A RALLY has been held this morning to protest the closure of the Little Possums child care centre in Mundaring.
Mundaring Sharing will close the child care centre on February 1, partly because the legal responsibilities to be an approved childcare provider is outside of their core business to provide adult education.
Mundaring Sharing chair Anthea Fellows said the decision had not been reached lightly.
“After many months of exploration, the Mundaring Sharing committee have been unable to reach a workable outcome that would ensure the future of Little Possums,” 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.
“We are a volunteer-run committee and currently we have the legal responsibility for an accredited child care facility.
“Little Possums is a wonderful centre but if something ever happened with a child we would wear the financial and emotional burden which is more than we wish to take on.”
Ms Fellows added there was an immediate need for more space to cater for new and larger classes in the Adult Learning Centre.
A Little Possums spokeswoman said the decision would directly affect 139 families and 160 children.
“Little Possums has been providing creche and daycare services for over 40 years,” she said.
“Originally a creche which allowed mothers to attend classes at Mundaring Sharing, it has grown into a full time daycare and pre-kindy service.
“This decision to close us contradicts written reassurances that the committee would work to transfer its operation to another not-for-profit organisation.
“We attempted to work with them in good faith in a genuine attempt to keep this long-running and much-needed community service open.
“Instead the committee now intends to close the centre at the earliest opportunity, regardless of consequences for children, families or staff.
“There are a lot of angry parents out there and just as many sad kids.”
Parent Renee Kingman has started a petition calling on the Shire of Mundaring to guarantee that Little Possums continues to operate at the same facility.
“We want the Shire to step in and guarantee that the purpose-built childcare building, which is owned by Mundaring Shire and built with Shire funds and Lotterywest grants, remains the Little Possums facility for childcare and early childhood education into the future,” she said.
“The Little Possums staff are well loved by children and it is so highly regarded there is a long waitlist for children.
“Daycare in our hills community is extremely limited, so we need community support to get behind this.”
Shire of Mundaring chief executive Jonathan Throssell said an item will be presented at the December 11 council meeting to consider potential options to continue the Little Possums service.
He said if sub-leasing was not an option, the Shire could consider moving the daycare to another premises with a new lease.
Ms Fellows said Mundaring Sharing would implement the closure as smoothly as possible and would keep parents informed about the progress.