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The announcement of the centre’s closure ignited a strong community outcry for a continuation of its services.

No winners in battle over child care

THE fate of Little Possums daycare and kindergarten will be decided at a Mundaring Council meeting on Tuesday. 

The announcement of the centre’s closure ignited a strong community outcry for a continuation of the services.

Currently more than 130 families and 160 children use the centre.

The premises is owned and operated by Mundaring Sharing who lease the site from the Shire of Mundaring.

Earlier in November, the adult learning centre advised the Shire that operating as an approved child care centre was outside of their core business and presented complex legal responsibilities. 

In a public statement Mundaring Sharing chairwoman Anthea Fellows said the Committee of Mundaring Sharing had been unable to reach an outcome that would ensure the future of Little Possums and the centre would close on February 1, 2019.

“This decision has not been reached lightly,” she said.

“As a not-for-profit organisation, the decision is partially in response to the complex legal responsibilities of being the approved provider for a child care centre.

“In addition, there is an immediate need for more space to cater for new and larger classes in the adult learning centre.”

In Hills women take to the Tools (Echo News, November 17) Mundaring Sharing announced its plan to create Perth’s second Women’s Shed.

Little Possums Association acting chairperson Adrian Woodley contacted Echo News on November 19 concerned $300,000 of funding would be transferred away from Little Possums and directed into the Women’s Shed.

“I am quite confident that we will be able to continue to offer child care services in the new year, and reasonably confident that this will be in the existing facility,” association member he said.

“I have much less confidence that the new committee will be able to retain the funds currently associated with Little Possums. 

“The Little Possums parent community fully supports Mundaring Sharing’s endeavours to establish a Women’s Shed in the Mundaring community.

“However this should not be at the expense of the quality, affordable child care and early childhood education services which Little Possums currently provides that same community.”

Mundaring Sharing chairperson Anthea Fellows said there had been no decision made about where the money would be spent, nor could a decision be made until Council’s resolution on Tuesday.

“Currently it is sitting in the same bank accounts, it has not been touched by Mundaring Sharing and is currently being used to run Little Possums,” she said.

“Once a decision has been made on Tuesday regarding the submission the Little Possums Association is putting to Council we will then know what will be done with the funds.

“At this stage we’re not spending any money or deciding what’s going to happen with the money until a decision has been made at council.”

In response to a barage of online criticism, Mundaring Sharing issued a statement.

“It has been disappointing that misinformation has been circulated and continues to be circulated throughout the community,” the statement said.

“Mundaring Sharing Inc may, in due course, consider a donation of equipment or funding to assist a not-for-profit incorporated body to relocate Little Possums.”

The new association held a rally on Tuesday morning in a show of support for the continuation of the centre.

It is not yet known what options Shire administration officers will present to the Council for the centre’s future.

The item is expected to come as a late report, available at the meeting.

By Claire Ottaviano

About The Editorial Team

Echo News gives readers an alternative to other media outlets in WA and enjoys a very high rate of readership in its distribution area. Our Echo News team are a small group of devoted individuals who work hard to give the local community an easy to read, yet intelligent mix of local community stories.

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