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Child and family centre officially opens

Published: 26 April 2017

Cardinia Shire Council’s Arena Child and Family Centre is officially ‘open for business’.

The new centre, which opened its doors to begin Term 1, 2017 almost at full capacity, was officially opened by Cardinia Shire Mayor Cr Brett Owen and Member for Eastern Victoria Daniel Mulino MP on Wednesday 26 April.

Cr Brett Owen said: “Arena Child and Family Centre is much more than just a childcare centre – it provides a hub for families and young children to connect and grow together, enjoy social contact, access support and expertise, and take part in a wide range of programs and activities.

“As with other facilities developed by Council for our shire, this centre follows an integrated service delivery model; empowering practitioners to share skills, knowledge and expertise as they develop a range of services that families can access all in one location, for all abilities,” Cr Brett Owen said.

“An extensive engagement and consultation process, with our community, service providers, maternal and child health staff, and early year’s facilitators, has ensured that this facility will meet the needs of our growing community.”

Arena Child and Family Centre provides maternal and child health, pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and extended after care services all in one centre. The facility includes community spaces suitable for play groups, parenting programs and activities, consulting rooms, staff and meeting rooms, and additional services such as early intervention and family counselling.

The vibrant, colourful centre has a large family-friendly waiting area, a kitchenette and book reading and play area. It provides community guest access to the internet. Outdoors, there are landscaped areas supporting access for all abilities, with wide pathways and accessible sandpits and cubby huts.

Cr Brett Owen said Officer is one of the shire’s fastest developing residential areas so Arena is well-placed to cater for the growing need for early year’s programs, maternal and child health services, preschool programs and childcare.

“In one short school term, Arena Child and Family Centre has found its place as a community hub, providing quality early years care and putting in place a number of additional groups: pre-kindergarten program, first time parent group, a young mothers group, supported playgroup, and a Koori Kids Playgroup.

“Weekends are also active here, with Mini maestros music group on Saturdays and a community church group on Sundays,” Cr Brett Owen said.

Arena Child and Family Centre began construction in February 2017. The $2.7 million project has been made possible through Council’s capital works budget and the support of the Victorian Department of Education and Training.