Large grant delights staff

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JOHN.COSGROVE@nullcluthaleader.co.nz

Tokomairiro Early Learning Centre staff are thrilled and grateful it is the recipient of a $30,000 grant from the Otago Community Trust.

The centre’s grant was one of the bigger allocations in the current round of Otago Community Trust funding.

Manager Joanne Mead said the grant helped the early learning centre get to its fundraising goal a lot quicker than anticipated.

“We are fundraising around $100,000 to upgrade the outdoor environment at the Johnson St centre in Milton and this and several other grateful awards have helped us get up to $65,000 in a short time.

“There is still a way to go but we are confident we will get there.”

She said the aim of the project was to provide an outdoor environment that challenged children physically and encouraged them to engage with nature.

“The work we would like to do includes the construction of a new sandpit away from the door to stop the sand being transported inside by the children, the installation of a new soft-fall ground surface [Tiger Turf] which replaces one installed in 2007, a new cycling track to teach the children to ride safely, a ponga forest, a swing bridge and the addition of native plantings and water features,” she said.

She said they wanted a more natural playground for the 55 full-time and part-time pupils who attended the Johnson St centre.

The centre opened in 1991 and offers low-cost early childhood services to children aged up to 5 years old.

In 2011, due to increased demand and an expanding roll, a second centre was opened nearby in Spenser St.

The Otago Community Trust’s first funding round for 2019 has allocated more than $700,000 in funding in support of a wide range of community causes.

Youth support and development programmes were key drivers in many of the applications for funding.