My Place: Debbie Vella

Debbie Vella Photo: Damjan Janevski

Altona Meadows resident and local maternal and child health nurse, Debbie Vella, has seen thousands of children grow. She speaks with Goya Dmytryshchak.

What’s your connection to Hobsons Bay?

I have lived most of my life and raised my family in Hobsons Bay. Attended school, worked at both Williamstown and Altona hospitals. I have worked at Hobsons Bay City Council for 18 years as a maternal child health nurse. 

What do you like about Altona Meadows?

I like all the parklands we have in Altona Meadows, being able to walk/ride around the Truganina Park, 100 Steps and coastal parklands.

What would you change?

For me, there is nothing that stands out to change. We have everything close at hand: shops, library, community hub and transport. We are close to the beach and can see lots of local birdlife when out walking. We have great neighbours and good links with our community. 

What’s your favourite local cafe or eatery?

There’s several restaurants I like to visit: Sunset Thai in Pier Street would be my favourite – friendly staff and great food. We would generally run in to people we know each time we go there. 

Can you tell me about the trials and joys of being a maternal child health nurse?

Being a maternal and child health nurse in Hobsons Bay, I have had great job satisfaction supporting families from those early first weeks and years to seeing them head off to kinder and school. I have been able to see second and third and more children in the family through the early years. Being in a centre co-located with the kindergarten, I have seen them grow confidently through their kinder year. I have the pleasure of seeing them in the community growing in to young adults.

There are occasions when there may be concerns with the child or parent that have required addressing issues and referrals with the family. Working towards the best outcome for the child and family is always our primary focus.

What’s something people would be surprised to know about you?

Taking part in obstacle races may be a surprise to some. Joining a local gym, Fitness for Her at Central Square, several years ago saw me practice what I tell parents to do – make a little time and look after yourself.