Kids Appeal

A life-changing rehabilitation centre, designed for kids, by kids. The first of its kind in regional Victoria.

The Barwon Health Foundation Kids Appeal is raising funds for a brand-new rehabilitation centre for Geelong children and young adults with complex care needs. This exciting new project will only be possible with local support and will be fully funded by the community.

The state-of-the-art centre will include a gym, consulting rooms, a therapy kitchen, an outdoor therapy space and consult rooms. It is hoped this project will reach its goal of $3.6 million by 2021 with $2.7 million raised to date, through generous community support.

The Centre will support young patients including those with traumatic brain injuries, strokes, and spinal cord injuries. Others, such as those with cerebral palsy, have been involved in rehabilitation following medical treatments including surgery or Botox injection.

Treatments range from physical, speech and occupational therapy to social work and clinical psychology. Neuropsychologists also help with recovery from changes in thinking and behaviour.

It is estimated about 20,000 Australian children aged under 15 years have an acquired brain injury.

These children and young adults are currently treated in the Community Rehabilitation Centre at the McKellar Centre, which has been designed for adults. However, children are not ‘little adults’ and local families need facilities designed just for them.

To tailor programs to each child and family’s needs, Geelong needs a specific rehabilitation facility for children and young people with complex care needs.

The new centre will include:

  • A children’s gym with state-of-the-art equipment to help with walking, moving arms and hands and preparing kids for physical play at home, playgrounds, and schools.
  • An innovative ‘communal kitchen’ will allow families to sit, relax, meet, and chat. At the same time, children, adolescents, and young people with complex care needs, can participate in therapeutic cooking activities. This can help with arm movement, thinking skills, problem solving, and physical function.
  • Quiet spaces for counselling, therapy and group programs will provide a warm, friendly, and homely environment, allowing families who may be under great stress to feel safe and cared for.
  • Teleconference facilities will improve the capacity to provide direct support to families across the region, allowing for conferencing and input from Melbourne-based specialist clinicians.