LEGACY: CEO Michael Henning and staff members Katie Chauvier and Sylvia Gaiotto with Occasional Care kids.
LEGACY: CEO Michael Henning and staff members Katie Chauvier and Sylvia Gaiotto with Occasional Care kids. Eden Boyd

Beloved Coast childcare service closing after 30 years

A MUCH-LOVED childcare service is closing its doors after 30 years of making memories.

The Maroochy Neighbourhood Centre is ending its occasional day care due to dwindling enrolments.

Although a flexible and cheaper service offering walk-ins for as little as $45 a day, a lack of government funding began the demise of occasional care in Queensland.

CEO Michael Henning said they'd had to bite the bullet and close, marking "the end of an era".

"It's really disappointing, but parents' needs have changed, they are now looking for consistent longer-term child care which we can't provide."

Numbers often fluctuated, Mr Henning said, which the centre couldn't afford to accommodate.

"Four kids a day doesn't cut the mustard for us, it doesn't pay our staff and for that level of quality they need to be paid."

Despite it being "very successful" for three decades, the "community has changed" and Mr Henning believes they need to adapt.

"Our core business in engaging and connecting with community hasn't changed, just the arm of the childcare is what is closing."

Team leader Katie Chauvier runs the program and said it would "be a shame to see everyone go their separate ways".

"It is tough to say goodbye to the kids and the families we have created relationships with," she said.

Ms Chauvier said the service was shutting down due to a lack of intake after the older children moved on to Prep.

As a non-funded program, the centre relied on fees to keep it running.

Ms Chauvier said it could be difficult for parents to find new occasional care.

"It'll be hard for parents to find competitive and flexible child care for $45 a day."

Mr Henning has no plans to offer other childcare services in the future.

"Unless there was a huge demand for it, which would need to be evidence-based, then I wouldn't consider it," he said.

The Maroochy Neighbourhood Centre's Occasional Care Service will close on Friday, April 12.



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