THE withdrawal of management services by Uniting Care Gippsland four years ago, prompted the kinders and childcare service providers in the Corner Inlet area to join forces and form the Prom Coast Centres for Children (PCCC).
It’s been a good move for the communities of Fish Creek, Foster, Toora and Welshpool, however while funding is sufficient for on-going operations, the group doesn’t have the resources to maintain, refurbish and expand.
So last Wednesday, the PCCC brought a deputation to the South Gippsland Shire Council to lay out the group’s strategic vision.
The PCCC has got some big ideas and with a waiting list at Foster and some significant disadvantaged needs at other centres, they believe they have a good case for both shire support and government grants.
The deputation was led by PCCC President Kate Woodward who started with a positive, saying the shire was heavily involved with saving the centres after Uniting Care departed, through community services director Jan Martin at the time, but it was now time to look to the future.
What the PCCC wants to do:
• Add a fourth room at Foster (babies room)
• Develop admin/reception area at Foster
• Fish Creek refurbishment
• Investigate integrated kinder models of delivery to improve capacity and continuity of learning at Foster
• Establish partnership with Foster Primary School for outside-school hours care (PCCC Foster Centre “is inadequate to fully service the growing community demand for this service”).
• Develop a range of integrated early childhood solutions for the Toora and Welshpool communities.
Ms Woodward said an integration of services was the preferred format and the PCCC would like to see further planning on that in the near future.
This doesn’t mean each town won’t retain its centre. Quite the opposite.
Ms Woodward said the development of facilities at Fish Creek, Foster, Toora and Welshpool could result in community hubs in each town that could also deliver a range of community services, up to and including adult education.
Crs Argento, Skinner and McEwen all asked questions of the deputation.
Scope of the PCCC: The organisation offers a variety of children’s services at four centres (Long day care and kinder at Foster; kinder and pre-kinder at Fish Creek, Toora and Welshpool; after-school care for primary age children and a school holiday program for primary school age children) and employs 30 staff including trainees and apprentices.