Cordelia, three, with her mum Jocelyn and other parents who are among those taking action to provide preschool care in the future in Alstonville.
Cordelia, three, with her mum Jocelyn and other parents who are among those taking action to provide preschool care in the future in Alstonville. Marc Stapelberg

Parents fear preschool will go

CONCERNS that Alstonville could soon be left without a community preschool have prompted a group of local mothers into action.

The current preschool is run by the Alstonville Baptist Fellowship, but at a recent church meeting it was decided the preschool should be run by a separate organisation.

In a letter to parents and caregivers, Reverend Chris Clarke wrote that it had been an “extremely difficult decision”.

“The preschool has been an important part of the life of our church for nearly 40 years, as well as an important part of the lives of countless people in our community,” he said.

Rev Clarke said they would continue to operate the preschool until an alternative organisation could be found, but the clock is ticking.

Alstonville mums Georgie Ford and Jocelyn Perritt have formed a new group, Alstonville Community Preschool Inc, and they are seeking support from individuals, other groups and all levels of government.

Today's meeting of Ballina Shire Council is particularly important because councillors will vote on whether to help.

The recommendation from the strategic and community services group is to investigate site options for the relocation of the preschool.

A working parting, comprising C Ward councillors and the mayor, would liaise with Alstonville Community Preschool Inc and a report detailing the options would be presented to the council within two months.

Ms Ford and Ms Perritt said a community preschool was desperately needed in Alstonville.

“With the church's decision, there is a very real possibility that we won't have a preschool at all here,” Ms Ford said.

“But if we can get some money, and some land or a building, then we can keep it going.”

Ms Perritt said about 60 families would be affected if the church's preschool was not replaced.

She said it was a “huge” issue for the village.

“We're not talking about a childcare facility,” she said.

“This is about socialisation and education for our children – preschool provides a valuable early learning process.

“It helps kids become socially and mentally ready for school.

“To lose our preschool would be a major loss for our community.”

Anyone who can help with funding, site options or with lobbying efforts should email alstonvillepreschool@gmail.com.



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