Kids’ care needs a numbers boost

By McIvor Times

WHEN something or someone in our town is in trouble, everyone gets behind and offers support.

That’s why, with the Heathcote after-school care program in danger of closing down, it is hopeful of rallying local support.

Heathcote After School Care is a not-for-profit community-managed incorporation that commenced operation of the After School Care Program in Heathcote last November in response to a community need and in partnership with Holy Rosary Primary School.

As a voluntary committee, it only needs to pay direct operating costs related to the program and can therefore keep the cost down for families.

The program is funded through parent fees, grants, donations and sponsorship.

To date, the program has received financial support from Holy Rosary Primary School, City of Greater Bendigo, Heathcote and District Community Bank and Mandalay Resources, which has enabled staff to continue operations while bookings increased for it be a viable service.

Carla Jeffrey, president of the Bendigo Community Children’s Services, said the program needs local support if it is to continue to help local parents.

“The program has increased enrolments from two to 44 children from both Holy Rosary and Heathcote Primary Schools, but is only averaging eight to 10 bookings per day, which is not even enough to cover the wages of the staff, so our resources are slowly depleting,” she said.

“We hope this can still be a ‘forever program’ and be extended to also include pupil-free days, before-school care and vacation care, but we need to increase our utilisation now.”

To enquire, please contact the Bendigo Children’s Services on 0435 532 580 or oshc—[email protected]