More space equals more care! Revamped Lady Huntingfield Early Learning Centre unveiled
Having served the local community for more than 80 years, Lady Huntingfield Early Learning Centre has been revamped to provide additional support to the growing North Melbourne community.
The $10.2 million redevelopment of the centre, which is also a family services centre, was funded by the City of Melbourne, which has been planning the expansion since 2016 in consultation with the local community.
An additional $1.6 million was also provided by the Victorian Government to support the project through its Children’s Facilities Capital Grant program.
On April 28, Lord Mayor Sally Capp, Cr Dr Olivia Ball and Victorian Minister for Early Childhood Ingrid Stitt visited the new facility, which reopened to the community in August last year.
According to Cr Dr Ball, who leads the council’s health, wellbeing and belonging portfolio, the “first-class facility” would provide an all-inclusive place which supports parents and helps give kids a “positive start in life.”
The centre is already having a positive impact on local families, who are accessing services including childcare, maternal and child health care and new parent sessions.
The original centre was demolished to make room for the new two-storey building, and with a focus on sustainability being paramount in the build, solar panels, rainwater harvesting, natural ventilation and energy-efficient fittings were put in place.
Since reopening in August 2021, Lady Huntingfield has provided services to local families through more than 1000 different sessions and appointments, including everything from long day care to kindergarten, playgroups, maternal and child health services, family support and counselling and parenting services.
With more than 100 education and care places now available, the added space also means the facility been able to provide enough room to nearly double its intake.
“This upgrade shows what the future of early learning can look like. The centre focuses on providing a range of education and care options, housed in a facility that is environmentally sustainable,” Minister Ingrid Stitt said.
While separate learning centres and family service entities are still around, it is this model of integration and everything being “under one roof” that Lord Mayor Sally Capp said was “easier for locals” when accessing the required services.
“The Lady Huntingfield Early Learning Centre has served our municipality for more than 80 years, and we’re proud to deliver this important upgrade to support the growing North Melbourne community,” Cr Capp said.
“We know integrated care is the way of the future, as it provides education and care from birth to school age delivered by qualified teachers, with the flexibility for parents and carers to choose the days and hours that meet their needs.” •
Main caption: L-R: Cr Rohan Leppert, Cr Dr Olivia Ball, Lord Mayor Sally Capp, Minister for Early Childhood Ingrid Stitt, Cr Davydd Griffiths and Member for Northern Metropolitan Sheena Watt celebrate the grand opening of the Lady Huntingfield Early Learning Centre. Photos: Murray Enders.