NEIGHBOURHOOD learning and support groups at Mornington Community House have been thrown a lifeline with Mornington Peninsula Shire stepping in to underwrite the 33-year-old centre.
The news is a relief for parents and participants who had feared for the future of the Albert Street centre which was shut down by liquidators in March.
Mornington Community Contact had run the drop-in centre, meeting place and short term child minding centre from 1977 before it moved to its present address in 1985. Services included education and adult literacy programs, volunteer support, playgroups and childcare.
Shocked parents gathered outside the house after being told only the night before, or that morning, that it was insolvent. (“Parents baffled by childcare loss” The News 5/3/18).
Some had already paid fees for the year and were unsure whether they would get their money back. They had no idea where they would take their children that week.
The welcome commitment comes after the shire stepped in to continue the neighbourhood house program and childcare services and coordinate the delivery of all its classes and activities. Childcare programs will now be managed by Community Kinders Plus.
Other services include three-year-old kinder, occasional childcare, supported playgroups, literacy support groups, mental health support groups and adult education and training.
Money will be provided through the state government’s neighbourhood house coordination program and the shire. In a statement the shire said it aimed to “work with the community to deliver locally relevant programs”.
It said a community advisory committee would “work towards a sustainable community governance model to ensure that the local community continues to have input into the operation and future directions of the community house”.
The mayor Cr Bryan Payne said the house “provided vital services for our community”.
“The council has made an ongoing commitment to ensuring the house continues to operate and is well run for its users,” he said.
“Council has also committed funding in its 2018-19 budget towards detailed designs for a potential new facility.”
Cr Bev Colomb confirmed the “community was shocked after the house closed abruptly last year”.
“We are thrilled to provide a longer-term commitment to users,” she said.
“I encourage the community to come in and look at our plans for the future and provide your valuable feedback.”
Cr Sam Hearn said the shire’s backing would reassure users and continue the house’s services, especially for young families.
Cr Rosie Clark said the commitment would “ensure the house and its users were supported so they could play an active role in the future of the facility”.
Community drop-in sessions being held 9-11am and 2-4pm, Monday 27 August, at Mornington Community House, 9 Albert Street, Mornington, will allow users to view design plans, provide feedback on how the house is used and share their ideas for the future. Those unable to attend can see design plans and provide feedback at: mornpen.vic.gov.au/mch