Northampton’s only ECEC facility gets $60k last minute reprieve
The only early childhood education and care (ECEC) facility in Northampton, a town located 52 kilometres north of Geraldton, Western Australia, has received a last minute reprieve from closure, in what local news source, The MidWest Times described as a “Hail Mary” grant application success.
The grant, which was funded by the Western Australian Department of Communities, provided an injection of funds in the amount of $60,000, with The Times reporting that the grant application was ‘given the thumbs up’ by the Department last week, despite it being submitted past the funding round’s closure date.
Centre advocate, Emily Williams, told The Times that the grant money would not keep the centre open indefinitely, but would give the centre more time to find a way to save the service, which is currently struggling to secure enough enrolments to remain viable.
She cited the cessation of State funding two years ago as a major contributor to the decline of the centre, saying that when the regular funding, between $20,000 and $40,000 stopped the centre ““wound down on profit” and has since slipped into deficit, due to a lack of enrolments.
For the centre to remain viable, Ms Williams told The Times, an extra five enrolments per day were required – something which is a challenges in the small town, owing in part to a transient population.
A perception in the community that child care was unaffordable, coupled with strong support systems in the community providing free child care were also contributing factors, she said.
For those families in the community without support, closing the centre would prove “disastrous”, Ms Williams said, saying that such families would need to look at moving or ceasing employment if care was not available.
The grant to the centre came after an anonymous donor provided sufficient funds to keep the centre open until the end of August. The grant, Ms Williams said, should allow the centre to remain open for 12 months, and was “a glimmer of hope”
Whilst the community would continue to fundraise and try and close gaps in funding, Ms Williams said the only long term solution was to secure more enrolments.
To read the full story, as published by The Times, please see here.