Educare searches for new home

2018-02-13 06:00
Parents and staff at the educare centre gathered to raise their concerns. PHOTOS: aishah cassiem

Parents and staff at the educare centre gathered to raise their concerns. PHOTOS: aishah cassiem

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A group of concerned parents from Hanover Park are calling on their ward councillor to assist them in saving a 21-year-old educare centre, supposedly shut down in December last year. Staff at Steers Educare have been renting a classroom at Athwood Primary School in Blomvlei Road for the past three years, but say they were forced to vacate due to an increase in learners at the primary school. The group took to the councillor’s office for a silent protest on Monday afternoon to raise their concerns.

Melissa Phillips, principal of Steers Educare, says the space previously accommodated 30 children aged three to five.

“The school principal informed us about our contract closure in September last year. We immediately made contact with our ward councillor about our situation, who also committed himself to the children, and this after almost three reminders via meetings and event gatherings. But he has since failed to come forward,” she says.

Avril Martin, an educator at the school, says the staff have tried to negotiate with both the principal and the ward councillor to resolve the issue faster. “These learners need to be accommodated in an ECD setting as soon as possible. They opened up the Blomvlei Civic Centre for other activities instead, knowing what we are going through. We even tried to negotiate with the principal, approaching him about leasing grounds from their premises in order to put up a structure, just to keep the kids safe and off the streets. He agreed,” she says.

“The ward councillor said he could accommodate us with a container structure until we find a place for these kids. But we haven’t received it as yet and have not heard from him since we last spoke. ”

Aeysha Tieties, an angry parent protesting at the councillor’s office along with 15 others, says: “The parents standing with me today have had up to three children attending the crèche over the past 21 years. There is no other safer centre for our kids in this community than Steers. It cannot be shut down now, while other classrooms on the premises are accommodated for a radio station project and family home,” she says.

Ward councillor, Magedien Davids, says: “The closure of the centre’s operation at Athwood Primary needs to be discussed with the school principal, as this falls under the department of education and I have no mandate over their actions. With regard to the ECD, this department falls under the umbrella of social development,” he says.

“As ward councillor, I advised then that I will try and assist in acquiring a container, but unfortunately there is none available. The manager of sports and recreation did a walk-about with me in the area to identify a site to accommodate the container, as this is a City asset. We identified a site but Steers Educare declined the site at Lynstone Walk Park.”

Meanwhile, Davids says the Pinati Estate Community Civic Association’s (PECCA) latest project, Come and Play with Activity, has been on their dashboard since January 2017 and this programme was implemented at the Blomvlei Civic Centre earlier this month.

V For more information, call Avril Martin on 083 530 9229.

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