Never more reason: Sparkways CEO speaks on Victorian Government commitment to early learning
The Sector > Economics > Affordability & Accessibility > Never more reason: Sparkways CEO speaks on Victorian Government commitment to early learning

Never more reason: Sparkways CEO speaks on Victorian Government commitment to early learning

by Freya Lucas

August 22, 2022

As Victorian families wait to learn how nine billion dollars in state government investment is going to be distributed, Sparkways CEO Angela Forbes says there’s never been more reason to partner with local government to place services where Melbourne families need them the most. 


“It’s a simple fact that’s now seemingly become a lot more apparent to a lot more people,” Ms Forbes began.


“Access to early learning and care services can change your life – and where you live determines whether you can get it, or not.”


“Access to out-of-home support is critical to women’s employment. We’re not just talking about more people out and working. We’re talking about employment that has the capacity to change lives.”


“For many of the children and families we serve at Sparkways, this investment has the potential to lift families out of the cycle of disadvantage – away from those soul-destroying moments where people are forced to put a few items back at the supermarket checkout,” she continued. 


“For people experiencing disadvantage, appropriate, affordable early learning and care can be the gateway to financial and emotional security.”


“It’s been a hot topic of discussion at the moment thanks to the Andrew’s Government recent announcement about the early years, but for those of us working in the industry (sic.), it’s an investment I know families and people working in the sector have jumped for joy over.”


As head of a non-profit which has been supporting Melbourne’s most vulnerable children and young people for 139 years, Ms Forbes said her mind “immediately turns to people in areas of our city known for both its disadvantage and extraordinary growth.”


“This new government announcement has the potential to change this reality for the better, and I applaud it,” she said.


“I’m optimistic the current government will ensure that financial support is delivered not just to parents but also provided to deliver quality education in every service throughout Victoria.”


“Hopefully this funding will bring a level of consistency to the sector where has it traditionally left gaps for organisations like Sparkways to fill.”


“At Sparkways, we have made it our priority to offer high quality, low-cost early years educational and mentoring opportunities to families in many areas of Melbourne.  In fact, we’ve been empowering children and young people to find their spark since 1883.”


“We understand the importance of continuing to place ourselves where families experiencing disadvantage need us the most, with 45 kindergarten and childcare centres across Melbourne and an ongoing focus on Melbourne’s fringe suburbs, including the north and west.”


As Melbourne grows, Sparkways is making sure its early learning and care services are placed to match the needs of the quickly expanding city.


“This is why Sparkways is focussed on building partnerships with councils in areas of need to help fill the service gaps that exist,” Ms Forbes explained. 


“Our most recent is a partnership with Maribyrnong Council where we recently celebrated the official opening of early learning services in Footscray’s learning precinct.” 


Billy Button Children’s Centre, she continued, is “a marvelous service” right in one of the areas Melbournians need it the most, offering maternal child health, childcare and kinder – all right next to Footscray City Primary School.


“Another example of this is our partnership with the City of Melton to deliver Deanside Kindergarten. Co-located with Deanside Primary School, our vibrant, state of the art kindergarten provides inclusive, high-quality, play-based preschool programs for three- and four-year-old children in Deanside and surrounds.”


“These are small steps but they are meaningful and I’m glad we are one step closer to providing the kind of support we know families need- not just in Melbourne’s west – but across the state.”


Learn more about Sparkways here.  

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