At a time when there’s a critical need for child care and in an area where employment opportunities are growing, a society is about to break ground on the Early Years Centre between Lumby and Lavington, and create spaces for 63 children—but it needs support raising half the construction costs.
“This is an exciting step because we know how much the community needs child care right now and we’ve received such strong initial funding support,” says Roxanne Brierley, capital campaign coordinator, The Bridge Educational Society. The society, which established the Okanagan Waldorf School (formerly Cedar Bridge School), recognized an opportunity to give young families access to early childhood education on the same rural campus as the school.
Driven by that mission, the society secured $500,000 in funding from the Ministry of Children and Family Development’s Major Capital Funding Program. An additional $250,000 will come from Community Gaming to build a daycare that will offer 63 much-needed spaces for infants, preschoolers and school-aged children living throughout the North Okanagan.
Set to open in the summer of 2019, the non-profit centre will soon be home to 6,250 square feet of space housed on the same sprawling farm-forest property as the Waldorf School. The society is now fundraising for the remainder of the total $1.25 million construction cost with naming opportunities, donations and donations-in-kind.
“There are tremendous benefits beyond parents being able to return to work knowing their children really get to thrive in a special learning environment,” says Brierley. “This benefits employment and the greater community long-term because we’re giving these kids such a great start and that will have a positive impact for years to come.”
Rick Fairbairn, director of Electoral Area D with the Regional District North Okanagan, says the district is “thrilled that this centre will be opening in our area and fully supports what it will mean for the families in our community. We know that the society behind the child care centre strives to provide children with a great grounding that will set them well on the road to success in the future. This benefits the North Okanagan community as a whole.”
The centre hopes to support families with parents working at a number of new and growing businesses in the area, including Vegpro International, Restoration Lands and others.
Lumby Mayor Kevin Acton says he and council are also excited to support the Early Years Centre in their community, which is experiencing a shortage of child care spaces.
“This centre will only make Lumby and the North Okanagan as a whole a more desirable place to live and work.”
Individuals and organizations interested in making donations or a range of naming opportunities (everything from the play yard all families pass each day to one of the four age-group rooms with separate entries), please visit http://www.bridgeeducational.org/early-years-centre/ to learn more or contact Brierley.