PARLIAMENTARY Secretary for School Education and Workplace Relations Senator Jacinta Collins will officially open the Prom Coast Centre for Children (Children’s Hub) in Foster at noon next Monday. She will then tour the site of the new Sandy Point Community Centre, which is due to be completed in December.
The official opening marks the culmination of a highly innovative community project that garnered financial support from the three tiers of government to create a children’s services facility that is expected to become a prototype of integrated services for other centres across the nation. The project is unique in that the integrated services provided at Foster will reach out to the smaller communities of Fish Creek, Toora and Welshpool in what is known as the Hub and Spoke model.
“This facility is the result of lobbying from the community for over ten years to provide long day care in the Corner Inlet district,” said Mayor Cr Warren Raabe. “The Prom Coast Centre for Children brings together a range of early years services including Long Day Care, Kindergarten, Maternal and Child Health and other specialist early intervention services where practitioners work in a multi-agency way to deliver integrated support to children and families.”
In recognition of the great community support for this project, an open day will be held on Saturday 3 September between 9.30am and 12.30pm to enable all interested members of the community to be involved in the celebrations associated with the establishment of the centre.
Members of the public are invited to view the centre and contribute to a piece of community art which will, when complete, be hung in the centre. Local artist and community development worker Marilyn Ardley will supervise this activity.
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In 2000 the Sandy Point community identified that the current hall could no longer meet community needs and actively campaigned for funding for a new centre. The community felt opportunities and issues such as social isolation, internet access, the aged, youth and child care, lifelong learning, visiting health professionals, environmental issues and tourism could not be addressed in the current hall. The new centre will greatly improve the quality and range of participation in social, recreational, cultural and civic activities for residents and visitors.
“These are the largest Commonwealth funded projects to occur in South Gippsland and are indeed worthy of celebration,’ said the Mayor. “They are outstanding examples of local communities willing to work in partnership with Council, State and Federal Governments to achieve their goals.”