Wednesday, May 09, 2012

it's official - sherbrooke family & children's centre opened today

What a wonderful celebration of community activism and council cooperation at the opening of Stage 1 of the Sherbrooke Family and Children’s Centre today.

James Merlino, Member for Monbulk
with SOSCC Campaigners,
Jenny and Claire and
Cr Samantha Dunn celebrating
the opening of stage one
of Sherbrooke Family &
Children's Centre.
I was delighted to be able to speak at the event. The issue of childcare is very dear to my heart, saving Sherbrooke Children’s Centre was the very reason I ran for council in the first place.

It was wonderful to regale in some of the stories of the Save Our Sherbrooke Children’s Centre (SOSCC) and acknowledge the efforts of those parents who campaigned relentlessly to save the much loved council run, community based, long day care in the Dandenong Ranges. If we hadn’t got angry and active then we wouldn’t be celebrating today’s journey.
SOSCC members, Jenny Lindstedt, Samantha Dunn
and Claire Ferres-Miles. This SOLD sign was one of the
 props created by SOSCC back in 2005, to be used for
a media stunt in another attempt to save the centre.
I was very pleased to be able tear it up in a symbolic
 gesture of celebration.
We certainly wont be needing it anymore.

I pay tribute to those parents who made who gave up a substantial part of their lives to saving this centre, you should feel very proud of your achievements for without you we wouldn’t be standing here today. It is wonderful to see our vision of integrated children’s services become a reality.
It was important to acknowledge the SOSCC group, they were instrumental in putting up a hard fight to council to save this centre and campaigned relentlessly.
  • Claire Ferres-Miles
  • Christiaan O’Dea
  • Matthew Clarke
  • Faorligh Hunter  
  • Kevin Jose
  • Peter Kinrade
  • Jenny Lindstedt
  • Ingrid Wood
  • Matthew Clear
  • Hans Damen
  • Samantha Dunn
Of course a lot of effort has gone into saving the centre but it wouldn’t be possible without funding and this project is a great example of the three tiers of government working together. I acknowledge my colleagues on council who unanimously supported an allocation of over $5million towards this project. We were also assisted by Jason Wood (Federal member for Latrobe at the time), with a grant of $1.6million and by James Merlino (State member for Monbulk) who’s office not only assisted the SOSCC greatly, the state government also provided a grant to council of $0.5million.
Sherbrooke Family & Children's Centre chef, Antonio
did an amazing job with this cake to celebrate the
opening of stage one. Antonio is passionate about
providing the children with nutritious and diverse
food selections and is much loved by children
(and parents too!).
The development of the centre has been quite a journey, including a 2 year stint meeting regularly on the Project Control Group (PCG), touring centres around Melbourne to work out what were the best options for this centre and working with community around issues as well as formal public consultation sessions.
I particularly thank PCG members:
  • Chris Clerici – the Shire’s Project Manager
  • Karen Bowen – our Childcare Services Coordinator
  • Alissya McKinnon – Sherbrooke Children’s Centre Coordinator
  • Sue Lakeland – Upwey Community Link
  • Tammy Dance – Upwey Pre School
  • Claire Ferres-Miles - Sherbrooke Children’s Centre Parents Advisory Committee Rep
  • Malcolm Aspinall – Upwey Primary School
  • and Sam Shattock & Peter Sandow – architects for the project.
Cr Samantha Dunn and
architect Sam Shattock. Sam
has been instrumental in the
design of the centre and has
done a great job incorporating
the needs of the centre, working
with the community as well as
designing a facility to fit into a
challenging site.
The architects have come up with a wonderful design, it is a great example of what a municipal building should be, a statement of aspiration and a reflection of the community.
I have no doubt there is a demand for this model of childcare in the Dandenongs, the current waiting list consists of 150 families, more than 150 children. I look forward to seeing the project completed and the facility bursting with children getting the best start in life.

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