A campaign by Staff Association members to improve childcare at Clayton has scored a big victory, with CSIRO announcing plans to expand facilities and services aimed to create more spaces for children and shorter waiting lists for families.
The Committee for Better Childcare was formed almost two years ago in response to anecdotal evidence suggesting that many Clayton employees with young families were missing out on childcare.
A survey later conducted by the group revealed nearly 50 percent of respondents reporting that they’d been unable to access the service at Clayton in the previous twelve months – mainly due to long waiting lists and a lack of spaces.
After receiving some advice and guidance from Staff Association officials, the committee began the task of collecting information, building awareness and exploring practical solutions to the childcare problem. A meeting last year with CMSE Chief Cathy Foley helped put the issue on senior management’s agenda.
Last month, CSIRO announced that the Gatehouse – a recently vacated building close to the existing childcare facility – will be the future home of an additional sixteen places and a separate kindergarten.
Chief Executive Dr Megan Clark attended a morning tea event to celebrate the announcement.
“We have a lot of stressed parents out there that will be able to be accommodated by the additional places that this centre opens up.
“It will particularly allow breastfeeding mothers to return to work earlier due to the close vicinity of the centre,” Dr Clark said.
Committee and Staff Association member Jodie Sayers said the expanded services would make a real difference.
“This site is important to staff because it gives them priority access to childcare and enables parents to return to work.
“This additional building enables the centre to expand so that additional children can be accommodated,” Ms Sayers said.