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$150,000 donated to disadvantaged youth as community ends 23 years of supporting children

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The former management of St Thomas’ Childcare Centre Rozelle has donated more than $150,000 to support disadvantaged children as it marks the end of its 23 years of supporting children.

Jenny Cleary, President of the Parent Management Committee explained, “At the end of last year the Management Committee of St Thomas’ Childcare Centre were faced with a difficult change of circumstances outside its control. ”

According to Cleary, the premises which the Centre had leased from a church for a number of decades was suddenly not offered for renewal. This resulted in the volunteer parent management of the Centre ceasing with the bulk of children transitioning to another childcare operator. During this time, the parents came together and showed great support for the staff and volunteers that made up the Centre.

“We were overwhelmed by the gratitude expressed at how St Thomas’ Childcare Centre had helped nurture so many children in our community”, Cleary said.  “We are now at the final stage of winding up the former management entity from an administrative perspective, but before this journey officially comes to an end, we wanted to use our cash reserves to help many more, less fortunate, children and their families,” she said.

The parent-run Management Committee of the former St Thomas’ Childcare Centre Rozelle sought to distribute the funds to disadvantaged pre-school aged children and their families, and so participated in an event by The Funding Network on 25th September, through which the funds were a springboard for additional fundraising. A total of $260,000 was raised for the chosen charities.

To make the decision of who to work with to distribute these funds, the Management Committee developed principles based on the requirements of its Constitution. Options were then considered at the AGM, and The Funding Network was chosen due to its ability to deliver the best alignment with the principles as well as providing the opportunity to leverage additional funding.

The Funding Network supports grassroots non-profits with under $1million annual turnover and they connect causes needing support with those who want to help.

The funds were donated to charities for programs supporting children and their families. There were three organisations who pitched at the event and shared the funding.  One was KidsXpress, a group that transforms the lives of children impacted by adversity through leading trauma-informed expressive therapy and education programs. They will pilot a new program aimed at younger children, aged zero to five.

Another group who pitched was The Pyjama Foundation, an organisation providing children in foster care the opportunity to change the direction of their lives with learning, life skills, confidence. The funding will help screen, recruit and train more volunteers to support foster children in Sydney.

Deadly Connections also shared their story as they support disadvantaged and at-risk Aboriginal families and communities to gain culturally responsive support to overcome challenges. They will use the funding to launch its Parents and Bubs service, with a goal is to reduce the risk of child protection intervention and child removal in these communities by supporting and empowering Aboriginal parents.

“We feel that this donation was the appropriate way forward and are very happy that we can leave a legacy and have a significant positive impact on pre-school aged children and their families in need. As the community gives a final farewell to St Thomas’ Childcare Centre, we are looking forward to hearing that we, as a community, have made a difference,” says Jenny Cleary.

Although one journey has now come to an end, the Rozelle community will continue to help many more children.

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