Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D'Ambrosio and Member for Yan Yean Danielle Green.

FIVE Whittlesea community projects will share in more than $2.45 million from the State Government’s Growing Suburbs Fund.

Headlining the announcement, $1.24 million will go towards a social support services facility in Mernda, purpose-built to provide a home for support services for older people.

The facility, to be built at Mernda Villages Community Activity Centre, will provide much-needed day respite for older residents.

Located next to the kindergarten, the facility will offer opportunities for intergenerational programs and activities, as well as helping older residents maintain their independence.

The service aims to reduce social isolation by providing people that are frail, living with disability, memory loss or dementia, have limited mobility and are 65 years and over, the opportunity to try new activities, establish links in the community, and improve their overall health and wellbeing.

Other projects to receive funding include $450,000 to upgrade the Mill Park Library’s outdoor area and provide a new learning space, $362,000 to revitalise Lalor’s Rochdale Square with safety and streetscape improvements and $250,000 to install solar power and batteries at eight community facilities to improve energy efficiency across the City of Whittlesea.

Each project has had half of its total value contributed through the Growing Suburbs Fund.
The investments are part of the extension of a $25 million expansion to the Growing Suburbs Fund announced in June as part of the State Government response to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funding was approved by Minister for Local Government Shaun Leane and announced by Member for Mill Park Lily D’Ambrosio, Member for Yan Yean Danielle Green and Member for Thomastown Bronwyn Halfpenny last week.

“For the first time there will be a place for older people to get support in Mernda, which will make a real difference to the Mernda and Doreen senior community, creating stronger ties and connections at a time when these ties have never been needed more,” Ms Green said.

City of Whittlesea panel of administrators chair Lydia Wilson said the funding aided council in providing essential infrastructure and facilities the community needed.

“As one of the fastest-growing municipalities in Victoria with a booming population, the funding is a welcome addition to our plans to ensure residents can access services and facilities that will make a real difference in their day-to-day lives,” she said.

“These council projects will support local jobs and provide opportunities for residents to learn and engage with their community.”

Ms Wilson said there was a genuine need for support services in the north of the municipality.

“We recognised a genuine need for social support services in the city’s north, where frail residents are often travelling over an hour to access programs in Lalor, Mill Park and Epping,” Ms Wilson said.

“The new facility in Mernda will mean that more older residents participate in and seek social support, which is a terrific outcome in our effort to combat negative health impacts for older residents and their carers.”

Construction on the five projects will start in 2021.