IOE’s annual March long weekend family camp held at Coonawarra Farm resort was once again a resounding success. This year approximately 180 people (families, volunteers and staff)  enjoyed the fun, fantastic activities and beautiful surrounds that make Coonawarra our favourite destination.  Each year we receive such positive feedback that, we decided to let the families’ comments tell the story of what family camp 2020 meant to them.

Family camp is:

‘A brilliant opportunity to meet, mingle and socialise with people in similar situations in an environment that is positive. It allows us to see and share our daughter’s camp experiences. Family camp is fun, supportive, empowering, enriching and emotionally fulfilling. Thanks so much for enabling and supporting this great event.’

‘Best time ever. I love being with my family on camp. I love family camp’

‘Incredibly well organised, very friendly and welcoming and amazing fun! Thank you so much’

‘I  love family camp. I like  the horses, the giant swing and the horses. I liked singing Drops of Jupiter in the talent show’

‘Seeing old friends and watching kids have fun. New friendships made and seeing our children being themselves. Watching the children’s faces as they interact with staff and volunteers. Staff and volunteers make the camp run so smoothly’

‘Includes everyone. It is where families on all different journeys get together in a relaxed and friendly environment, doing activities that they normally wouldn’t do and where you make new friends. …where you find you are not alone. Fun and awesome!’

‘Awesome, great, fun lots of fun, lovely, fantastic!!’

‘An inclusive, fun, bonding experience amongst and with like minded families. A place to relax, belong and not feel judged. A place to make new friends and laugh. A place where I saw my little girl’s anxieties slip away and saw her beautiful self shine through.’

Interchange Outer East continues to provide a range of programs which support every family member – a practical testimony to our belief that supported families become stronger, more resilient, less stressed  and better able to continue in their caring role.

Family camps are just one of these support programs. They have become such a calendar highlight for so many families, that IOE’s Family Camp Program has been extended and now consists of four camps each  year.




You are invited to attend Interchange Outer East’s 2019 Annual General Meeting.


When: Tuesday 29 October from 7.00pm

Where: IOE Keith Thornton Training Room  5 – 7 Yose St Ferntree Gully

Reply: to

Come along to hear what has been happening at IOE during 2018-2019 and our direction and plans for the coming year.




It’s on again. Interchange Outer East and Rotary Club of Balwyn invite all children with disabilities, their families and carers to the annual end of year FAMILY FUN DAY

When? Saturday 24 November 2019 from 11am – 3pm
Where? Box Hill Miniature Railway, cnr Belmore & Elgar Rds Box Hill.

Lots of FREE fun for all. Train rides, jumping castle, magic show, face painting plus lots more. There will be a sausage sizzle (with vegie option), drinks, icy poles and showbags plus a visit from Santa.

The FAMILY FUN DAY is proudly supported by Rotary Club of Balwyn, Box Hill Miniature Steam Railway plus numerous local businesses and community organisations.

For more information contact Interchange Outer East on 9758 5522 or RSVP online –

Download the flyer and share it with your friends


Last chance to get your tickets for IOE’s RISE conference! Book today at

Only 11 more days until Conference Day. We have an excellent line up of speakers who are sure to inform, educate and inspire you with their stories of experience of living and working with disability.

Everyone is welcome. This is a conference for the whole community.

Even though tickets sales officially close today (Friday 4 October)  if you contact IOE  before Tuesday 15, we still may be able to squeeze you in.

Ticket price is $50 – an absolute bargain for a day of such quality speakers and excellent catering!

The conference will be held on Tuesday 15 October 2019 from 9am – 5pm at  1330 Conference Centre, 1330 Ferntree Gully Road, Scoresby, Vic 3179

Take a read of the speaker bios at

See you all there!



In late June my husband and I attended IOE’s Carers Retreat weekend at the RACV resort in Inverloch.

What a lovely break – definitely much needed!

This was IOE’s second Carers weekend, there was such positive and valuable feedback from the 2018 weekend that it was decided to do it again this year.

When we arrived late Friday afternoon there was already a large group sitting together in the bar/lounge area toasting their feet by the fire. The group was a real mix of IOE old regulars plus a number of carers who had met on the previous carer weekend or on family camp, as well as a couple of brand newies. It was a lovely welcoming way to start the weekend and get acquainted.

CEO Fred started off the weekend’s activities with a walk along the beach to a cave and back on the Saturday morning. Typical of Fred’s famous walks it went for much longer than planned so we missed the morning boxing sessions. Still the walk was well worth it, as it was a beautiful sunny morning and the beach was so peaceful – plus we had some exercise and the chance to walk off breakfast.

As many carers don’t really take good care of their health, the weekend aimed to offer lots of opportunities to get active in addition to socialising. In the afternoon there was yoga followed by outdoor games. As we were throwing beanbags, rolling boules and playing giant Connect 4 we could see the others sitting by that cosy lounge fire! Not to be deterred from playing tennis, Fred finally managed to rustle up enough people for a set of doubles. They warmed up on the court while a few of us headed to the indoor spa and sauna for a bit of pre-dinner luxury and relaxation.

Sitting around the tables at dinner was another chance to get to know others over a surprisingly good meal. Post-dinner entertainment was again theatre sports facilitated by The Misfit Project – they had rave reviews from the previous carers weekend. We rose to the challenges, did silly things, pushed our boundaries and tried to work collaboratively to come up with skit ideas. Lots of laughs. Looking around the room there seemed to be some pretty tired looking people. All that activity and the rare chance for many to have a night to themselves meant most headed back to their rooms for a sleep.

It would have been really good if we could have stayed one more day. My husband remarked that there was noticeable group camaraderie at breakfast on Sunday, which would have been good to build on throughout the day. Unfortunately we had to vacate rooms at 10am. Personally, we took advantage of every bit of our time away together and had a lovely day beach walking, watching the waves and sightseeing before heading back to reality.

The weekend gave so many carers the chance, not only to have a break and have fun, but to make connections and with others who understand their situation and are supportive.

Thanks IOE for believing families and carers matter and looking after us so well.

Sandra Leehy


☀TICKETS NOW AVAILABLE☀ for Interchange Outer East’s RISE Conference 2019.

With a fantastic line up of quality speakers RISE Conference is a fully catered, accessible and affordable event for the whole community. Everyone is welcome.

Speakers will engage the audience with stories of lived experience in disability to inspire, build resilience, educate and promote strategies for self care in even the most challenging circumstances.

When: Tuesday 15 October 2019 – 8.45am to 5pm
Where: 1330 Conference Centre & Cafe, Scoresby
Cost: $50 includes morning & afternoon tea and lunch plus a host of amazing speakers (free for IOE staff and volunteers)

☀Important note: RISE Conference is FREE for Interchange Outer East staff (permanent & casual) and volunteers. To get your free ticket, contact Erin on 9758 5522 or

If you are an IOE volunteer or staff member, please DO NOT book via the link above as you will be asked to pay the full ticket price.

Check out the speaker bios and conference updates at

*Unfortunately Moana Hope will no longer be presenting at our conference.

Please share this post with family, friends, professional networks and anyone else who may be interested!  All welcome.


My son Dylan, a 1:1 support worker and myself (husband was unable to make it) arrived at CYC Cowes on Friday evening ready to take part in our first IOE Family Camp.

On arrival we were greeted with a warm welcome and shown our accommodation. Our cabin was so much better than I expected, with one double bed and a few sets of bunks. It even had its own ensuite with separate shower and toilet.

In the morning all the families arrived for breakfast, which had been set up in the rec hall. After breakfast we were given an itinerary for the weekend ahead which was full of different activities to choose from.

My son chose to participate in crate climbing, for which he had to wear a safety harness. All the kids had so much fun! This was followed by a lot of smaller activities. My son particularly loved the massive swing that looked out over the ocean. In the afternoon there was archery and a family game of soccer.

There were a lot of activities happening during the day, some that my son didn’t participate in, but that was okay and we never felt pressured into doing something we didn’t want to do.

That evening we had tea and all special diets were catered for, so there was something for everyone.
Later that night Fred took us all on a beach tour in the dark (Fred’s night adventures are apparently legendary and an IOE tradition). My son especially loved that.

When the kids were all settled for the night I got to meet and have a talk with Fred (CEO) and Belinda, who is the IOE General Manager. They were both lovely down to earth people who made me feel very welcome.

The next morning after breakfast Fred had arranged a huge Easter egg hunt for the kids. They all LOVED it … more so the chocolate!

After that families started to pack up and leave at their own pace. We left at around 11am.

My overall thoughts and experiences of the weekend were really positive. It was so nice to be around other families who face our daily battles. We never once felt out of place or that we were being a nuisance or bothering anyone. It was a very comfortable atmosphere and we would definitely love to go on another IOE Family Camp.

Rebecca Halls – parent


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.