PARENTS across Yarriambiack Shire are anxiously awaiting the outcome of Federal Government grant applications that will decide the fate of four occasional care childcare centres in the municipality.
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Take a Break centres at Warracknabeal, Rupanyup and Minyip have survived on community donations and fundraising since the Federal Government removed a $1.8-million state and federal government childcare program last year.

Murtoa and District Neighbourhood House’s occasional care service has raised fees by 25 per cent to $25 a session to keep the service running.

In March the centres applied for a Federal Government Allocation of Occasional Care Places grant and expect to find out this month whether the application is successful.

Dunmunkle Health general manager Tracy Chenoweth said the Rupanyup and Minyip childcare centres had enough money from donations to survive until the end of June.

Warracknabeal Take a Break co-ordinator Sue Wilson said the centre looked set to stay open until the end of the year.

“We can only survive on community fundraising for so long,” she said.

“We will manage until the end of the year if we keep our belts tight.”

Mrs Wilson said parents would be angry if the application was unsuccessful and would lobby the government for the grants.

“Take a Break is worth fighting for, because once the centres are gone we won’t get them back,” she said.

The childcare centres provide about three hours of care one to two times a week for children aged from six months to five years.

Mrs Wilson said the centres provided an important service to the area.

“Take a Break gives young children the opportunity to socialise and learn with others their age,” she said.

“At the same time it gives busy parents who are often farmers time to run errands and complete work without having to look after their kids.

“If these centres were to go it would be detrimental for children’s development and devastating for parents.”

Yarriambiack Shire Mayor Kylie Zanker said the childcare centres were popular among parents.

“Often parents use them once a fortnight or once every three weeks to share the service with other families,” she said.

Dr Lynne Gleeson, a consultant who handled the grant applications for the centres, said the amount of money the centres received was based on a formula calculated from the number of children who used the childcare service.

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