Daycare believers: Calivil's Family Day becomes a reality

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Calivil is a small town located in Victoria’s Northern Dairy Region, just over two hours from Melbourne. The Calivil Recreation Reserve Committee of Management (CRRCM) is a voluntary group of locals who manage the Calivil Hall and Recreation Reserve, which is home to the local golf club, football and netball teams in the winter, cricket, bowls and tennis teams in the summer, with a children’s playground and a former caretaker’s residence. This is done on behalf of the State Government’s Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning under a formal Committee of Management relationship.

Connecting a service gap and enterprise

In 2010 the Committee was approached by a local unemployed but enterprising woman, who wished to establish a Family Day Care program to benefit local families and provide herself with a job. She had the idea of using the former caretaker’s residence for this purpose, and the Committee had just determined that the caretaker’s residence was not going to be used as they could not afford the arrangement.

Calivil had recently undertaken community planning, which highlighted the need for childcare in the region. In light of this, the Committee investigated and agreed that it was possible to have the business operate from the cottage, however the building was in need of some repairs and the installation of adequate heating and cooling as the existing open fire place was a safety issue for young children.

The CRRCM were unable to fund the project due to insufficient funds. In 2012 they applied for a small grant from the Gardiner Dairy Foundation Working in Dairy Communities Small Grants program delivered by FRRR. Success to the tune of $3,000 meant that with a little budgeting they were able to install split system heating and cooling, which along with other self-funded improvements, made the house suitable for family day care to commence.

They report that now in 2016, the centre is providing childcare for 15 children in the district, and had a waiting list. This enables 17 families to work on or off the farm and is assisting with the economic development and diverse economic base of the dairy area. Committee member Sue Lea says, “Our community appreciates being able to access these grants so that we can have the same opportunities as our city counterparts. Without the grant, this project would not have gone ahead.”

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