Our carer support group was established in July 1991 at the Malvern Clinic by two very caring staff members, a social worker assisted by a psychiatric nurse, to give relatives and friends of people attending the clinic an opportunity to meet together each month for support and education.
The Malvern Clinic was located at “Waiora” an Itilianate mansion located in Glenferrie Road, Malvern. “The Mental Health Authority purchased Waiora in 1959 and established the Malvern Clinic, the first day hospital for psychiatric patients in Victoria. In 1996, the old house was restored and the home for Very Special Kids opened, Australia’s first hospice and respite care centre for children with terminal illnesses.” (Quote from National Library of Australia)
When our group became aware that the current state liberal government planned to transfer the property to Very Special Kids, we became involved in a very active media campaign assisted by a number of high profile figures, including Dr Margaret Leggatt and Anne Deveson as well as opposition members of parliament. However, the service was eventually located to Orrong Road, Armadale and renamed Waiora Community Mental Health Service. Subsequently Waiora CMHS was relocated to Malvern Road South Yarra and thanks to Alfred Psychiatry our group shared an office there with the carer consultant and consumer consultant.
In late 2018 Waiora Community Mental Health Service was decommissioned and the clinic was co-located with St Kilda Road Clinic, 607 St Kilda Road Melbourne 3004. Our ISFAF office is now located at Alfred Mental and Addiction Health (AMAH), Level 4, 549 St Kilda Road Melbourne 3004, although we have had to vacate the office temporarily due to Covid 19 restrictions
Since its inception our group has been chaired by very dedicated members and supported by capable committee members. We receive a small grant from the Department of Health as well as assistance from Alfred Psychiatry and the City of Port Phillip. Alfred Health Carer Services provide funding for specific respite activities during the year and Carers Victoria allocates a small grant towards a carer function held during Carers Week in October. Donations from generous members also assists us manage our support activities.