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Community owned and operated Old Bar Preschool is enjoying a much needed extension which has had many benefits for the local area.

Preschool Director Merrilyn McLoughlin said she was still getting used to the fact that her Centre had doubled in size.

“Before we were quite crowded and couldn’t meet the needs of the community. Not only is our building and yard bigger now, but there is a large increase in the number of families that are now using this service,” Ms McLoughlin said.

“We’ve had to put on additional staff so this has created more employment for the region. It has had a bigger impact on the community than just being able to have more kids here.”

A $15,000 grant from the ETC Community Support Fund covered the costs of a new sandpit, turfing, landscaping, indoor furniture and equipment, plus outdoor play equipment.

“We applied for capital grant funding towards the actual building of the extension and the rest of the project was funded through donations and ETC,” Ms McLoughlin said.

“Our wonderful community has really helped by donating materials, labour and money.”

According to Ms McLoughlin the centre provided priority access for disadvantaged families in the local area.

“Including those who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, families for which English is a second language, families supporting children with additional learning needs and low income families,” she said.

“We also provide support to local TAFE students furthering their own education towards a future career in Early Childhood Education by inviting them to complete the practical components of their course at our preschool. We believe this contributes to strengthening our community by increasing the availability of skilled workers.”

Next on the agenda, the Centre is looking at introducing a cooking program to help better the health of children which will cover healthy eating habits and more.

ETC’s Deputy Chair Lorraine Penn said it was a pleasure to be able to support the Old Bar Preschool.

“The ETC Community Support Fund is designed to help organisations reduce disadvantage, generate opportunity, increase support services and/or build capacity in the communities in which we operate,” Ms Penn said.

“ETC is proud to be a not-for-profit company and we are confident the money we are donating will help make a more positive future for our community.”

ETC provides employment, training and business services on the Mid North Coast. If you need help finding a job, are looking for staff or are interested in up-skilling, contact ETC on 1800 007 400 or visit www.etcltd.com.au.



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