Find out more about the Vision, Mission, and Purpose behind Interchange Network and the History that made us.
Underpin a more inclusive community that shares the responsibility for the wellbeing of all, celebrates and promotes difference and strives for inclusiveness and choice.
Empower our network of member agencies to continually build more inclusive services that grow community connections and bring joy to families and individuals living with disability.
Support member agencies to maximise the impact of their programs and services by:
We are open, honest and accountable in all our practices.
We contribute to and work with the broader community to bring about positive changes for individuals and society. We recognise that a fair community means that all people have the right to equal opportunities and justice and can participate fully within their communities.
We aim to maximize our enterprise opportunities and undertake responsible financial management.
We provide a supportive environment for our Board, staff, volunteers and partners to excel in the provision of services with standards and systems that support and build on the strengths of Interchange Network.
We value and promote a positive and safe work environment that supports diversity and values individual abilities and contribution.
Interchange was established in 1980 by Maureen Crawford, whose five-year-old son James had an intellectual disability. As his needs continued to increase as he grew older, she was struggling to cope and couldn’t find the help she needed.
“The pressure of caring for James alone became physically and emotionally crippling,” Maureen said.
“There was not one community body in our area able to offer respite care on a regular basis. Other parents like myself were isolated, often lacking in self-esteem, and unable to organise themselves because of the heavy, daily pressure of caring for their disabled children.”
Maureen also worried about the long-term effects this strain would have on her and her family.
“As my other children were growing older, I realised that not only was I unable to help him to develop outside interests, but that the locked doors, gates, etc. were isolating my children to an unnatural degree,” Maureen said.
“This led to the realisation that if relief was not available on a regular basis, I and the rest of the family would disintegrate. I cannot stress how important this feeling of impending disintegration was in the motivation behind Interchange.”
Together with a small group of other parents, she developed the first Interchange program in Camberwell, Victoria, which is now known as Interchange Inner East. The program was designed to provide a regular break for families who had a child with a disability, through sharing the care with others. These volunteer ‘hosts’ would care for the child on a regular basis, providing a much needed break for parents, but it was also recognised as an incredibly enjoyable experience for the person with a disability and the host.
Since then, Interchange and its programs have grown from strength to strength with a broad range of services now being offered across Victoria, South Australia and some areas of New South Wales.
Hear from Maureen herself here
Maureen Crawford holds a meeting of professional workers and parents who overwhelmingly support the establishment of Victoria's first Interchange program.
St John’s Home for Boys and Girls in Canterbury is chosen as the first Interchange Auspice Agency. This agency is now known as Interchange Inner East. First training program for volunteer carers commences, with 19 host families attending. Interchange receives its first government grant of $4000 in the International Year of Disabled Persons. Interchange Illawarra launches.
Interchange Outer East, Interchange Northern and Interchange Barwon (now Gateways) are formed.
A state-wide body, Interchange Victoria (that’s us!), is incorporated to ensure Interchange’s financial security, to set and maintain minimum service objectives, to resource new and developing services and to coordinate state-wide publicity.
Interchange Gippsland and Interchange Central Highlands, as well as Interchange South Australia are formed.
There are ten regional and seven metropolitan Interchange programs across Victoria.
Interchange Victoria undergoes a large business restructure and moves premises from Braybrook to Melbourne’s CBD.
Interchange Victoria officially changes its name to Interchange Incorporated to reflect its nationwide operations.
Click below to watch a video of our founder story