LOCAL families will have more support in the region with a new Early Parenting Centre to be built in Shepparton.
For parents like Mooroopna father, Brendan Redding, a fit-for-purpose centre like this would have been “massive” for his family. In addition to facing struggles many new parents are confronted with, such as the lack of sleep and support, his daughter, five-year-old Demi, was born prematurely.
“We had to do four weeks in special care and straight after that you have all the care of the hospital but then when you leave, you’re just sort of like ‘Oh no, where do we go from here?’” said Mr Redding.
“There are support services, but they’re really scattered around and it’s really hard to find, especially as a new parent. You don’t really know who to ask or where to go.”
“To have a place like this in the Goulburn Valley where we can get a bit of support and help … I wish it was around when we had our kids.”
Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley visited Shepparton to announce $25M in funding for the facility, which is part of the 2022/23 state budget that was revealed in May.
Independent Member for Shepparton District, Suzanna Sheed said the centre will provide added support for young or single parents, as well as people from all socio-economic groups.
“People who’ve had to go to Melbourne for six weeks with their baby if they’ve got postnatal depression or some other issue … to be able to have that service here in your own community with family around you … I think will just be fabulous.”
The centre, expected to get underway in 2024 and be completed by 2025, will have 10-beds, a kitchen and dining area, and other spaces such as a playroom and multi-purpose rooms, as well as outdoor play areas and landscaping.