What is the Interchange Host / Buddy Program?
The Interchange Program matches a person with a disability with a volunteer buddy or host family who share their time with that child on a regular basis.
Interchange volunteers are everyday people with no special qualifications. Volunteers can be a couple, with or without children, single people, young adults or grandparents.
Please refer to our COVID-19 Current Services Update page for a regularly updated list of available services, including Gateways Online programs.
How the Program Works
- Volunteers are carefully screened by Gateways and have a current Crim Check,
- Working with Children card, clear reference checks and a home and safety check.
- Volunteers receive training and ongoing support from Gateways Interchange staff.
- Volunteers commit to providing care for your child on a regular basis, such as one weekend a month, one day a fortnight or a few hours each week.
- The Program provides opportunities for friendship and positive experiences for children with a disability, as well as providing families with a break from their caring role.
“I love going to my host family… I get to do lots of different things” – 16 year old Interchange Participant
“Mary’s Interchange Hosts are very special for us because they are people who choose to be her friends (rather than paid carers).” – Interchange Parent
“Our children have gained so much from their friendship with Jane.” – Interchange Host
How do I find out more?
To register for the Interchange Host / Buddy Program or to find out more about becoming an Interchange Volunteer please contact Gateways Interchange workers via Contact Us or by phoning 5221 2984 (Geelong) (03) 9396 1111 (Western Melbourne).
This program is supported by funding from the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments under the HACC program.