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More $’s for Bourke childcare services

Ezekiel Gooch, Jackson Whitbread, Harvey Willoughby and Tia Morris at the Bourke and District Child Care Centre. Photo TWH

Bourke and District Children’s services is to receive another $200,000 as part of a $3.3 million funding boost for critical childcare services throughout the Parkes electorate.

Federal Member for Parkes, Mark Coulton, welcomed the additional $3.3 million to support vital childcare services in the Parkes electorate and help meet the needs of local families.

Mr Coulton said 15 services in the Parkes electorate will receive funding through the Coalition Government’s Community Child Care Fund (CCCF).

“This funding will help local childcare services improve access to quality care, particularly in remote, rural and disadvantaged parts of the Parkes electorate,” Mr Coulton said.

“It will be good for our local kids, good for our hard-working families and ultimately for our community. It will also have a positive economic benefit by allowing more local parents to get back into work or to take on additional hours if they chose.

“The funds will support services in areas such as Bourke, Coonamble and Lightning Ridge that may need support to keep operating, or to fund capital projects to improve services and increase the number of places available.”

General Manager of Bourke and District Children’s Services, Prue Ritchie, said the funding would enable the service to continue operating.

Prue said the organisation was committed to sourcing further funding to enable it to accommodate more children, in particular vulnerable youngsters in the community.

“The funding will help us cover the base costs of the childcare centre and we are appreciative of that,” Prue said.

“We are still trying to fill a funding gap, however. We were unable to secure capital works funding through the program which would have enabled us to refurbish the kitchen and make the building more suitable, but unfortunately, we weren’t successful in that round.

“The sustainability funding won’t enable us to fill the full need in the community, because now there are more children than we can accommodate.

“We are working towards a longer-term solution and are currently working on a project to scope out the co-location of the childcare, pre-school and other early childhood services.

“We can’t take on more children until we address that funding gap, so we’ll continue to work with our federal government and philanthropic partners to find a solution,” she said.

There was plenty to celebrate during the week though, with the laying of the carved sandstone at the pre-school as part of the landscaping of the front garden on the site.

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