Kelli Radford (centre) with her flowers, with members of the Uniting Church Child Care Centre committee, Rachel Kraak (with her youngest daughter Iris), Narelle Collins and Reverend Dave Thomas (with Piper Kraak). Monday marked the 20th year anniversary for Kelli for working with UCCCC.
Kelli Radford (centre) with her flowers, with members of the Uniting Church Child Care Centre committee, Rachel Kraak (with her youngest daughter Iris), Narelle Collins and Reverend Dave Thomas (with Piper Kraak). Monday marked the 20th year anniversary for Kelli for working with UCCCC.

55 children a day for 20 years, and telling it like it is

DIRECTOR of the United Church Child Care Centre Kelli Radford has spent the past 20 years putting children first.

And not just her own children, but 55 young people every day from families from all across the region.

Yesterday, Ms Radford was recognised for her hard work and dedication with a small celebration featuring cake, flowers and a memento of the occasion – a platinum bracelet with the initials of her own children on it.

Ms Radford loves the work she does, and has been in the industry for 37 years.

“Every one of the kids is so unique, so memorable,” Ms Radford said.

“Children I’ve looked after are now starting to bring their kids here and students I’ve looked after when they were young are now employees.

“I really love that connection I have with the community,” she said.

Reverend Dave Thomas said having someone as dedicated as Ms Radford in the role could be challenging but she is undoubtedly the best person for the job.

“Kelli likes to tell it like it is,” Rev Thomas said.

“I appreciate that, but she’s also fair and understands limitations and will try to work through the ­problems to achieve her ­desired outcomes.

“Everything is about the kids and staff, in that order,” he said.

Ms Radford said any success she has enjoyed is due in a large part to the team she works with and the committee behind the Centre.

“If I didn’t have these people behind me, I couldn’t do it,” she said.

“We’re more of a family than just a child care centre. That’s it, we’re just one big, fat family.”