CASTERTON Childcare Action Group received an unexpected pre-Christmas gift of $50,000 from the Casterton Kindergarten Committee of Management last week.
The donation raised the group’s contribution to the new Kathleen Millikan Childcare Centre to more than $81,000; a total well in excess of its $75,000 target.
The gift was presented to the action group by kindergarten president Loren Hulm at the kindergarten’s annual general meeting on December 3 and came as a complete surprise to the action group members who attended.
“The Casterton Childcare Action Group is extremely grateful to receive such a fantastic contribution from the Casterton Kindergarten,” action group spokeswoman Vikki O’Brien said.
“The CCCAG is grateful for all contributions that we have received and we are proud to say that this total now exceeds our target of $75,000. We have now raised more than $81,000 to contribute to the equipment and furniture for the new complex, which is a fantastic effort from our local community.
“We know the new Kathleen Millikan Centre will be a fantastic asset to our town and we will be excited to see its completion next year,” she said.
The old kindergarten and the daycare centre were demolished two weeks ago to make way for the new $1.6million complex, which received $1.1 million in funding from the State Government earlier this year.
Member for Lowan Hugh Delahunty and Member for Western Victoria David Koch announced back in May the $1.1m funding was approved by Minister for Children and Early Childhood Development Wendy Lovell to deliver a purpose-built facility and improved family services options.
“This is great news for local children in the Casterton region, not just now, but well into the future,” Mr Delahunty said.
He said the project was important to Casterton and the council because, from an economic development point of view, if people are going to live and invest in country towns, they want to make sure they have kindergarten and childcare facilities available for them.
“I know there was a lot of work done by the council and the action group for a number of years to get this facility up and running. David Koch and I are pleased that we have achieved this in less than two years of being in government.
“Some of those families who met with me all those years ago, their children are probably in high school now.
The action group ladies kept in touch with me constantly and it is to their credit that the centre will now go ahead.
”It hasn’t been easy, we have had pretty tough times in the state, and we have had a few things to sort out, which we are doing. It was important that we could see our way clear to not only to recognise our $500,000 commitment back in 2010 but also to put another $600,000 beside it.
“We were hoping for some support from the Federal Government, which didn’t come through in its budget, and Wendy in her capacity re-jigged figures and we worked our way through there and it is fantastic that the shire is prepared to pick a third of the outgoings and bring this to the Casterton community,” he said at the time.
Glenelg Shire Mayor Cr Karen Stephens said the $50,000 donation was an absolute tribute and recognition for the 7 years of hard work that the Casterton Child Care Action Group has dedicated to this community.
“It has been a great journey for the group and they have now achieved their goal, my congratulations to them all for raising more than $80,000 to date,” she said.
“Casterton is very lucky to once again have such a committed group of volunteers working tirelessly for the benefit of the community.
“Over many years now the kindergarten has been raising funds each year for the continual upgrade of equipment at the centre.
“I believe the decision by the Kathleen Millikan Centre Committee of Management is in line with the aspirations for the use of money raised and will see our new centre with the most impressive internal and external fit out in the state,” Cr Stephens said.
The $1.6m is just for the building alone and the council and community will have to dig deep into their pockets to pay for carpet, furnishings, carpark, landscaping and other incidentals that are not included in the funding.