28 Mar 2018 McIvor Times, Heathcote VIC (General News) by Michael Mattingly Childrens centre will deliver 35 jobs and lift local economy THE name of our first early learning centre was unveiled in front of a strong crowd of about 60 people. Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes was in attendance on March 13 to turn the first sod and speak to the community about what the centre will bring. The childrens hub will be called Bunbunarik a term from the local Taungurung Clan which means children. The project was given the green light after securing $650,000 worth of funding from the State Government, and will provide 76 places per day for children. The hub will also include consulting rooms for early childhood services such as a maternal child health nurse, Bendigo community health professionals, pastoral care counselling and a multipurpose community room. The feedback we have had has been overwhelming, Sandra Slatter, chair of Heathcote Community Childrens Services Association (HCCSA) said. I think a lot of people didnt understand the fact that the centre will provide jobs for 35 people, which is amazing for a small community like ours. It will just be a huge economical boost for our town. Currently, it is estimated that the childrens centre will be a $1.3 million build, but Mrs Slatter is confident it will be worth every cent. Heathcotes Integrated Childrens Hub will be the catalyst in bringing together a range of services where professionals and community work together to deliver education, care, health and support services to children and their families, she said. The hub will fill a void in the family support services for the Heathcote Community and indeed the wider Bendigo Region. In turn it will create the stimulus for lifting the towns economy, through future housing and business development. Jaclyn Symes said the hub will take a large burden off the shoulders of local families. As a working mother of young children I know how vital childcare services in country towns are, a lack of services holds working parents back and means new families will choose other towns to move to, Ms Symes said. Heathcote will now have a childrens hub which will attract new families to the town. Heathcote Community Childrens Services Association President, Sandra Slatter, championed this project and it has been fantastic working alongside her and the Heathcote community to deliver this facility. We know that high-quality early years education and care are vital to giving our children the best start in life, which is why Labor is investing in first-rate early learning facilities. This exciting new facility will ensure Heathcote families can access quality childcare services closer to home to get their children ready for school and set for life. This project is testament of how small rural communities pull together to achieve a quest, Mrs Slatter said. ? Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes turns the first sod for the early learning centre, which will be named Bunbunarik. More pictures on page 8.Licensed by Copyright Agency. You may only copy or communicate this work with a licence