The Bendigo Community Health Services dream of building a revolutionary child and family services centre for the community is coming to life.
Bendigo builders Walsh and O’Meara started construction of the $2.6 million State Government-funded centre on our Kangaroo Flat site in March with the help of around 12 local sub-contractors.
Just before Christmas Kevin Walsh handed the keys to the new centre to our CEO Kim Sykes.
The moment clears the way for a new era in how Bendigo Community Health Services delivers child and family services to the community.
Staff have started moving into the centre with an official opening ceremony and community day planned as soon as landscaping works have been completed.
kidzspace will bring all our early years and family support services together under an Australian-first model designed to challenge the traditional life paths for those born into disadvantage and allow children of all ages to reach their full potential.
BCHS CEO Kim Sykes said kidzspace would be a major asset for the organisation in delivering new strategic directions which focus heavily on early years.
She said the centre aimed to promote generational change that would have a positive life-long impact on the health, education and earning power of Bendigo youngsters.
“Any child can reach their full potential if supported to do so,” she said.
“A child’s future health, wellbeing and development are shaped by the experience of their early years. Any family can build strengths that significantly contribute to their resilience and ability to bounce back from the challenges of life if supported to do so.
“(But) not all children have a good start to their lives and not all families know how to deal with a child’s illness, behavioural issues or the stresses that some parents experience.
“There is a need to wrap services around children and families that are most vulnerable in our community and kidzspace is designed with that in mind.
“It will work with kids and their families to make sure that every child has the healthiest start possible for them, and we have a very big focus on addressing health inequality.”
kidzspace will complete an early years health and wellbeing hub at our Helm Street site that will develop unprecedented support for vulnerable families by integrating our community health platform with the City of Greater Bendigo’s maternal and child health service, a kindergarten with a high number of children with a disability and St John of God’s Raphael Centre for mother’s experiencing post-natal depression.
Builders expect to complete kidzspace in October 2016.
The project designers
Flexibility, safety and accessibility were key considerations in designing kidzspace.
CBA Building Designers accepted the brief to create a state-of-the-art community-focused building that was open, inviting and ever-changing, with spaces that could evolve with the needs of the public and user groups.
Shane DeAraugo and Simon Bedson took about eight months to come up with final plans for the Bendigo Community Health Services facility.
The designers said they were pleased to be involved in such a revolutionary project.
“It’s a way of giving back and supporting the growth and development of our community, in particular our kids,” Shane and Simon said.
“Providing safe and inviting environments is important.”
BENDIGO construction company Walsh and O’Meara Builders is overseeing the creation of kidzspace.
“I think it is fantastic for the city of Bendigo and I fully support it,” says Walsh and O’Meara director and father-of-three Kevin Walsh.
As project manager, Kevin visited the Helm Street construction site most days to ensure the build progressed smoothly.
Around 12 Bendigo-based subcontractors were engaged to help build kidzspace.
Many of the sub contractors expressed their satisfaction in helping with a project designed to give children a better start in life.
Bendigo Plant Hire director Adam Riley handled excavation work at the building site.
“I am well aware of the background to this project and I think it’s fantastic. By having everything under the one roof – that will go a long way to making these services more accessible to families.”
MPB Electrical installed the electricity and data cables.
Director Matt Bolton said his company was happy to contribute to a vital community hub.
“It does give you a sense of pride,” he said.
Painter Bert McIvor echoed Matt’s sentiment about kidzspace.
“It is certainly satisfying being involved in the local Bendigo community and projects like this,” he said.