THE official opening of Wallan Community Services Hub on Thursday was hailed by health services and politicians as a big step towards combating and preventing family violence in the region.
The $1.284 million hub repurposed a former childcare centre at 42-80 Bentinck Street, Wallan, and will now serve as an access point for family violence support service The Orange Door.
The Orange Door network is a free service for adults, children and young people who are experiencing or have experienced family violence, as well as families requiring extra support caring for children.
The Orange Door will have 17 locations across Victoria by the end of 2022.
The access point will also host several other community service organisations that specifically respond to family violence issues, including Nexus Primary Health, FamilyCare, Primary Care Connections, Rumbalara Aboriginal Co-operative and Family Safety Victoria.
Mitchell Shire Mayor Bill Chisholm said the facility would help address the high rates of family violence in Mitchell Shire, with statistics showing the municipality has the 11th-highest rate of family violence incidents of any in Victoria.
“Our figures on family violence are far too high. Behind every figure is a person and a family member needing support,” he said.
“This building brings together a number of services to help people in our community to access services and programs that focus on intervention and prevention.
“Council has worked in partnership with these services to create a new space with consulting rooms, conference rooms and meeting rooms.
“The location provides strong links to the multi-purpose centre next door … which also includes the Wallan Youth Room and Wallan Neighbourhood House.”
Cr Chisholm said services like The Orange Door were important to help break a cycle of harm in growing communities.
“We’re at the heart of the Melbourne growth corridor and it’s vital that we have services that people can access,” he said.
“We hear time and time again that people can’t access services outside our area because they can’t get to them. Having these services close to home is absolutely critical.
“We’ve advocated for these services over many years, and in recent times we have started to see results.”
The Orange Door Goulburn area manager Mary D’Elia said the Wallan hub was the first Orange Door site in Victoria to be hosted directly by a council.
“We had clients walk in the door the first day Orange Door in Goulburn opened in Shepparton in April, and within the first few days of us having staff on site here the same thing happened. It tells us this is needed,” she said.
“In the Mitchell and Murrindindi shires there are more than 1200 people who have been directly supported by the Orange Door network since April this year.”
Member for Yan Yean Danielle Green said the new hub was a fantastic result for relatively little expenditure.
“Mitchell Shire is really good at setting that example,” she said.
“For $850,000 from the Victorian Government and $434,000 from council, that’s it’s a great outcome.
“Places like this are about bringing families together and making them feel safe. It’s about building community.”