Mayoral Column 22 February 2016

Published on 22 February 2016

Kinder is fee free

Attending kindergarten is an invaluable experience for children and parents alike, but can stretch the family budget.

The good news is that this won’t be the case for some 25 Loddon Shire families with a child enrolled in this year’s four-year-old program.

Thanks to the drought relief fund, these families are able to access a drought fee subsidy which will free them from fee payments.

It’s wonderful news for our families who no longer need to provide evidence of financial hardship due to drought conditions.

Children in either long day care programs or stand-alone kindergartens are eligible if they live in Loddon Shire, even if they access a service outside the municipal boundaries.

However, where possible I would encourage families to consider accessing one of the quality programs run within our Shire.

It’s important to note that families wishing to enrol their child in a three year old program are still required to pay fees.

Kindergartens within Loddon Shire are still accepting enrolments, so if you haven’t accessed this opportunity to date, I would encourage you to do so by contacting Council’s Early Years Coordinator Alycia O’Sullivan on 5437 7999 or logging on to our website at www.loddon.vic.gov.au

Community grants open soon

Does your local sports club or community organisation have an idea how it could move ahead?

If so, why not put up your hand for a share of some extra funds?

For the past 15 years the Community Grants Scheme has given clubs and community groups the opportunity to request Council funds to put towards projects that develop or improve existing community facilities, programs or equipment.

I’m happy to say that to date, Council has invested about $1.9 million towards 655 projects, worth a total of $5.5 million.

The scheme funds project on a 2:1 basis, with Council giving $2 for every $1 contributed by the applicant.

However, the maximum amount that can be applied for is $10,000 and this requires a contribution of at least $5,000 from the applicant, either cash or in-kind or both.

Last year, 34 grants were made, taking up almost the full allocation of $200,000.

Applications close on 6 May and will be considered by Council at its June meeting.

To see the full list of conditions, or access an application form, phone Council on 5494 1200 or go to www.loddon.vic.gov.au after Tuesday 1 March.

I’m looking forward to sitting down with my fellow Councillors to consider your application.

Family fun at the pool

It’s been great to see people of all ages enjoying our pools throughout the summer.

However, the days are becoming noticeably shorter and our swimming days are numbered.

With pools across the Shire scheduled to close after the Labour Day Long weekend, I’d encourage you to make the most of the warm weather while it lasts, and we have some great events planned to help you do just that.

In the coming weeks we have a number of pool parties scheduled to see the season out in style, thanks to the funds provided through The State Government Drought Relief Fund.

The first event is scheduled to kick off at Wedderburn pool on Monday 29 February, with the fun set to continue at Mitiamo Pool on Tuesday 1 March, Pyramid Hill Pool on Thursday 3 March and Boort Swimming Pool on Friday 4 March.

Each family friendly, drug and alcohol free event will run between 3.30pm and 7pm.

A host of activities including a free barbecue, music, inflatable slide and jumping castle will bring the party atmosphere to life.

It’s a great opportunity enjoy spending time with family, friends and neighbours, so mark a date on your calendar and join in the fun!

Make the most of our markets

Thanks to our farming community, food is fresh in Loddon Valley and there’s no better place to fill your basket than at a local farmers market.

Wedderburn Farmers Market and Art/Craft Market is the place to be this coming Sunday, 28 February.

Held on the last Sunday of each month at the Wedderburn Community Centre from 9am to 1pm, it’s a great spot to forage for fresh fruit and vegetables, baked and preserved delights, honey, crafts, wood work products, plants, jewellery and much more.

Make a day of it, eat, enjoy live music, catch up with friends and enjoy a taste of Loddon community spirit.

If that whets your appetite be sure to jot down the dates of other markets coming up throughout the Shire including Boort’s Easter Market by the Lake on Saturday 26 March between 10am and 2pm and the Bridgewater Country Market which is held between 8am and 1pm on the second Saturday of each month.