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New centre to support older residents and carers now open

New centre to support older residents and carers now open

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

A new $2.69 million facility in the City of Whittlesea’s north will provide older residents and their carers with vital support services. 

The Mernda Social Support Centre at 70 Mernda Village Drive, is now open and will be a key hub for the delivery of co-located services and activities for older adults in the City of Whittlesea.  

The centre features three activity rooms, kitchen, consulting room, staff office, outdoor barbecue area and accessible amenities. 

A range of programs will be offered to help people forge new social connections, maintain independence and improve their mental and physical health. 

These programs include: 

  • exercise classes for older adults led by a qualified and accredited exercise physiologist 
  • dementia and memory program delivered by a team of allied health staff to support people experiencing cognitive decline or memory loss 
  • wellbeing skills group sessions for older adults teaching people psychological skills to maintain their mental wellbeing 
  • digital mentoring and engagement sessions 
  • cultural, social and information-based events. 

City of Whittlesea Chair Administrator Lydia Wilson said the northern suburbs’ growth, as well as Australia’s ageing population, meant there was high demand for a fit-for-purpose social support facility. 

She said the number of residents in the City of Whittlesea experiencing social isolation and lack of community connectivity, as well as health-related issues such as living with dementia, is expected to increase dramatically in the coming years and Council needed to be prepared to meet their needs. 

“The services offered at the Mernda Social Support Centre will help our older residents maintain their independence and continue to participate meaningfully in the community,” she said. 

“Reducing social isolation – both for participants and the people who care for them – is an important part of ensuring our residents are safe and supported to continue to live their best lives.” 

The centre was funded by $1.45 million from the City of Whittlesea and a $1.24 million grant from the Victorian Government’s Growing Suburbs Fund. 

It was built in accordance with the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and Australia Dementia-Friendly guidelines and features a Changing Places facility. 

A Changing Places facility will allow people with high support needs to participate in community life without the worry about accessing a suitable toilet or change facility. 

The 517 square metre centre includes a number of sustainability features, including an in-ground water tank, double-glazed windows, LED lighting, gas-free appliances and PV solar system. 

Priority access to services will be given to residents aged 65 years and over and to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander residents aged 50 years and over. 

Community members and organisations can book the centre’s specialist facilities by emailing or calling Council on 9217 2170.