The Shepherd Centre welcomes $6.5 million in funding to improve care for children with hearing loss
NDIS provider and charity, The Shepherd Centre has welcomed an announcement from Federal Labor Leader Anthony Albanese pledging $6.5 million in funding to provide better care for children with hearing loss.
The funding includes $2.5 million to establish two new Shepherd Centre facilities in Tasmania – one in Hobart and one in Launceston – to provide critical access to early intervention hearing services for children with all levels of hearing loss and their families, and mentoring programs for young people and teenagers with hearing loss across the state. A further $2.5 million will go towards a new centre in Sydney’s southwest, which is currently the fastest growing region of NSW.
Albanese said children with hearing loss deserve the “best possible start in life”, which begins with care and support. “A Labor government will ensure our kids are looked after, whether through digital or on-the-ground support services. No child will be left behind,” he said.
Alongside the new centres, Labor has pledged $1.5 million to fund the development of a digital HearHub platform, an online service that will deliver listening development assessments and support for families to guide their individualised services and intervention. The online solution ensures that children’s local professionals can be supported around Australia, especially critical for those living in rural and remote areas.
“We are delighted to be welcoming this new funding announcement for Tasmania. The opening of our new sites will allow more children with hearing loss to be closer to early intervention treatment than ever before, with access to world class care in the comfort of their own area,” says Jim Hungerford, CEO of The Shepherd Centre.
“The digital HearHub will see more children across Australia and their families connect with educational hearing services through their local professionals to support their progress,” he added.
The three new services will create several new jobs alongside local volunteer positions to engage with the world-class programs that The Shepherd Centre offers.
The Shepherd Centre has been enabling children with hearing loss to develop their listening and spoken language, literacy, and social skills for over 50 years, ensuring they can go on to achieve their full potential in life. The organisation currently supports hundreds of families across Australia with Online Telehealth for rural and regional areas and nine in-person locations in Tasmania, Canberra, Shellharbour, Wollongong, Oran Park, Liverpool, Macquarie, Newtown and Central Coast (Bateau Bay).