The Naramata Child Development Centre is asking citizens to help out in a big way before a Dec. 31 deadline, after serving the community for 40 years. (Photo courtesy of the Naramata Child Development Centre)

The Naramata Child Development Centre is asking citizens to help out in a big way before a Dec. 31 deadline, after serving the community for 40 years. (Photo courtesy of the Naramata Child Development Centre)

‘Critical situation’: Naramata Child Development Centre in urgent need of $10k

Recruiting and retaining qualified staff key to keeping the centre going

The longtime running Naramata Child Development Centre is looking for a Christmas miracle of sorts to keep offering their services to families in the area.

According to the non-profit organization, $10,000 is needed by Dec. 31 to bring in much needed qualified staff.

Without the money which is also needed to keep the building running and expanding into 2022, the organization says staff recruitment and retainment will suffer.

When Will van Middendorp arrived in Naramata last summer to work at the community’s only child centre, he knew something was missing.

Since then, he and the centre’s president, Jen Newton, have been on a quest to ensure their building can sustain operations for years to come.

Today, the centre is calling its current situation ‘critical’ after losing two employees during the summer and not having the available funds to get new staff in place and ramp up the centre’s services.

The not-for-profit organization is urgently hoping to raise $10,000 by Dec. 31 and according to van Middendorp, they’ve managed to already raise half the amount. Still, there’s a long way to go with a number of issues on the centre’s list.

“Staffing is a big issue,” said van Middendorp, the vice president on the centre’s board of directors. “We’re in Naramata and it’s the treasure of the Okanagan but it’s not as easy to find qualified staff and you need qualified staff to keep up with licensing.”

The main focus going into the new year is resolving the centre’s staffing issues, which is attributed to a historically lean budget, the pandemic, and a lack of affordable housing.

As of next year, the Naramata Child Development Centre can host 14 children. But right now, there’s only one certified employee working, limiting the amount of kids who can attend to eight at the daycare and before and after school services.

“If you have enough kids, at least your money goes up and you can afford things a little better, but if you don’t have staff than none of that is happening,” said van Middendorp.

For over 40 years, the Naramata Child Development Centre has served the area. And today, as the only child development centre in the community, they say the challenges of continuing operations is becoming increasingly difficult.

“The Naramata Child Development Centre is now calling on Naramata to come together again, this time for the kids,” the centre said in a press release before the start of the $10,000 fundraiser.

Cannery Brewing is getting behind the centre. For ever Cannery pack you buy in Naramata they will make a donation.

To donate before the Dec. 31 deadline, the centre is asking people to visit naramatachildcare.com/fundraiser.

READ MORE: Photos with Santa being taken to support charity at Penticton brewery on Sunday


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