Supporting families, youth & the elderly Forty-eight local community and cultural groups shared approximately $200,000 in grants from Council’s Community and Cultural Development Grants program. This program is open to all non-profit community organisations for the purpose of undertaking a community development or cultural development project. Projects range from festivals, workshops and exhibitions through to targeted projects of varying sizes that assist local populations such as children, youth, the elderly, indigenous groups and people with a disability. Over the last financial year requests for funding have far outweighed the allocated budget, making the grants program very competitive. Consequently, the projects that do gain approval are diverse, innovative and of the highest standard. In addition to the Community and Cultural Development Grants, Council provides assistance to small volunteer-based community non-profit organisations that provide a service to residents of Gosford LGA. Council provides funds for the printing of material to be used for promotion, with forty-three organisations receiving $250 each in 2008, totalling over $10,000 in support.
Supporting Children Council continued its high quality child care programs with each of its eight centres maintaining their affordability and higher than recommended staff to child ratios. All centres are staffed by qualified, dedicated professionals with a diverse range of skills, knowledge and backgrounds. All long day care centres and vacation care services are fully accredited with the National Childcare Accreditation Council (NCAC).
In November 2008 all of Council’s child care centres went live on the Australian Government’s new Child Care Management System (CCMS). The centres operated by Council consist of seven long day care centres, one occasional care centre and two vacation care services. The centres are always a hive of activity. In the past year activities included our own Olympic Games; Father’s and Mother’s Day celebrations; and environmental, water safety and healthy eating talks. The centres also hosted Aboriginal educational activities; fundraising events; Harmony Day celebrations; Christmas parties; various excursions; and visits from the fire brigade, Healthy Harold, reptile shows and the Easter Bunny.
Council’s child care centres provided many activities in support of the Children See, Children Do theme for National Child Protection Week in 2008. In addition to self defence classes, information sessions took place with the aim of increasing the children’s awareness of their own feelings, and how to help keep themselves safe in various situations. Council’s centres continued their work promoting cultural awareness with the children celebrating Chinese New Year. The children prepared Asian style food; dressed up in traditional Chinese outfits; played with traditional Chinese instruments; and made fans, lanterns and potpourri. In November 2008 all of Council’s child care centres went live on the Australian Government’s new Child Care Management System (CCMS). All child care services use their CCMS registered software to record child enrolment and attendance information which allows easier calculation and payment of child care benefit fee reductions. Gosford City and Wyong Shire Councils commenced a joint initiative with the Department of Education and Training to facilitate a more effective transition to school for children. The initiative focuses on the area of literacy and assists children attending Council run preschools transition to their respective Department of Education school.