Very Special Kids hospice rebuild project celebrated with sod turning ceremony

The Very Special Kids grounds were rife with excitement last Wednesday, as the turning of the sod ceremony marked a significant step toward the rebuild of our world-class children’s hospice. 

Special guests’ Federal Health Minster, The Hon. Greg Hunt MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Health, Mr Steve McGhie and Federal Member for Higgins, Dr Katie Allen MP joined our Founder and Patron, Sister Margaret Noone and CEO Michael Wasley to turn the first sod on the site.  


This special event marks a watershed moment in our history which will enhance the way we deliver specialist palliative care for children and young people and their families across Victoria well into the future. The new facility will allow us to expand our model of care and capabilities, providing greater access for all children and young people with complex needs and raise the bar in children’s respite and end-of-life care. 

191217_GBlue_Z7_9999_LgeThe event was attended by Very Special Kids family, Cory and Jayne Mitchell, their daughter Jemimah and son Elliott. 

The Mitchell family have been supported by Very Special Kids since 2019, their son Elliot requires around the clock care to manage his condition, Tracheobronchomalacia, which impacts his ability to breathe. 

“We booked into the hospice’s family accommodation for three nights and it was a lifeline. I was able to get a good night’s sleep for the first time in years, because I usually get up 5-10 times per night to Elliott, and just focus on my girls’ knowing Elliott was in the best care. I could check in on him when I wanted to, the staff just loved him, he was so happy – it was just phenomenal,” Jayne said.

Prior to the hospice rebuild, Elliott had another stay in the hospice giving Cory and Jayne a few nights away, as a couple. “I don’t know how families survive without the hospice, it is a lifesaver, a godsend. I’m excited about the rebuild because as Elliott grows, I know he will need different equipment and therapies so it’s wonderful, and comforting, to know we will have access to a modern facility,” Jayne said.  

VSK Sod Turning Ceremony Download Gallery

The hospice will fill a crucial gap in Victoria’s health system, providing 24/7 specialised paediatric palliative care for children and young people with life-limiting conditions.  

The new world-class facility entails best practice design features including:  

  • Eight individual large bedrooms with private ensuites 
  • Private end-of-life area to respect family’s final wishes 
  • Separate spaces for art and music therapy 
  • A multisensory and a multimedia room 
  • Soft play spaces and additional therapy spaces 
  • Discreet adolescent space to better accommodate their maturity.  
  • A hydrotherapy pool for pain management and physiotherapy, and an outdoor undercover play area. 

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Our children’s hospice was the first paediatric hospice in Australia and remains the only one in Victoria. The original hospice was built in 1996 and has provided 24/7 specialised care to thousands of children and young people. We believe every child has the right to the best quality of life, no matter how long or short their life may be, and every family is supported to cope throughout their most difficult journey.  

The support from the Federal and State governments, local members of parliament, Capital Campaign Committee and major donors and funders across the community have made this momentous project possible, ensuring sick children, young people and their families have access to what will be one of the world’s best children’s hospices’ into the future. 

To learn more about the hospice rebuild project, click here.

VSK Sod Turning Ceremony Download Gallery