10 May 2023

Cooktown community rallies behind kindy

| Sarah Martin
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Cooktown Kindy director Nardia Whitman with Atarah Hook and Wynona Docker.

WITH a growing demand for care and rising costs, Cooktown’s 40-year-old kindergarten is putting on a huge fundraiser to top up their dwindling budget.

The not-for-profit Cooktown Kindy is raising money through a monster Mother’s Day raffle and a huge family fete, complete with mini sideshow alley.

Director Nardia Whitman said the response from the local community for raffle prizes had been overwhelming.

“Honestly, I’ve just been blown away,” she said.

“Our small town has donated over $4500 in prizes. All funds raised will go directly back into supporting our little people at the kindy.”

Ms Whitman said fundraising efforts had been ramped up, with changes in funding and also increased demand for kindy spaces driving up costs.

“We have been running at a substantial loss as the needs of our children and families have changed, and we have four staff on the floor every day,” she said.

“We were about 30 kids across our two groups, but this year and last year we have been averaging 40 and I’ve had to turn families away.”

Currently at capacity, the kindy offers free or discounted care (depending on a family’s financial and other circumstances) two days a week for children the year before they enrol in prep.

Ms Whitman said the importance of a kindy program for children had been proven, and she herself had seen the difference.

“It makes a big difference; learning how to play and learn alongside another child, how to follow a routine and directions, as well as being immersed in numeracy and literacy,” she said.

“I get asked so often to take younger children, or run the two-year kindy program, but I just don’t have the capacity.”

Ms Whitman said thanks to her proactive committee, especially president Tori Callaghan-Moloney and Melinda Parker, fundraising efforts were off to a great start.

“I’m really grateful for everyone’s support and my amazing committee,” she said.

Raffle tickets are on sale around town, including at The Lure Shop, Bowls and RSL clubs, bakery, pharmacy, pool and CDCC.

The raffle will be drawn at the Kindy Community Fete, on at the PCYC Events Centre on Saturday, May 6 from 9.30am to 12.30pm.

Anyone who would like to be involved in the fete or to make a donation can phone 4069 5182.

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