Wellington families express relief after Maranatha funding decision

Maranatha Vice President Terry Frost comforts CEO Debra Matheson after the funding grant was announced. Photo: Daniel Shirkie.
Maranatha Vice President Terry Frost comforts CEO Debra Matheson after the funding grant was announced. Photo: Daniel Shirkie.

A group of Wellington mothers who worked to spotlight the desperate need for increased childcare opportunities have called the recent funding granted to Maranatha House a 'fantastic announcement'.

The $1.5 million grant will allow Maranatha House to begin construction soon on a facility to house their new 'intergenerational care' center, an experimental policy that's showed promising results internationally and has the backing of Griffith University based researchers.

Organiser Danielle Griffiths, who's been struggling to find adequate childcare for her two young boys, told other members of the group that she was 'genuinely excited' about what the proposal meant for Wellington's future. 

"In a city context, this is a small project, but in a small country town which is ravaged by disadvantage, this project is something that has the potential to help change the trajectory on the town," Ms Griffiths said. 

Despite the group's efforts in drawing attention to the problems surrounding childcare in the town, Ms Griffiths was quick to attribute much of the project's success to the team at Maranatha. 

"I'd like to think the work we did helped influence this decision, but the truth is more likely that it was the team at Maranatha House that really earned this outcome."

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Aged and community care worker Lisa Rowney with her children Jack, Cooper and Jade. Photo: Daniel Shirkie.

Aged and community care worker Lisa Rowney with her children Jack, Cooper and Jade. Photo: Daniel Shirkie.

"They'd absolutely be the best people positioned to take care of Cooper," Ms Rowney said. 

Ms Rowney joined others parents with special needs children in calling for childcare services that a full suite of options, including respite care, otherwise many of them would be forced to leave and find employment elsewhere.

"I've spoken to a few of the other special needs parents and they're all quiet happy, mainly because of the respite services, there's a lot of people who are going to benefit from that sort of support here in town." 

Like others, Ms Rowney praised the economic benefits the project would bring to town.

"I think it's really good that people have finally realized that we need this kind of support here. It's going to create jobs and it's going to be fantastic."

Despite the arrival of good news, Ms Rowney was still committed to agitating for more opportunities and chance in Wellington.

"We need to start looking at other things that our town might need, like programs for kids to be a part of, just standing up for our town, really."