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Parents of children with a life-threatening illness form connections over coffee

Mum and child embracing in a hug

Having a cup of coffee has taken on a whole new meaning thanks to a new partnership between Victorian-based charity, Very Special Kids, and nib foundation.

Very Special Kids is connecting parents and carers of children with life-threatening illness over a cuppa and conversation through their Parent Support Group funded by nib foundation.

Offered across various locations in Melbourne and regional Victoria, the group hosts coffee mornings, walking groups and pamper days to provide respite to parents caring for their child.

Very Special Kids Family Support Practitioner, Heidi Barber, said the support group is an opportunity for parents and carers to take a break from the demands of home life and connect with others through shared experiences.

"When a family finds out their child has a life-threatening condition, their lives are often turned upside down and the physical, mental and financial demands that come with their caring role can often feel isolating," Ms Barber said.

"The Parent Support Group provides a safe and supportive space for parents to form peer-to-peer social connections through shared experiences and cultivate a sense of normality for what is a rare and unfortunate circumstance," Ms Barber added.

nib foundation Executive Officer, Amy Tribe said that having this kind of support freely accessible for carers in their local area can help preserve their wellbeing by keeping them connected to their community and peers.

"Naturally parents will often want to assume the primary caring role for their child when they find out they have a life-limiting illness, however, the impact this role can have on their own health and wellbeing is too often overlooked," Mrs Tribe said.

"The program helps parents in a caring role to recognise that it’s ok to take time out for themselves to focus on their own wellbeing and this can be achieved through something as simple as coffee and conversation," she added.

The parent Support Group will be offered in the coming months to families in the metropolitan and metropolitan East regions of Victoria as well as Brunswick, Mornington Peninsula, Ballarat and Packenham.

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