Snapshot of Suzanne's Community Development Work.
OUT OF SCHOOL HOURS CARE - a brief history.
The Wallsend Community Development Centre (WCDC) helped build a strong local community. Most of the projects the centre staff designed and piloted, were later rolled out nationally, to become a vital part of the social framework..
The Wallsend Community Development Centre (WCDC), was a not-for-profit organisation. It was established by Janette Kibble in the Newcastle suburb of Wallsend, in New South Wales. The centre operated from premises owned by the Newcastle City Council and operated from 1971 until 1989.
Janette was the Centre Director. She worked tirelessly to gain government funding and support from local businesses. Suzanne Fleming was a Project Manager and Social Researcher with the centre for a period of fourteen years.
In November 1974 Suzanne was contacted by Ian Bronowski, a project officer with the Department of Youth and Community Services (YACS). Ian had read a paper written by Suzanne, in which she examined the problems experienced by Latchkey Children. She identified the child-care difficulties working parents faced during school vacation periods, and before students begin classes and again after school hours.
Suzanne and Bronowski met to discuss the issues raised in the paper. At this meeting Bronowski asked Suzanne, if funds were made available, would she develop a solutions-model and run a pilot program to deliver, test, and refine her program; thus, resolving most of the problems Latchkey children, and their parents, experienced.
Suzanne developed a working model, and then implemented and ran it, throughout the pilot program. The first Activity Centre was established and delivered, in Wallsend, with a second centre set up in the inner-city suburb of Carrington.
The programs proved extremely successful and it was only a short time before two additional programs were started. One operated at the Windale Public School and another at Wickham Public School. The Australian jazz singer, writer and actress, Su Cruickshank was appointed to the Project Coordinator role for the Wickham centre and in addition to her already heavy workload, Janette Kibble, took on the Windale position. Suzanne Fleming continued to Project Manage and Coordinate the Wallsend and Carrington centres for three years.
The Honourable Frank Walker QC, the then Minister for Youth and Community Services, and Kenneth George "Ken" Booth, who was at the time, the New South Wales State Treasurer and the local member for Wallsend, both approved funding for the programs to operate for a period of two years. Ken Booth was extremely supportive of the work done by the Wallsend Community Development Centre and was proud of its achievements.
The School Vacation and Before and After School Care programs, operated under the auspices of the Wallsend Community Development Centre (WCDC), until the pilot period ended. At the end of the trial YACS conducted an intense evaluation to determine the success of the programs. The results were considered outstanding, and the model was replicated and rolled out state-wide. It was not long before the program was adopted by all the other states. To this day, it remains a nation program, although it is now known nationally by its new name, Out Of School Hour Care (OOSH).
Responsibility for funding, operations and administration in New South Wales, was transferred from the Department of Youth and Community Services, to the Department of Sport and Recreation. Nowadays most OOSH centres are operated by private sector and not-for-profit organisations.
Network receives funding from the NSW Department of Education to act as the peak body for OOSH services and to provide support for DOCS funded vacation care. There are approximately 1100 OOSH services in NSW.
Network of Community Activities (“Network”) is a recognised leader in the field of school age care and the largest membership organisation in Australia dedicated to the advocacy, promotion, resourcing and development of play, recreation and leisure activities for 5-14 year olds. Network, is one of the oldest not-for-profit peak bodies in the Australian Children’s Services sector. It was established in 1974 to support the development of programs for children within their local community.
KEY PEOPLE WHO SUPPORTED THE WORK OF THE WALLSEND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CENTRE (WCDC), by providing practical support and assistance, included:
Donald McKinnon (Don) Geddes.
For many years, Don was a Senior Partner of Baker Love & Geddes, which later became, Baker Love Lawyers. It is the oldest law firm in Newcastle and the Hunter region. The firm was founded by William Henry Baker as W.H. Baker Solicitor in 1875.
Don was a very popular lawyer and unique character in Newcastle. He was devoted to his duties, as well as his client practice, and eventually became the Deputy Lord Mayor of Newcastle.
Don Geddes quickly built a reputation as an exceptional criminal lawyer.
Bruce Callaghan: Social Planner and Project Manager, Department of Youth and Community Services. Bruce later became the Regional Director for YACS Hunter.
Alexander (Alec) Young – Young and Green Pty. Limited. Alec was a prominent Newcastle business who was known for his philanthropy. Alec was an active member of the Newcastle and Hunter community, and gave his time and money generously. This was usually done without fanfare and often anonymously.
Alec donated a late model motor vehicle to WCDC, and Young and Green took care of its repair and maintenance free of charge.
Later when WCDC established Newcastle’s first women’s refuge, Alec paid the first year’s leasing fees for the premises the refuge operated from.
Richard Face: was the ALP member for Charlestown from 1972 to 2003. He was the Minister for Gaming and Racing in Bob Carr's cabinet from 1995 until his retirement.
Ian Campbell, Newcastle Solicitor and Social Activist.
By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27668856