SAVE ONEWHERO EARLY CHILDHOOD CENTRE

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SAVE ONEWHERO EARLY CHILDHOOD CENTRE

On Friday the doors to our amazing rural community-based centre will be closing indefinitely.

Onewhero Early Childhood Centre is an integral part of the community. The Centre has been open for 40 years and we predict that over 2,000 children have been through the doors over this time. The Centre’s philosophy is focused on a quality holistic education, there is caring and professional teachers who are dedicated in providing our children with authentic, and stimulating experiences. There is a very strong connection with Onewehro Area School, all the children who do transition to this school experience a smooth start to their formal schooling. Many children who make this shift feel comfortable doing so because of the familiar faces in the school;  many school staff have their own children at this centre currently or have had in recent years.

In 2012 there was a roll of 60 families with a healthy waiting list.  With a focus on trying to  provide for the needs of the community, a mortgage was obtained to extend the building.

In the following years,  many new centres have opened in our area, this has meant there are more options for our families when choosing early childhood centres and unfortunately, there has been a significant drop in the roll. Staff and the committee have worked hard to build the roll to now having an average of 28 children daily and without the mortgage it would be a thriving centre. Everyone has worked hard, fundraising, limiting spending, cutting costs where ever possible to pay the original amount of $120,000 mortgage, but we still owe $59,832.00.

We have tried everything, but it has come to a point where this mortgage needs to be paid to enable the Centre to stay open. We need some intervention and help from the bank who gave us the loan as the Ministry of Education does not currently prioritize sufficient ECE funding and financial support to keep centers like this going, with or without the debt. The current funding schedule is hurting the community based ECE centers as we have to scrimp and save just to get through to the next round. This will be a devastating loss for our community, in particular the young people who currently attend and the amazing teachers who work there.

This is an edited and updated version of our petition (As of Thursday 28th November 2019). Onewhero Early Childhood Centre needs 1 of 3 scenario's to happen in order for it to even consider keeping it's doors open or reopening them in the future;

1. $125,000 cash donation(s) by 5pm tomorrow (Friday 29th November 2019) some ongoing monetary support until the next funding round in March. As well as increased funding from MOE for lower teacher/child ratios and a business plan to support and guide the Centre to keep out of debt in the future.

2. ASB Bank to give the Centre an extension/holiday on the current loan repayments until the community can continue to fundraise $125,000 and develop a business plan for ongoing support of the Centre until the next funding round in March. As well as increased funding from MOE for lower teacher/child ratios and a business plan to support and guide the Centre to keep out of debt in the future.

3. The Ministry of Education to take on the loan for the Centre as well as increased funding from MOE for lower teacher/child ratios and a business plan to support and guide the Centre to keep out of debt in the future. 

We ask that ASB Bank give Onewhero Early Childhood Centre an extension or holiday on the loan in order to allow the community time to fundraise the money needed to get back on their feet. 100k takes time and resources to raise and the community is very determined to make this happen. Please support us and allow us to try and do what we can to keep our amazing centre open. Our community needs this.

We ask that the Ministry of Education offer to take on the remainder of the loan and help with ongoing support of the centre in terms of developing a business plan and increasing ECE funding required before the next funding round in March next year.

We need a miracle, and we it now. Please keep sharing and signing so we can at least show the level of support our community-based non-profit centre has! We will not give up but it is looking likely that the doors will shut on Friday and stay shut!