HOPEFUL: Members of the Gunalda and District Kindergarten Association Inc committee and friends keen to see involvement from the community grow include (from left) playgroup co-ordinator Rebecca Tweedale, teacher Bronwyn McDowell, Leura Tweedale, Chloe Hawksfield, vice-president Donna Hawksfield and president Mandee Harvey.
HOPEFUL: Members of the Gunalda and District Kindergarten Association Inc committee and friends keen to see involvement from the community grow include (from left) playgroup co-ordinator Rebecca Tweedale, teacher Bronwyn McDowell, Leura Tweedale, Chloe Hawksfield, vice-president Donna Hawksfield and president Mandee Harvey. DONNA JONES

Kindy begs for community assistance to stay open

THERE are only four children enrolled at the kindergarten at Gunalda for next year.

That's a pretty poor showing considering it is the only kindergarten between Gympie and Maryborough.

There are a couple of reasons for this, according to current president of the Gunalda and District Kindergarten Association Inc, Mandee Harvey.

Mrs Harvey said she had lived in the area for 13 years before she knew the kindy was even there.

"It was only when I had to use it for my son that I found out about it,” she said.

But the kindy has been part of Gunalda for more than 25 years, starting in the school which is just up the road in 1991. In 1993, a former school building was moved to the Bull St location and this became the current kindergarten.

Progressive committees throughout the years have gained funding through various grants to upgrade the playground and some of the facilities, as the kindy receives little government funding, but the women involved now say this process is well out of their comfort zone.

Also, the fact the kindy doesn't offer childcare facilities means students don't attract childcare subsidies.

Because of this, some parents are opting to take their kindergarten-aged children in with their other children to Gympie or Maryborough where they can get rebates on childcare fees.

"When we lose a child, we potentially lose their siblings, too,” committee vice-president Donna Hawksford said.

The kindergarten at Gunalda operates five days a fortnight and a lot of the recent renovations have been done with volunteer labour by the committee members, including Mrs Harvey, who sourced second-hand tins of paint to update the interior space with vibrant colour.

"Rebecca's husband does the mowing and maintenance and we recently had an electrician test and tag everything,” Mrs Harvey said.

She said one of the teachers would be leaving and the kindergarten was looking for a replacement.

The kindy is eating into the money allocated for next year just to pay the bills to keep the lights on.

"We would love to see the community get involved - join the committee, help out with maintenance or up-keep, even have the grandparents come along once in a while to read a book to the kids,” Mrs Harvey said.

They would also love someone to come on board who knows how to write grant applications or people to help with fundraising.

A Go-Fund-Me page has been set up at www.gofundme.com/gunalda-amp-district-kindergarten-assc-inc and an open day is planned for Monday, December 10 at 8.30am.

"We ask with open hearts for your generosity,” Mrs Harvey said.

"Your donations are very important to us. We will not survive without your help.”