Inverloch Carers retreat boxing session


IOE held its inaugural Parent and Carers Education retreat on the last weekend of July and the feedback we received has been overwhelming!

With the RACV resort at Inverloch as the destination it was an easy and leisurely drive for most people to arrive in time to greet and meet everyone on the Friday night.

A total of 95 people attended, a good indication of how needed this retreat weekend  was for parents and carers.

The mood of the camp for the whole weekend was sociable, upbeat, relaxed and happy. For many it was their first experience of a weekend away from their ‘carer’ role. With mental health a major issue for many carers and parents, one of the retreat’s aims was to provide an environment that motivated people to get active and involved rather than just sit and relax – though there was plenty of time for that too.

A boxing session proved very popular with old and young, fit and unfit donning the gloves – it certainly helped to have a local, very fit young man leading the session! Yoga was also on the activity menu – all that stretching, positioning, breathing and focusing resulted in some very ‘spaced out’ but relaxed participants. CEO Fred of course led the beach walk – probably a little easier physically than his usual family camp mountain goat hikes. An afternoon session of dancing on the tennis courts saw a group learning some salsa moves plus having fun with the old favourites, Macarena and Nutbush. It was all about getting active, both physically and mentally.

Post Saturday night dinner (delicious) – entertainment was Theatre Sports, definitely the highlight of the weekend. Sarah and Tom from Misfit Theatre group facilitated the activities and had even the most reticent challenging their comfort zones as teams play-acted, mimed and performed, taking on the fun and challenges of the activities.

The following comment, just one of the many received, sums up the overall feeling of the weekend:

‘Thank you Fred, Frances & Kimberley for an outstanding weekend – you are the best! As we return home to our families, we have an extra skip in our step! An extra ounce of energy to tackle the week ahead! Many memories of wonderful new Carer experiences!’  – Joanne B, parent and carer

With the NDIS solely focusing on the person with a disability it is crucial that those responsible for their care, the parents, families and carers, are given as much support as possible so they can maintain their physical and mental well being. IOE will continue to provide this support.


Want to know more about how the Victorian Police Force is working to support the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) community?

Interchange Outer East and Different Journeys invite you to come along to an informative and educational evening, including dinner, to hear how Victoria Police are working with the community to create a safer place for people with autism.

Hear from two serving Victoria Police officers about their involvement in supporting teenagers and adults with autism and their families.

Learn about measures in place in the Victorian community to engage with the ASD community.

Have your questions answered and concerns addressed.


Date: Tuesday 21 August
Time: 6pm to 9pm
Where: Club Kilsyth 15 Canterbury Rd, Kilsyth
Cost: $15 incl. dinner
For all enquiries: please contact 9758 5522 or email


Presented by Interchange Outer East in celebration of Victorian Youth Week (13–22 April), Your Mind Matters is a free event, for youth by youth, promoting mental health and wellbeing among our young people!

Get along to Bayswater Football Club on Friday 13 April from 10am to 2pm for a fun and informative day.  There will be a range of guest speakers, mindful and engaging activities, an all-in group picnic (BYO) and cold drinks available for purchase.

It’s a great opportunity to get together with your mates and invest some time in your (and their) mental health … because YOUR MIND MATTERS!

All family members are welcome too. This is a drug and alcohol free event

RSVP on 9758 5522 or email

This event is made possible by the Victorian State Government Youth Central and we are grateful to have their support!

View the flyer. Share it with your friends!

VYW Save The Date!

Friday 13 to Sunday 22 April 2018 is Victorian Youth Week (previously known as National Youth Week). It’s a time to celebrate youth and acknowledge their contribution and achievements.

For the past number of years IOE has been successful in obtaining a grant to assist with the running of an event to celebrate National Youth Week.  The week is all about youth, so who better to be our event organisers than our own volunteers! This year, once again, the focus of our event will be on raising awareness of youth mental health and wellbeing – a huge issue faced by so many of our young people.

Our event is planned for Friday 13 April from 10am ’til 2pm and will be held at the Bayswater Senior Footbball Club and grounds.

As well as having speakers and available information, there will be plenty of opportunity to get active or just chill out and socialise.

Bring your friends and family too!

Lock in the date and keep a watch on our website and facebook  for more details.




Dance to the latest grooves at IOE’s Funk It Up Friday monthly disco.

Fun, accessible, supervised, drug and alcohol free, all ages and all abilities.

Don’t forget to contact IOE at or call 9758 5522 to let us know you will be coming!


It’s 2018 and another program of fantastic IOE trips and holidays is now underway, so we thought we would share our recent adventure to New Zealand with you.

We set foot on the Golden Princess on 29th of January and our first impression was how HUGE the ship was! Immediately we started exploring, finding out where the best places to chill out, eat and party were. The weather for the first couple  of days was pretty undesirable,  so we spent our time indoors watching various ‘across the ditch’ movies, playing cards, reading books, socializing and even making our way up to the night club for a dance!

Our first dock at Dunedin, gave us an opportunity to stop by the Cadburys factory for an amazingly flavored hot chocolate – forget the scenery, give us the chocolate! Then it was up to Akaroa, a really cool little town in the mountains. Once we regained our land legs we set off on foot to explore the town and do some touristy shopping.  The coastal city of Wellington, our next stop, was by far the biggest city of our trip! In Wellington we visited two museums and walking through the Wellington version of Melbourne’s Docklands we were all reminded of home. The markets in the old bunger and the stairway in the middle of the pier used to jump into the water, were unique features of this city. It was a great way to end our visit to the south island!

That night, sailing to Gisborne, we sat on the deck and watched a movie under the stars while sipping on hot chocolates.  Next morning we woke to a view of the scenic town from our ship rooms! Situated right on the port, Gisborne presented us with green landscapes, huge palm trees and neat little stalls at one of their local markets. After a wander around Gisborne, we stopped by the pub enroute to the dock, to avoid the crowd waiting for the tender to take passengers out to the ship. Our last stop of the trip was in Tauranga where we stopped by the natural hot pools before renting a jetski! We spent an hour hooning around the port in marvelous weather.

We were sad to say goodbye to NZ but the Princess’s kitchens were calling our name. The food was amazing every night of the week. Our waiters Bob, Nathaniel and Bruno catered to our every need and provided the best recommendations. We all really loved being able to dress up for dinners and sleep in on the sea days. The cruise also gave us opportunities to see some hilarious comedians and even sit through an art auction, which was pretty cool. On the final night our bags were collected and sent down stairs to be ready and waiting for us when we got off of the boat – a final bit of luxury.

The Princess cruise to New Zealand was an awesome way to kick start 2018!

by NZ crew 2018


Despite the wet start to the day, the Rotary Club of Balwyn and Interchange Outer East Family Fun Day was a great success.

As always, the Box Hill Miniature Railway was the perfect spot for children and their families to relax and enjoy themselves. There were smiling faces everywhere and plenty to keep everyone occupied with miniature train rides, a petting zoo, a fire engine to explore and a rock wall to climb. The kids made the most of the face painting on offer, sat enthralled in the magic show, posed for the caricature artist and bounced around on the jumping castle, while their carers relaxed with the free massages. Hunger and thirst were kept at bay with both children and adults enjoying free sausages, drinks, fruit and icy poles. Visits from the SES, local police, St Johns Ambulance and the CFA also added to the activities.

The highlight of the day would have to have been a visit from Santa, who rode in on the train and handed out treats to all of the kids while jazz musicians played our favourite carols.

The day would not have been possible without the help of many company sponsors and supporters who kindly donated their time, money and products. They supplied everything including showbags for the kids and endless raffle prizes , plus lots of freebies through the day. The day ran smoothly all thanks to Rotary Club of Balwyn, Box Hill Miniature Steam Railway Society and Interchange Outer East volunteers.


Being a regular attendee of family camps now, I can readily see and appreciate all the little things that go into making family camp what it is. This was the first time I had been to Licola Wilderness Camp and it certainly did what it said on the tin – a ‘wilderness camp’ for sure. You couldn’t have asked for a more perfect location to get away from it all. The surrounding mountains and classic Australian high country vista plus a meandering river through the heart of the camp, made this an amazing location. Perfect for the extreme activities that were about to happen over the weekend. No one can hear you scream in the high country when riding the mighty giant swing!

All the classics were there … flying fox, giant swing, canoeing, archery and much, much more . Fully accessible with a wide range of ‘stuff to do’ this made this place very attractive, whichever way you look at it.

At Licola I was drawn to the new families who had not previously been on a camp. Looking a little unsure from the onset about ‘what do you do?’ and ‘how will it go?’ they were soon in the midst of it all ; scurrying from one activity to the next and joining in with the ridiculous nature of what is known as IOE Family Camp. How they interact can certainly be attributed to how people are made to feel whilst on camp. Families embrace each other open heartedly … we are all on an equal playing field. We are all there to point each other in the right direction, to lend a helping hand or to give some support when needed.

I tip my hat to the ‘vollies’ who show so much love, expertise and nurturing in what they do; we certainly couldn’t do it without them. They take so much in their stride. I can’t help think that these early shared experiences unquestionably add to the character development of these young people. Experiencing these life teachings early on sets them up with skills and characteristics which are beneficial for all of us in life.

This year I was looking forward to Fred’s night walk, as you can never even guess where the night will take you. We enjoyed a beautiful walk up onto a ridge overlooking the town and camp. It was great to see so many families enjoying each other’s company and wanting to do a walk on a beautiful evening. A perfect end to a perfect day with a reasonably starry night. Fred, yet again, is the fabric of family camp and his energy is conveyed and transferred from one person to another.

You realise you have been captured and have experienced the true nature of family camp when you are running, jumping, rolling about on the floor like a fool … all around you can see the smiles on faces. No one can escape how infectious this is.

We all create our own path on family camp and each of us has our own individual experiences shared and articulated later in the day when we sit and reminisce on what the day has brought. When you hear the stories from camp you can’t help but be optimistic about it … it’s about family, community and support.

Well done do the family camp team for a great 2017 camp at Licola, you did a great job. Extra special thanks to the Lions Clubs of Park Orchards, Forest Hill, Vermont South, Vermont and Box Hill for their support which made this amazing camp possible.