Donna Giles poses with children who attend Riverview Child Care Centre.
Donna Giles poses with children who attend Riverview Child Care Centre. Claudia Baxter

Closure blow to staff and families

THE long-running Riverview Child Care Centre will close its doors permanently next Friday.

The decision was handed down just days ago, after the centre's director and committee realised the centre could not afford to keep running.

Children, families and staff are upset about the decision, and director Donna Giles said she cried when she talked to the committee.

"We sought legal advice and realised we couldn't financially cover the debts we've incurred," Ms Giles said.

"As a director I was aware of the situation, but it didn't make the decision any easier," Ms Giles said.

"We've been worried about the financial side of things for the past two to three years.

"Our numbers have been fluctuating and we took a big hit in numbers this April, which I think is due to demographical reasons and also to the fact that there's a lot of other providers out there - we hear stories about parents calling out for child care but we don't see them.

"With the rising cost of living for families on top of that and failed attempts to recover our debts, we have no other choice."

Ms Giles said the independent long day care centre was one of Ipswich's oldest.

"We've been running since 1976 and I've worked here for 17 years; this centre is my life" she said.

"We've got a very close community and I might be biased, but we've always had great results with accreditation and other measures.

"We really have fought a hard fight through constant fundraising, and the committee and I have worked so hard."

"My first priority now is to help families find adequate child care."

Sam McLellan's four children have all attended the centre.

"I'm not sure what I'm going to do now, we have other centres nearby but the problem is finding one I'm comfortable with," Ms McLellan said.

"Donna helped us with taking our first son to specialist appointments and attended his first footy game; she's like an adopted aunt. I don't think many other directors would be that dedicated."

Current and former children, parents and staff associated with the centre are invited to a farewell party tomorrow, from 10.30am to 1.30pm.



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