Call for help ... Tracey Ward and her daughter Sienna. CHRIS RIX
Call for help ... Tracey Ward and her daughter Sienna. CHRIS RIX

ABC centres battling to stay alive

COFFS Harbour ABC Learning Centre parent Tracey Ward is calling for parents to pay up outstanding fees to help keep the centre open and staff employed.

The centre in Thompsons Road is under review by the receivers of the troubled child care chain, putting it under threat of closure.

More than 80 children attend the purpose-built long day care centre, including small babies.

Tracey said her 10-month old daughter Sienna had been going to ABC since she was three months old and loved the carers there.

"I noticed a sign on the door saying there was $30,000 outstanding in fees," she said.

"It’s such a shame this centre may be closed down after Christmas because of the outstanding fees, not to mention all the wonderful people who work there will be out of a job - what a dampener on their Christmas."

Tracey, who works in the building industry, said she knows just what a fast-growing town Coffs Harbour is and how much child care centres are needed.

She said she spent months looking for child care she was happy with, so she could return to work in May.

"I wanted home care because she was so small, but I couldn’t get it," she said.

"The girls that work at ABC are always so approachable and helpful and we trust them with our most precious possession – let’s thank them by showing the creditors that it needs to stay open and then they can keep their jobs."

Two other ABC centres at Toormina and Moonee have been guaranteed that they will continue to trade in 2009, but one of two Grafton ABC centres is also under review.

All centres will remain open until December 31 with money provided by the Federal Government.

Families can expect a further announcement from ABC Learning Centres receivers McGrathNichol next week on plans for the centres.

Chris Honey from McGrathNichol said yesterday they were working ‘closely and productively’ with government on a plan to provide childcare places for ABC families into the New Year.

Coffs Harbour ABC Learning Centre parent Deborah Perry said it was definitely a profitable centre because it was full.

"All the parents want to keep it open," she said.

Parent Josh Squires said his son Lachlan also loved the centre and they didn’t want to lose it

"It’s one of the best places we’ve had,’ he said.

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