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Solid Energy supports early childhood centre

17 March 2008

Solid Energy supports early childhood centre

Parents of Huntly preschoolers have more education choice thanks to a $50,000 grant from energy company and leading coal producer, Solid Energy towards an extension of facilities at the Huntly Early Childhood Centre.

As a result, the centre has been able to increase its roll from 30 to 40 child places and to re-license that capacity with the Ministry of Education from February this year. All these available places have been filled, with 88 children from 82 Huntly families on the roll, and another 20 on the waiting list, keeping the current six teachers and full-time administrative assistant very busy. The centre hopes to employ a further full-time teacher.

Speaking at Saturday’s official opening of the building extensions, Solid Energy’s Chief Operating Officer, Barry Bragg paid tribute to the centre management committee’s ongoing practical response to providing 20 hours free early childhood education for three and four year olds.

“This is an excellent example of local action in response to global thinking. The Huntly Early Childhood Centre identified an obvious need in the town and despite the funding challenges, achieved its goal in a very short time, raising all the funds locally. This included several tree planting and amenity working bees at Weaver’s Park,” Mr Bragg said.

“Solid Energy currently makes funding available for all the primary and secondary schools in this area because we are committed to education, as well as enhancing and building the capability of the communities we operate in, so we are very pleased to extend our support to early childhood education through this community-owned centre.”

Rebecca Bruning, Chairperson of the Huntly Early Childhood Centre Management Committee says, “Solid Energy’s very welcome support gave us the opportunity to secure the long-term viability of the centre and progress with our plans at a time when we had exhausted all the usual funding options. Solid Energy’s inspired support is a real example of good corporate citizenship in action.”

Notes:

- The Huntly Early Childhood Centre (HECC) became an Incorporated Society in April 2006. Formerly it was the Huntly Rahui Pokeka Early Childhood Centre administered by the Huntly Social Services Co-ordinating Committee. Centre manager is Louise Smith who also established an early childhood centre in Westport some years ago before moving to Huntly

- The building extensions are largely complete with a heat pump to be installed ahead of winter and a new kitchen area planned for installation in the April school holidays.

- The original building at HECC is reputed to be the old crib (lunch) building from the former State Coal (now Solid Energy) Huntly West Underground Mine facility.


ENDS

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