A Gunnedah childcare centre is more than tripling in size to meet demand.
Long day care centre Li’l Achievers is expanding from a 24-child centre to accommodate 80 kids all year round.
Gunnedah parents have been expressing concerns over a desperate need for childcare positions for months, and with the centre’s expansion plans now under way, owners Richard and Brooke Patriquin are hoping to address the shortage of care. The centre currently has more than 70 children on its waiting list – which can be seen across many services in town.
One Gunnedah mum said she has been on waiting lists since December.
“I’ve had my daughter’s name down since Christmas and I’m due to go back to work full-time in July,” she said.
“The likelihood of getting care by then isn’t good, which makes it hard for me to go back to work. I wish there were more options for people so they can get in when they need to and not have to wait for months.”
The development will see a brand new centre built on the Bloomfield Street site adjacent and incorporate the existing service. Building started this week with plans to be complete by early October.
“There is a massive demand for babies and toddler positions, which once complete we will be able to accommodate with four rooms across the ages of 0-6 years old,” Mr Patriquin said.
Mrs Patriquin said the centre hopes to offer more services in the future.
“We have also been talking about before and after school care as a future option as well and we would like to invest in a mini bus to help with transport for our families so we can become a main drop-off and pick-up point for their children,” she said.
Gunnedah mayor Jamie Chaffey said the expansion is a solid investment in Gunnedah’s future.
“We are seeing a solid growth pattern and we certainly need to meet demand. This will fill some void which is critical – if we don’t have facilities to support the growth we hamper our potential to attract people to our town,” Cr Chaffey said.