Maranatha House childcare plans take shape while waiting on funding grant

Plans: Board chairman John Trounce, vice chairman Terry Frost and Maranatha House CEO Debra Wells looking over plans. Photo: Elouise Hawkey
Plans: Board chairman John Trounce, vice chairman Terry Frost and Maranatha House CEO Debra Wells looking over plans. Photo: Elouise Hawkey

Maranatha House is closer than ever to developing a proposed childcare program after being invited to reapply for a federal funding grant. 

The proposal from Maranatha centers around construction of a new childcare center that will provide a program that could address the lack of childcare available before and after school in Wellington, according to Maranatha Vice Chairman Terry Frost.

“We’re actually looking at a 42 place childcare center, which is being designed for inter-generational care. The plans have been drawn up and we’re in partnership with Griffith University in Queensland, who have looked at our plans and our business model and they’re quite impressed with that,” Mr Frost said.

The proposal has drawn support from parents concerned about the lack of available childcare in the Wellington area following the cancellation of the PCYC’s after school care program. 

Those parents have even gone as far to petition state candidates in the upcoming election to support childcare programs and centers within Wellington, arranged by local mother Danielle Griffiths.

“Because of the lack of before and after school childcare options one parent has had to pull children out of school in Wellington and send them to Dubbo for care because nothing in Wellington works around her needs,” Ms Griffiths said.

According to Ms Griffiths, the situation has become so dire that some parents she’s spoken to have considered moving away in order to be able to work and care for their children at the same time.

“It’s absolutely ludicrous that we would need to do something like that, and it’s obviously happening because we need more childcare services,” Ms Griffiths said. 

“We weren’t just trying to fix our problems, but also help fix the town’s future.”

As part of the childcare proposal, Maranatha will be targeting a program that allows elderly residents to engage with the children being taken care of and participate in joint activities. 

“The complex is purpose built so it’s connected to our high care wing and it’s so designed that the elderly can be wheeled across in their beds, so they can join in all the happenings.”

The practice of intergenerational care is becoming increasingly popular in places like American and the United Kingdom and studies have found that it carries health benefits for elderly patients. 

“The benefits to the elderly far outweigh the disadvantages and it’s just the joy of children and the quality of care that we can provide can only enhance the stay of our residents,” Mr Frost said. 

“Funding is our biggest battle, we’re ready to hit the ground running from the point of view that we’ve already received development application and a construction certificate from Dubbo Regional Council, the only thing that’s holding us up is funding.”

Maranatha have previously applied for funding for the project through the Building Better Regions fund, but were refused before being invited to resubmit an application this year. 

They are expecting a response to the application around the end of March. 

“We’re ready to go, all we need is the money.”