Maranatha House granted $1.5 million for new Wellington childcare program

Cheers: Chairman John Trounce, Andrew Gee MP, Vice Chairman Terrence Frost and CEO Debra Matheson. Photo: Daniel Shirkie.
Cheers: Chairman John Trounce, Andrew Gee MP, Vice Chairman Terrence Frost and CEO Debra Matheson. Photo: Daniel Shirkie.

Maranatha House received a surprise visit from Member for Calare Andrew Gee MP with an announcement that they had been successful in securing funding for their proposed childcare program and facilities. 

Members of the Maranatha administration were left fighting back tears and hugging one another after a $1.5 million funding grant was handed over through the Building Better Regions grant.

"It just felt so surreal, it's almost still not right, it's been something that I've just wanted to do for so many years and to actually hear that it's finally going to be a reality, it's just so good," CEO Debra Matheson said.

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"For the community and the residents that live here, it's going to be such a big thing. It's made our little town here so happy."

The childcare program has been licensed for approximately forty six children and Maranatha is expecting to hire on fifteen to twenty new staff to crew the new facility.

Tears of Joy: CEO Debra Matheson and Vice Chariman Terrence Frost embrace after hearing the good news. Photo: Daniel Shirkie.

Tears of Joy: CEO Debra Matheson and Vice Chariman Terrence Frost embrace after hearing the good news. Photo: Daniel Shirkie.

As part of the new 'intergenerational' care program, aged care residents will be able to interact with the children.

"The way we anticipate it to work is that it becomes a normal childcare centre with daycare, before and after school care, extended hours," Vice Chairman Terrence Frost said. 

"What will happen with the intergenerational aspect is that the residents of our aged care centre will participate in activities like reading, colouring in and then the children will be able to visit the residents as we go on."

"It's a two way effect and it just gives a quality of life to some of the residents. We've had some of the residents here sitting outside while the kids do their gymnastics here and their faces just light up."

According to Mrs Matheson, the residents already in Maranatha's aged care facility can't wait until they're joined at the facility by the children. 

"I've had some of the residents here asking when the babies are arriving, saying, 'Oh, I can still put on nappies'!" 

Andrew Gee MP called the project 'great for the community', citing the economic benefits and the benefits of more childcare options in Wellington. 

"It's going to employ fifteen odd people here and there will also be the building work as well, but it will also provide badly needed childcare places which will encourage people to move to Wellington."

Construction is expected to begin at Maranatha House within the next three months.