, including ABC TV, radio and online and the Guardian, and has been extensively promoted and shared on the social media sites of each Interchange agency. Working closely with public relations and video production companies the campaign has produced a series of videos on volunteers plus quick cartoon clips which have been used throughout the campaign and will continue to be used for ongoing recruitment. These have been regularly posted on our facebook site so take a look here  The awareness stage of this campaign has now ended and the campaign will now progress to its next stages dealing with recruitment, training and assessment.
  •  Our Volunteer Roadshow continues with our coordinators visiting local schools and colleges, taking every opportunity to involve schools in promoting volunteering opportunities amongst their students. If you think your school, college or Uni would like to be a part of this, please contact our volunteer coordinators. Adding to this, our volunteer coordinators have also attended a number of volunteer expos throughout the community, spreading the message about the many ways volunteers can contribute to our organisation and the families we support. Unfortunately our STRIVE campaign which aimed to attract country students to volunteer with our programs, has had a slow start. This is a wonderful opportunity for students and our coordinators would love to hear from any country schools or students who may be interested.
  • A volunteer information evening is coming up for potential volunteers aged 14 +, as well as parents and anyone else from the community who is interested in finding out more about the IOE volunteering experience. Check out the details and add your name to the list via
  •  We are on the buses! One hundred posters promoting our awesome volunteer program are being displayed on buses coming out of Knox and Lilydale over the next two months!
    Thank you to Ventura Bus for supporting our volunteer program! Let’s boost this exposure – if you see a poster, snap it, share it and tag us!
  • Our host program is out there with a renewed recruiting effort. Sarah, who has recently taken over the role of coordinating the host program has been contacting schools, community and service organisations, letting them know why our long standing host program is such a valued service. We have added another 3 hosts to our ranks in recent months thanks to the interest generated through the #VolunteerforDisability campaign’s ABC coverage. Sarah has her sights set high and has big plans for the future. Contact if you have any ideas for volunteer host program promotion.

There are so many way to volunteer at IOE. Check out our volunteering page and take the first step towards getting involved.

It’s FUN, it’s FREE and it’s LIFE CHANGING.


It’s National Volunteer Week (21 – 27 May 2018), a time to give volunteers that extra bit of acknowledgment and appreciation for the generous contribution they make to Australian communities.  The theme for 2018 is ‘Give a Little. Change a Lot’ – even a small volunteer commitment can make a huge difference!

Volunteers are the backbone of IOE’s service provision.

Without volunteers we would not be able to run any of our recreation programs for children, the long running host program would not exist, our family camps and activities would not provide families with the support they currently do and all our adult services – recreation programs and post school options – would be considerably diminished.

Volunteers bring so much to IOE. Not just the immense amount of time they contribute, not just the cost savings they allow, but their diversity, their unique and individual personalities, outlooks on life, interests and skills all enrich our entire IOE family.

With the introduction of the NDIS there has been a degree of uncertainty in regard to the place of volunteers in future service provision. Following extensive lobbying by Volunteering Victoria and numerous volunteer organisations (IOE included), the NDIA has recognised that this is an area which needs to be addressed in some way.  HAAC which currently funds IOE’s volunteer program has given the undertaking that it will continue to do so. Volunteers have always played a valued part in many of our program areas and will continue to do so into the future.

IOE continues to work closely with volunteering organisations such as Volunteering Victoria to ensure we remain up to date with the latest news, methods and standards, ensuring we provide the best possible volunteer experience for the many people, young and older, who are a part of IOE. We pride ourselves in being leaders in volunteer initiatives, particularly in regard to youth volunteering, and constantly strive to let our volunteers know how much they are appreciated.

Read more about what’s happening during National Volunteer Week at

To find out more about the many volunteering opportunities at IOE visit our volunteering page   or contact our volunteer coordinators on 9758 5522 or