Mission Australia Early Learning centre in Stockton is calling for community help and donations to build a new yard after it was damaged when severe storms lashed the coastline earlier this year.

The charity is hoping to raise $40,000 by the 30th of June so that the new outdoor space can be completed and ready in time for Spring.

Mission Australia Early Learning General Manager, Ben Williams said: “We’re asking for the community to come together to help and make a significant contribution to restoring our outdoor spaces. We hope to raise enough funds so that we can start to rebuild the yard and so the children who attend the centre can have access to a stimulating, natural environment that fosters their sense of wellbeing, wonder and belonging they deserve.”

On the 18th January 2018, severe storms lashed the coastline of the Hunter. Large surf and big tides continued for days, resulting in more than 15 metres of beach being washed away. Situated right near this coastline, the Mission Australia Early Leaning Centre, which is housed in the former Stockton Surf Lifesaving clubhouse, lost part of its outdoor space. For safety reasons, a large section of the yard is inaccessible for children.

Mr Williams said, “As the beach washed away in the storms, we watched as the water quickly approached our centre’s yard boundary which made much of the outdoor space unsafe for the children to play in. The storms, large surf and big tides left less than one metre of beach to the edge of the centre. It was quite upsetting as only two months prior, we had completed a major upgrade to the yard. It was custom designed and perfect for early learning with natural features, fresh air and open space.”

Plans are in place and have been submitted to council to move the current yard’s features to a new location at the side of the property – and the charity needs the community’s help to put the plan into action.

We have a fantastic team here in Stockton who are truly committed to ensuring children who attend the centre receive the very best care and a quality start to life. It would be truly fantastic to see the community rally behind us to help rebuild our outdoor spaces for local children to enjoy.Mr Williams

The centre has been operating for more than 30 years, caring for and educating the children of Stockton and surrounds.

To donate, please visit: https://act.missionaustralia.com.au/stockton-fundraising

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