Centre fights for funds


'DEVASTATING' is the only way to describe the effect the closure of Gumnut Community Preschool would have on the community of Burringbar according to director Joan Bridgham.

The preschool, which has been operating for 25 years, was struggling to keep its doors open due to lack of funding.

"We are funded by the NSW Department of Community Services but their funding does not cover all the costs, the shortfall has to come from the community," Ms Bridgham said.

"Unfortunately we are in a small community that has had no development in the area to promote growth and the same families are left to support all the local sporting and community groups."

Ms Bridgham, who has been at the preschool for 24 years, said the preschool was now at the crossroads of making the serious decision of whether or not they could continue to operate.

"Each year we have to raise $10,000 to remain viable. Four thousand of that comes through fees paid by parents but that still leaves $6000 to raise," she said.

"We do this through lots of trivia nights, raffles and guessing competitions."

Ms Bridgham said at the moment 36 families utilised the preschool with 38 children enrolled.

"It will be devastating if the preschool closes. We're a real meeting place for parents in the community and we are situated in a beautiful picturesque valley on an acre of ground.

"We offer a playgroup each week on Thursday mornings and we find that if in crisis, parents come to us as well as new people to the area."

Ms Bridgham said they were holding some last-ditch attempts to raise the much-needed funds which would include a barbecue this Sunday at the Harvey Norman store in Tweed Heads South, and a trivia night on September 23 at the Burringbar Hall.

"We don't want to see the centre close so we're doing everything we can to try and keep the preschool operating.

"It would be a real shame to lose this valuable re-source."

If anyone can help, contact Joan Bridgham on (02) 6677 1578.

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