Caring for the carers

Published on 13 June 2018

Greenhills Neighbourhood House.jpg

A tired-looking building at the back of the Greenhills Neighbourhood House will undergo a face lift and be transformed into an inviting community space for women carers.
The initiative will see the Hearts in Mind service for women carers looking after children or family members with special needs or who are ill, have a space they can call home.
And it’s thanks to a $5000 Community Grant from Nillumbik Shire Council, paint supplied by Bunnings Eltham and the Diamond Valley Lions Clubs, whose members will roll up their sleeves and get painting.
The grant will go towards buying furniture, comfortable couches and lighting to make the shabby space welcoming. The revamp should be completed mid-October, in time for National Carers week.
Deputy Mayor Karen Egan said carers were often exhausted and isolated.
“This will create a lovely space for them to connect, share activities, swap stories and make friends with those who have - and understand - the same issues,” Cr Egan said.
The initiative is thanks to Lisa Petersen and Georgina Mills, both mums with children on the spectrum, and both co-founders of Hearts in Minds. And it is also thanks to Greenhills House coordinator Anna Lee, who has supported them every step of the way.
The group, which has around 100 members, runs workshops and sessions including mindfulness and creative studies.  It also provides information on services and programs through its website, newsletter and Facebook.
Ms Petersen said fixing up the Community Drive venue would mean that carers could pop in on Mondays during school hours to chat and unwind.
“As a mum of two boys with Aspergers, I know how lonely and exhausting being a carer can get,” Ms Petersen said.

“It’s good to bond with other women going through the same thing.”
The other community groups currently using the shabby area will also benefit from the revamp.
Stage 1 of the project, the painting, will begin on the weekend of Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 June.

The next relaxation and guided meditation workshop for the group is 2pm on Saturday 16 June.