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SSC Newspaper : August 2011
Strathfield Scene 7 www.ourstrathfield.com.au council news “The numbers of children that have enrolled so far is extremely disappointing,” – Gabrielle Adams. Blooming rubbish New out-of-school centre struggling for numbers By Bernadette Chua Inresponse to the growing demand for out-of-school care in the municipality, the YMCA has set up a new centre at Homebush West Public School – and has 50 available places. Last month, the Scene reported Strathfield was suffering from an acute shortage of well- priced out-of-school care. This new centre, which is open to all local children, was opened precisely to alleviate the growing problem. Equally attractive for working parents is the fee structure being charged by the YMCA: $13.50 for continuing before-school care and $19.50 for afternoons. Casual bookings are $2 extra. Gabrielle Adams, the school’s manager of children’s services, says the only problem is that too few parents know about the centre, with just 10 children enrolled – despite it having been open for a whole term. “ We did some research on the area and the YMCA saw there was a need for out-of-school care. But the numbers of children that have enrolled so far is extremely disappointing,” Adams said. “It has only picked up very slightly and we’ve had a lot of positive feedback from the children and from the parents who have enrolled their kids.” At present the centre has 60 vacancies. Enrolment is not limited to students from Homebush West Public School, but to all primary school children in the area. Adams says parents have been reluctant to enrol their children in the program because the centre needed clearance for the government’s childcare rebate, but that this is now in full swing. “Initially, a lot of parents were concerned about not receiving the rebate and having to pay full cost, but the parents who were the first to enrol their children have [now] been credited their money.” Adams hopes parents of some of the children on the waiting list for other out-of- hours centres will consider enrolling into the YMCA program. If not, it may be forced to close its doors. “ We only get four or five kids in the morning, and about 10 kids in the afternoon but if the numbers don’t pick up, then the centre will not be financially viable,” she said. “ We’re hoping things start to pick up. We understand we’re a new service but we can assure parents our kids never want to leave at the end of the day. They have so much fun.” In July, Strathfield Council voted to set up a working group to look at the issue of out-of- hours care in the municipality and to lobby for greater funding from the state government and non-government agencies. They may appear to be fresh flowers and a painted ceramic fruit bowl – but think again. Look closer and you will see the flowers are made out of old newspapers and magazines, while the colourful bowl is woven out of plastic bags. Strathfield Council’s Treading Lightly program will teach residents how to make these items out of household rubbish. Workshop facilitator Elizabeth Graves says more and more people are using scrap materials to make decorative items, especially with increased awareness of sustainable living. “There is a growing movement of people motivated by climate change and the impacts of over-consumption,” she says. “This workshop will show people how materials we throw away every day can be given new life as we turn disposable plastic bags into mats, baskets or anything you like.” The program will be held on 20 August, starting at 9.30am at the High Street Community Library. Cost: free. To register, call 9748 9999. Two days of festival fun for all the family at Strathfield Park. Featuring Justice Crew and lots of live entertainment, cultural displays, Kidz World, carnival rides, Sports Quarter and a huge variety of food and market stalls. www.strathfieldspringfestival.com.au Follow us on STALLHOLDER ENQUIRIES Contact Laini on (02) 9960 1733 or email email@example.com Strathfield Spring Festival 10 & 11 September 2011 STALLHOLDER ENQUIRIES Contact Laini on (02) 9960 1733 or email firstname.lastname@example.org Homebush resident Johanna Zirkzee celebrated her 100th birthday on August 4. Zirkzee moved from the Netherlands to Australia in 1959, has lived in the area with her family for 30 years. She attributes her long and prosperous life to good genes. “ We take mum to visit her brother, who lives in Taree. He’s 93,” says her son Herman Zirkzee. “Mum comes from a family of 14 and they all lived well into their late 80s but mum and her brother are definitely the exception.” 100 not out From L-R: Erika Zirkzee, Herman Zirkzee, Tony Maroun, Gerada Zirkzee; Bottom: Johanna zirkzee Geetha Tadaka and Lakshy enrolled at Homebush OOSH FLOraL TRiBuTE: This bouquet was made from newspaper pages, while the bowl was produced from old plastic shopping bags.