P365 – Day 330 – child & family centre

What a busy morning we had!
First up Juniordwarf went to his swimming lesson. 
Then he and I went to an Xmas party at his daycare centre, where he got his face painted and his nails done. 
He went on the jumping castle and went for a train ride.  He saw Santa, somehow ended up getting two bags of lollies, ate sausages and ice cream, and was very reluctant to leave.
But we had to leave, because I wanted to go to the Family Fun Day hosted by the Local Enabling Group for our Child and Family Centre. Today was the official ‘site celebration’ prior to the construction of the centre beginning.
Early last year interested members of our community were asked to nominate for what is called a Local Enabling Group (LEG) to oversee the development of a new Child and Family Centre in our town.
The Tasmanian Government has provided funding for a number of Child and Family Centres to be built across the state to support families with children aged 0-5. The aim is “improve the health and well being, education and care of Tasmania’s very young children by supporting parents and enhancing accessibility of services in the local community”.
Each community established a LEG, under the direction of a Social Inclusion Community Liaison Officer. The LEGs are made up of different community members: parents, representatives from organisations that provides services to children in the area, community members, local council officials – people who are interested in the project and who are prepared to contribute their time to participate.
You can find out more about the Child and Family Centres Project here
Last year Juniordwarf and I participated in the LEG through the initial stages of the project, the main focus on which was selecting the location for the centre to be built, as well as doing a lot of work on the objectives and aims for the centre that suited our community’s needs.
It was a great project to be involved in and a lot of people from our area were keen to participate. Having been involved in some, um, interesting groups through work, I wasn’t sure whether it was all going to come together. But I had no need to be worried at all.  I was really impressed with how such a large number of people – I think we were the largest LEG in the state – worked together over the year, and focused on the primary purpose of the centre – supporting children and their families. For me, as a government employee, it was a fascinating experience to participate in a community engagement process as a community member rather than as a government official. 

The two biggest decisions we made last year were the site for the centre to be built on – which generated a lot of discussion, but after considering all the pros and cons of the other options, it was a very easy decision for me on which site to vote for – and the vision statement for the centre: “Happy healthy children thriving in our community”.
Unfortunately this year I had to go back to work on the days that the meetings were normally held, and I was only able to attend one meeting. I’d hoped I’d be able to juggle working from home at least once a month so I could still go, but it didn’t work out that way.
Even though I haven’t been involved this year, I’m still very excited about this project. I think it will be a great asset for our region, and I can’t wait to see how it develops over the next few years.
We missed the official part of the day with all the speeches, and when we arrived it had just started to rain, so some of the activities didn’t go ahead as planned.
This is what we saw when we arrived.
It was a bit wet, and people had run for cover. 
Slabs, Juniordwarf and I presented ourselves at the Kombicam photo booth and had some silly photos taken. 
It was good to catch up with some of our friends from Communities for Children, who have been a valuable source of information, support and friendship for me and Juniordwarf, especially during his first four years.
And I would like to thank Peter (I think that was his name) from Coffee Tasmania for replacing Juniordwarf’s hot chocolate at no charge after the inevitable happened when a small child is carrying a warm drink over uneven terrain.
Thank you also to the LEG members for organising the day. I’ve missed being involved with the group this year, but am eagerly waiting to see what happens next. 

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