New Residential Family Unit Opens for 200 struggling families

New Residential Family Unit Opens for 200 struggling families

By Kerrie Gottliebsen

Today Tweddle was honoured to be joined by Ms Gabrielle Williams MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Health, Carers and Volunteers, The Tweddle Board, staff and guests to officially open Tweddle’s new residential unit, the Family Strengthening Unit or FSU.

Ms Williams spoke about how Tweddle is about ‘Interventions that fundamentally change generations’ and how Tweddle’s services help create new templates for relationships for parents, babies and toddlers that have experienced adversity.

The FSU is the first step in a vision to create a Centre of Early Parenting Excellence for Melbourne’s west and landmark facility for Victorian families in the first 1000 days.

This wonderful new space will provide a much needed source of intensive parenting education and respite for 200 vulnerable families every year.

In 2015 Tweddle’s Board approved investment for a much needed redevelopment and our vision of developing a Centre of Early Parenting Excellence and landmark educational facility for Victorian families and health professionals. The eventual building costs amounted to 2 million dollars of Tweddle’s reserves.

This new unit for vulnerable families is the first stage in a broader redevelopment strategy. The plans for growth respond to State Government reforms that focus on family preservation, reunification and child safety.

The new residential unit wing was once a car park and garden of the nurse’s residential quarters, built in 1963 with the Tweddle Baby Hospital around the corner in Gordon Street. Back then the Tweddle Baby Hospital and nurse’s accommodation was overseen by Matron Evelyn Graham, Matron Margot Ballard, our first CEO Miss Betty Hassold and President Lady Angliss. 55 years later, we have four families residing with us in our new development.

Many dedicated people came together to create the co-designed centre that will meet the needs of struggling families. Hede architects designed the unit after many redesigns and considerable input from families and staff.

Tweddle owes a lot to the tireless work of Ms Joanne Norton who along with her husband and the Friends of Tweddle team, volunteered to help create a modern and welcoming space.

In 2016/17 Tweddle was a lifeline for 3,613 mums, dads, babies and toddlers with 64% of referrals coming from Maternal and Child Health. Our new Family Strengthening Unit will provide 200 additional families referred by MCH nurses, GPs and other health professionals to our specialist services.

When completed, the future Centre of Early Parenting Excellence will see Tweddle’s capacity increase to supporting 980 residential families every year.

Considering 250 babies are born a week in Melbourne’s west, and 82,900 babies born a year state wide, ensuring early intervention residential services like Tweddle’s keep up with population growth are even more critical.

This week Tweddle has 12 residential families from across the state receiving specialist care from a team of specialist nurses and health professionals.

Here is our recently made video ‘Welcome to Tweddle’ which features some of the new FSU spaces. The video appears on the ‘Coming To Tweddle’ page on our website.


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