Community Outrage: Local parents rally to save Mosman Occasional Childcare Centre before Council closure.
LOCAL PARENTS ARE FIGHTING BACK AGAINST PLANS TO CLOSE THE MOSMAN OCCASIONAL CHILDCARE CENTRE - AND ARE CALLING FOR SUPPORT AHEAD OF NEXT WEEK’S COUNCIL MEETING, AS LOCAL MUM AND MOSMAN COLLECTIVE CONTRIBUTOR ALISON LEE REPORTS.
Nothing ever really prepares you for being a first-time parent.
Bringing your new born home from hospital, then entering a blurry world of sleepless nights, dirty nappies and incessant crying is both physically and mentally exhausting.
My husband and I didn’t ever anticipate how much support we would need, after the birth of our first child in 2016. And while we loved our beautiful baby girl Ariella, more than life itself, there was little time for anything else.
Like all new mums returning to work, I began the arduous task of researching child care services - and found myself drowning in a sea of options, with no idea which way to turn.
There was long day care, family day care, nannies, creches, nurseries and pre-schools.
Then out of the blue, a friend told me about a local service, provided by Mosman Council, that I’d never heard of.
It was the perfect solution.
Mosman Occasional Care Centre, nestled underneath the grand stand on Allan Border Oval, has been a life saver not only for me, but for thousands of other local mothers too. Known widely as MOCC, it gives parents access to affordable, quality childcare for babies and children aged between six-weeks and five years.
The wonderful thing about MOCC is that parents have the flexibility of using it for a minimum of one hour - or a maximum of nine hours - and you pay only for the time used, instead of a day-rate.
Why is that so important you may ask?
MOCC helps the sleep deprived new mums, who only want a couple of hours to catch up on much needed rest.
MOCC helps the big brothers and sisters with a new sibling in the house, by giving them some social interaction, while mum stays at home with the baby.
MOCC assists parents who are attending job interviews or legal appointments at short notice.
MOCC supports the mum with post-natal-depression, who needs to make an urgent appointment to see the family doctor.
MOCC also caters for the parent who simply needs two hands to do the grocery shopping.
In short, occasional care provides essential relief to a parent or guardian when they need it most.
When I finally ran out of maternity leave and returned to work, our daughter became a regular at MOCC. I remember dropping Ariella off, normally in floods of tears, and being comforted by words of encouragement from understanding staff, who always seemed to say just the right thing when I needed it most.
MOCC again came to the rescue when I was 38-weeks pregnant with my second child, providing a two-week booking for Ariella to cover the days I was in hospital and at home, adjusting to life with a new born.
As a local mum who has benefitted greatly from this local facility, I am passionate about ensuring MOCC stays put for future generations.
Mosman is a blessed part of the world, with beautiful beaches, a world class zoo, amazing coastal walks – and let’s be real here – some of the wealthiest people in Australia.
But not all residents are financially well off.
Surely, our community has the resources to save MOCC, which has supported some of the most vulnerable in our community over its 40-year history.
Not every parent has nearby family support.
Not every parent can afford regular, long day care.
Not every parent works standard hours.
As a community, it is time for action. We need to protect the wonderful services that make Mosman such a great place to live.
We want Council to revoke its decision to close MOCC in December.
We want public consultation on this matter.
We want our voices heard.
We want the new pavilion at Allan Border Oval to include a home for MOCC.