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    Bryony Futerieal, Shelley Hartle and Brooke Claridge and their children called for childcare solutions in Edenhope in 2021.

West Wimmera council outlines childcare proposal

West Wimmera families planning to use a new childcare service at Edenhope can soon register their interest. 

Following an extensive investigation period, West Wimmera Shire Council hopes to open a childcare service in Edenhope by April. 

The council set aside money in its 2020-21 budget to investigate childcare needs in the shire. 

Following an initial report by Rachel Robinson from Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, it engaged Community Child Care to examine the feasibility of establishing a pilot childcare program in Edenhope. 

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Community Child Care worked with council staff and Murdoch Children’s Research Institute to complete  preliminary elements of the study. 

At a special forum in December, councillors agreed to proceed to the next stage of the feasibility investigation, also led by Community Child Care.

The final stage will include calling for expressions of interest from families wishing to fill places in the proposed service, to confirm demand. 

This stage will also include applying for necessary regulatory approvals, seeking access to the Federal Government’s childcare assistance scheme and investigating any other grants that might be available to help with both recurrent and establishment costs.

Subject to confirmation of demand and providing all approvals have been met, the council will start the pilot service in Edenhope from April 26, the start of the second school term.

The pilot program will operate four days a week, Monday to Thursday. 


Council chief executive David Bezuidenhout said the council would formally call for expressions of interest this month to fill places at the service.

“In doing so, families will be asked to nominate specific days they wish to enrol their children for childcare,” he said. 

“For three and four-year-old children, the childcare will supplement their existing two days per week enrolment in the kindergarten program.” 

Mr Bezuidenhout said existing kindergarten enrolments would be unaffected by adding the childcare component.

“Families can simply opt to add up to two days of childcare at the Edenhope Early Learning Centre,” he said. 

“For children aged up to two years, enrolments will be available for up to four days a week.” 

The council will notify families of the opening of the expressions of interest process via newspaper advertisements, various social-media outlets, emails and notifications to key employer organisations. More information of proposed hours of operation and other necessary details will be available at that time. 

“Based on initial research, the council expects the proposed pilot project will be proven to be feasible through these important next steps,” Mr Bezuidenhout said. 

“This will allow the council to then formally approve the pilot and allow us to finalise staffing and other necessary details to start this exciting initiative.” 

Mr Bezuidenhout said while the pilot project was likely to meet Edenhope families’ childcare needs, there was also need extending beyond existing provisions in Kaniva and elsewhere within the shire. 

“The council will continue to monitor these needs and investigate options for expanding provisions in the future,” he said.

People seeking more information can call council community development and tourism manager Vin McKay on 0438 010 563.

The entire January 19, 2022 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!