PARENTS in Henty and Walla may have successfully secured daycare services in the region after learning earlier this week that their centre would close.
A public meeting in Henty on Thursday night attracted families and community members from the eastern Riverina and parents are confident they won’t lose the much-needed service in 2019.
Initially parents learned of the planned closure of the Early Years Childcare service through the media earlier this week. It meant that more than 40 children, aged under three years, and up to 5, didn’t have access to childcare in the region.
On Friday morning, Rachael Terlich said the outcome of the meeting was positive. She said there was an option for Greater Hume Council to help out in providing a “stop gap" and allowing the centre to remain open until a new service provider to run it into the future was found.
Unlike larger towns and cities Henty residents didn’t have access to other options like family daycare or competing childcare centres.
Mrs Terlich said the drive to take children to either Wagga or Albury certainly wasn’t an option.
“I am confident we will have something up and running towards the end of January (or end of the daycare holiday break) in this area,” she said.
Mrs Terlich said the Henty meeting drew about 50 people and it was a clear demonstration of how a small community was able to rally together.
“We certainly didn’t take this laying down,” she said.
A committee of Mrs Terlich and two other parents, who use the centre, has been formed and there will be more meetings and discussions about finding a solution.
Aside from providing a childcare service she said the service was so important for the emotional and social development of young children before they attend preschool and primary school.
“We are entitled to the same availability and options as our urban counterparts,” she said.
To the south, and also in the eastern Riverina, parents at Walla faced a similar situation. Walla Walla Community Development Committee chairman Daniel Nadebaum said a meeting was held to address the issue.
He said it was hoped, like Henty, that another provider could be found to secure the centre for families in 2019 and beyond.
“We really do need daycare services in our towns,” he said.
A meeting will be held at Walla next Tuesday at 6pm to discuss the options with parents. Mr Nadebaum said it was also vital to gague how many enrollements they would have for next year and he was calling on parents in the region to contact him.