Way back in November 2011 I posted about our visit to the site of future Derwent Valley Child and Family Centre.
It’s a project that I have a soft spot for because I (and Juniordwarf too I guess, because he attended the meetings with me) used to be a community member of the Local Enabling Group established to oversee the development of the Centre.
The Child and Family Centre initiative is a State Government funded project to “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”. Several centres are being built, or are already operating, across the state.
We were only involved in the early stages, in 2010, when the group was making decisions about the site the centre would be built on, and working on the philosophies, visions and objectives for the centre to ensure that it provided services that best met the needs of our community.
The vision that the group came up with for the centre was:
Healthy, happy children thriving in our community
Nurturing and supporting families
As a government employee, who has been involved in several exercises in consultation with stakeholders, I found it fascinating to be involved in a project as a community member rather than as “the Government”. I think that the consultation and level of engagement with the community in this project is something that the Department of Education can be very proud of.
Fast forward to three years later, and the centre is built. It will be open for business next week.
Juniordwarf and I went for a little stickybeak yesterday morning. I was surprised at how emotional I felt standing in the place that had been the goal of so many committed people over the last three years.
While I was taking everything in, I thought back to almost exactly three years ago when I was asked by Katrina, the now Community Inclusion Worker at the centre, if I was interested in being involved with the project. I felt overwhelmed that from the very first meeting in 2010, which at least 40 enthusiastic community members attended, the vision had become reality and I was standing in it.
I wondered if the centre we‘d imagined back then would be anything like the centre we see today. I don’t think the end result is anything like I imagined it would – or could – be. But I love it, and it’s a credit to everyone involved, especially Katrina and Suzanne, the Centre Leader, and all the members past and present of the Local Enabling Group. I feel really proud of what they have achieved and am glad that I was a part of it all, even if it was for just a short time.
I want to wish everyone at Ptunarra* Child and Family Centre all the very best. I’m so excited for you all and look forward to keeping in touch.
The building is very impressive. The play spine that runs through the centre of the building is really cool, and Juniordwarf loved it. I didn’t take many photos, but there are some more here to show you what the centre looks like.
|Juniordwarf checking out the upper level of the play spine
|Out the front of the centre
|The centre’s vision on display
* The name Ptunarra and the butterfly logo was chosen in recognition of the Ptunarra Brown which is a vulnerable Tasmanian butterfly.
“The process of change and growth from caterpillar to butterfly is symbolic of the changes that we must embrace as our children grow and learn and develop. Without change there would be no butterflies.”