Funding for Strathfieldsaye children's hub

PLAY: Preschool pupils Brae and Flynn with teacher Stacey Derrick, Amanda Miller, MP, Greg Bickley, councillor Mark Weragoda and Wendy Lovell. Picture: JIM ALDERSEY

PLAY: Preschool pupils Brae and Flynn with teacher Stacey Derrick, Amanda Miller, MP, Greg Bickley, councillor Mark Weragoda and Wendy Lovell. Picture: JIM ALDERSEY

State government pledges $650,000

Eddie Castle

Eddie Castle

THE state government has announced $650,000 towards a children's hub at Strathfieldsaye.

Children and Early Childhood Development Minister Wendy Lovell announced the funding at Strathfieldsaye Preschool yesterday.

The hub will be attached to the existing Club Court Sports Club and will incorporate maternal and child health, early childhood intervention services, a playgroup and a toy library.

Ms Lovell said the new centre would meet demand for kindergarten places in Strathfieldsaye, lifting places for four year-olds from 65 to 132 and again providing a kinder program for up to 66 children aged three years.

It is also near Strathfieldsaye Primary School.

"Having services co-located in one area makes it a one-stop shop for families," she said.

The hub will cost $1.95 million, relying on $1.3 million from the City of Greater Bendigo and community funding.

The council allocated $460,000 in its proposed 2014-2015 budget.

City of Greater Bendigo community partnerships acting manager David Williamson said the council planned to finish the centre by the end of 2015, depending on community consultation.

"The more important thing is that we get the community involved with the planning," he said.

"If it takes longer, we’d prefer that."

Mr Williamson said the council would arrange a community meeting to discuss plans for the centre. A committee will then be formed with community and service representatives.

Strathfieldsaye and districts community enterprise chairman and Club Court Sports Club secretary Eddie Castle was pleased with the announcement.

"We've been in talks with the council for a long time about how the centre will look," he said.

"It's good they're pushing the community aspect and revamping spaces to make more community rooms and more meeting spaces, which will hopefully give some life to the facility that is only open to sporting groups at the moment."

Mr Castle said the community would benefit from having a larger preschool. He said neighbours in his street travelled to Spring Gully and Axedale preschools.

"Not everyone can get into Strathfieldsaye kinder so everyone is going everywhere else," he said.

"A two-room kinder and a multi-purpose room will also allow for growth."

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