Childcare hub finally on its way

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
Augusta childcare committee members Melissa Crain, Jasmine Meagher and Wendy Tunbridge, with Kylie Lucas, front, and Daisy, 4, and Archer Crain, 6.
Camera IconAugusta childcare committee members Melissa Crain, Jasmine Meagher and Wendy Tunbridge, with Kylie Lucas, front, and Daisy, 4, and Archer Crain, 6.

A group of Augusta women have finally won support from the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River Council to develop a new community childcare centre within the Augusta Recreation Centre.

The project — which will support jobs and working families in the seaside hamlet, which has no alternative childcare service — was backed unanimously by councillors last week after months of working through fine details.

Councillors applauded the group’s detailed application, which included an architect’s plan, as well as fundraising of more than $160,000.

The cost to redevelop the southern wing of the recreation centre was estimated at more than $600,000, including construction of new toilets and increasing sewerage capacity.

The project began as an application to the Shire’s COVID-19 community care fund, and would now become a significant fixture in Augusta’s social scene, lead organiser Jasmine Meagher said.

“This is more than developing a childcare centre for our town,” she said.

“It’s about breathing life back into a valuable community asset.”

Adequate childcare for Augusta families would free up residents, and mothers in particular, to take up more work, she said, while programs envisaged for the centre included out-of-hours and holiday care, as well as engaging with the region’s seniors.

The group has 92 registered children on a wait-list.

Ms Meagher hoped the service would become self-sustaining and grow to include breakfast clubs and a soup kitchen, thanks to the Shire investment of $300,000.

Shire chiefs would now seek extra outside funding for the project and undertake a detailed costs analysis of upgrading the recreation centre as part of the “high-priority project”.

The group continues its fundraising mission, with sale of Who Gives A Crap toilet rolls for sale.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails