More pre-schoolers in Manurewa will have access to early childhood services with two new services attached to the Leabank and Randwick Park communities and sited on council land.
Manukau City Council has been working with the Ministry of Education to secure the much-needed services.
Cr Colleen Brown, who is a member of the Manurewa Advisory Group, says the two new services will be a real asset to the community.
“The senior staff at Randwick Park School have been lobbying for years for this centre and I’m happy to have helped them, even to the extent of writing to the Prime Minister John Key.
“Some of the lowest before-school participation rates in New Zealand are in Manurewa, and these two new services will help ensure more children get those all-important foundation skills before going to school,” Cr Brown says.
The service going to Leabank is likely to be part of the new multi-sports centre being developed in Mountfort Park, while the Randwick Park centre will be next door to the Randwick Park school.
“We shouldn’t underestimate the importance of this model,” Cr Brown says. “The Manurewa Advisory Group has always advocated for community centres where a mix of services reflecting the community’s needs can be based”.
“Both of these sites offer a unique perspective on this model. When the advisory group surveyed more than 400 students in Randwick Park, they were unanimous in wanting space for their parents to meet. We anticipate that there will be additional rooms on the Randwick Park site for services such as police, Housing NZ, a meeting room and possibly medical services. We are also working with the council to get toilet facilities provided as well.”
Manukau has 10 per cent of New Zealand’s pre-school age population, yet has a low number of early childhood services, and some of the lowest pre-school participation rates in the country.