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Minya Porlar Creche closes its doors
After 21 years of operation, Murray Bridge’s Minya Porlar child care service will close on Friday.
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Minya Porlar Creche’s focus on the local Ngarrindjeri community was unique, but the centre is no longer sustainable.
The creche marked its end by doing what it does best: giving children fun and education.
Face painting, fairy floss, farm animals and a didgeridoo demonstration kept children entertained at the farewell event.
The occasion was a chance to provide closure to an important service to the Aboriginal community and vulnerable people.
Ngarrindjeri and Kokatha man Harley Hall began the formal part of the proceedings with a welcome to country and a smoking ceremony, in which he burned bluebush.
The ceremony was apt for the occasion.
“It’s about cleansing the area and about new beginnings. We call on ancestors to get rid of negative things in the area,” Mr Hall said.
Mr Hall’s three children are now in school, but they all went to Minya Porlar.
“It’s definitely sad. It’s always been great for the community and had the community’s best interests at heart,” he said.
Another Indigenous parent, who currently has children at the creche, expressed her sadness about the closing but also her hope.
“It’s had a good team. And it’s seen a lot of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal families go through it. But I’m sure something else will come up.”
Shane Maddocks, CEO of Minya Porlar operator AC Care, explained the decision to close the creche. “The centre isn’t fit for purpose anymore. To renovate it to new standards just wasn’t viable.
“A number of the kids are moving onto school, but for the other kids, we’re working with families to make sure they have somewhere else to go.
“It’s been a real privilege to provide this service, and we’ve had the trust and support of the community over 21 years.
“It’s a small, very community-focused centre, with great connections to the Ngarrindjeri community.
“Today is a celebration and a thank you to the families and community for their support over many years.”