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Victoria’s only children’s hospice gets a world-class revamp

December 4, 2023

The 21st of November 2023 will always be remembered as the day Very Special Kids unveiled its newly rebuilt children’s hospice – the Sister Margaret Noone Hospice at Very Special Kids House.

 

After six years of meticulous research, development and planning, our long-held dream of a world-class children’s hospice has become a reality. Very Special Kids House will provide world’s best practice facilities and specialist support, respite and end-of-life care for children and their families.

A group of adults and children in wheelchairs are standing in front of a new building. They are smiling at the camera.

Although a paediatric palliative care facility, the state-of-the-art new centre is designed as a bright home-away-from-home featuring spaces for music and art therapy, a wheelchair-accessible playground, a hydrotherapy pool, and our resident therapy dog Jaffa.

It is the only facility of its calibre in Australia and the only children’s hospice in Victoria.

Today is very much a celebration of what communities can achieve together… This very important event marks the end of a long journey and the start of a new chapter in holistic palliative care for Victorian children and families.

The state-of-the-art facility is the legacy of Very Special Kids’ first employee and patron, Sister Margaret Noone – who opened the doors to the first Very Special Kids House in 1996. Sister Margaret had the well-deserved honour of cutting the ribbon, officially opening the doors to our rebuilt facility.

 

We were honoured to celebrate this watershed moment with key members of our philanthropic community who helped bring this project to life. A big thank you to the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments for their significant contribution, as well as the tireless efforts of our Capital Campaign Committee.

 

The Honorable Jed Kearney, Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care shared, “I couldn’t be more privileged to be here to mark such an important day for Very Special Kids… Every child has the right to the best quality of life, no matter how long that life is or how short that little life might be.”

Very Special Kids House will provide a safe haven for many children, including 12-year-old Mia who was staying at the hospice.

“Very Special Kids is everything and more,” shares Mia’s mum Margie.

“I trust this place with my daughter’s life…I went home, and I slept for the first time without playing doctor, nurse support worker or anything else.”

The grand opening of Very Special Kids House coincided with Very Special Kids’ annual matched giving day fundraiser – A Very Special Day – meaning every donation made by the public was doubled for 24 hours.

 

Special thank you to Neil Mitchell and the 3AW team, who provided coverage for Very Special Kids throughout the hospice opening ceremony and A Very Special Day.

 

Generous donors opened their hearts and wallets to support children with life-limiting illnesses, giving a record $827,748.  We are so grateful to the community who surrounds us, ensuring Very Special Kids House can deliver the very best holistic palliative care now and into the future.