MALLEE Family Care (MFC) has received a massive $4.9 million in funding under the Federal Government’s Building Better Care for Mallee Communities program that will enable the organisation to build a new $10 million office space and community hub in Mildura.

The new purpose-built offices will bring Mallee Family Care’s other resources under the one roof. They are currently located in separate buildings across Mildura.

The grant is a ‘like-for-like’ funding model, and MFC will contribute a further $5 million towards the total project cost of $10 million.

The funding for MFC is part of a $6.9 million investment to provide a ‘brighter future’ for Mallee.

The Federal Government is investing in funding for eight projects in Mallee under Round 5 of Building Better Regions Fund.

In addition to Mallee Family Care’s grant, Mildura Rural City Council will also receive $1,150,000 for the ‘Mallee − Back on Track’ Project.

MFC CEO Teresa Jayet said her organisation was delighted to receive the funding injection from the Federal Government.

“This means that MFC will be able to continue support for our community and those who require assistance,” Ms Jayet said.

“Investment in MFC means investment in our community and that is fundamentally what this grant application has been about for us and it’s great that the Government has also seen that as well.”

Ms Jayet said that this project is about relocating all of the MFC staff under the one roof.

“It also means that clients, who are in extraordinarily vulnerable circumstances, don’t have to repeat their story because all of our services will be under the one roof, providing a co-location model for our service provision,” she said.

“This in turn will mean we will have easy referral and early intervention pathways for referral for clients.

“This is fundamentally what our programs are about. Getting in early to get early help and we’ll be here to support you and that is the significant difference this new building will mean for us.”

Ms Jayet said that MFC currently has five office locations in Mildura.

“Therefore, when you are a client experiencing vulnerability and disadvantage, the last thing that you need is to be going from one office location to another to find a service and having to repeat your story each time,” she said.

“And so this is what we are trying to stop and it will also mean that we can provide further supports to young children in our office locations, rather than having to go out to multiple service providers.

“This will create a significant difference to the lives of the children and the families we work with.”

The new three-level building will be constructed on a site directly opposite MFC’s current office in Ninth Street and it is hoped that it can be completed within three years.

“We purchased the existing building on the site in December 2019, and we are ready to go. This investment by government that will allow us to do this is very significant,” Ms Jayet said.

“We are on a two-to-three-year window to undertake the knockdown of the building on the new site and the construction of the building.

Ms Jayet said that their organisation has seen rapid growth over the last ten years, doubling in size in terms of the range of services, clients and employees.

“Consequently, we’ve outgrown our current space and there’s considerable community demand which is continuing to drive further expansion.

“We’re seeing more people and offering more services than ever before and we need a facility that will allow us to do this effectively and to accommodate our future growth for children, adolescents, individuals and families, across NDIS, allied health, mental health, counselling services and foster care programs.”

“We will be able to accommodate our supported play groups for children under this one roof as well together with our therapeutic and counselling supports for adults and children.”Member for Mallee Anne Webster also expressed her delight that MFC had received the funding needed to complete this project.”I am very excited about this. I do remember actually working in this building with Mallee Family Care when I did my university placement and so I know the great work that it does and the work ethic employed when they work with our vulnerable communities,” Dr Webster said.

“Mallee Family Care have developed a funding pool which has enabled them to access this grant and it made it doable for the Federal Government to assist and it also demonstrates recognition of the important work that MFC undertakes in the community.

“The Building Better Regions Fund had provided $37 million in Mallee alone across 33 projects since it began and this year $6.9 million will be invested and so the Mallee Family Care project is very important to me and to this community.”

“That is our message,” Ms Jayet added. “This is about community. It isn’t just about a building,” she said.

“It’s an investment by government that has shown to us that they are invested in the work that Mallee Family Care does and we are invested in community as a partnership approach, and we are quite excited by that.”

By JOHN DOOLEY