Young children in Hepburn will have access to better kinder facilities with the Victorian Government supporting more projects to upgrade and improve learning environments while supporting local jobs. Hepburn Shire Council will benefit from a $428,000 grant to upgrade the building which houses the Hepburn Kindergarten.

Member for Macedon, Mary-Anne Thomas, announced that Hepburn Kindergarten will receive one of the 32 grants across the state as part of the second round of funding from the state government’s $30 million Building Blocks – Refurbishment and Minor Works program.

The grants will seek to enhance the existing building to address identified issues with an aging facility, disability access and security. The proposed renovation of the kindergarten, will include upgrades to bathroom, kitchen, and office, refurbishment of the timber floors and energy efficient lighting upgrades.

Pull down blinds will be installed in the undercover outdoor play area for weather protection. A newly created carpark and drop-off zone and improvements to the front entrance ramp will provide better access and security for children, their carers and staff.

The kindergarten is managed by ECKA and Chief Executive Officer Joanne Geurts said this investment will see considerable improvements to the popular centre.

“This refurbishment will modernise and improve both access and amenities for the children and staff into the future,” said Ms Geurts. “ECKA is very thankful to both the Hepburn Shire Council and the Victorian State Government for their ongoing commitment to the Hepburn Kindergarten.”

“We know the importance of early education and this project will make Hepburn Kindergarten a more welcoming space to be enjoyed by some of our youngest community members,” said Mayor, Cr Lesley Hewitt. “We are very grateful to the Victorian Government for continuing to invest in our Shire.”

In total across the state, grants worth more than $2.71 million will fund projects at centres offering a funded kindergarten program in addition to the record $12 million already provided for 105 projects earlier this year.

Building Blocks is a streamlined overarching funding scheme that supports early childhood providers with new and existing infrastructure and facilities for eligible three and four-year-old kindergarten services. More information about the Building Blocks Grants is available on the state government website.

In an Australian-first, the Victorian government is investing almost $5 billion this decade to provide three-year-old children with access to an additional year of funded kindergarten programs. From 2022, three-year-old children across the state will have access to at least five hours of kindergarten. Services will then scale up their hours to reach the full 15-hour program by 2029. As part of the Three-Year-Old Kindergarten roll-out, the Victorian Budget 2021/22 has invested $1.68 billion to build and expand kindergarten facilities across the state over this decade.