MOCC Latest: Two Mosman mums share their reflections on the benefits of occasional care - forty years apart!
PARENTS ARE APPEALING FOR LOCAL COUNCIL TO RECONSIDER A DECISION OF CLOSING DOWN THE MOSMAN OCCASIONAL CHILDCARE CENTRE, LOCATED AT ALLAN BORDER OVAL. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE PRESIDENT, PAT PURCELL AND SOLICITOR VICTORIA QUAYLE SHARE THEIR REFLECTIONS ON THE SERVICE THAT HAS SUPPORTED THE COMMUNITY FOR 40 YEARS.
I was part of the original group, who started the Mosman Occasional Childcare Centre in the early 1980’s.
A lot of blood, sweat and tears went into setting it up and the service was run entirely by local parents for many years.
With four older children at school and my fifth child aged around 18-months, I was looking for someone to mind him for a few hours each week. When I heard that a community meeting had been called to discuss child care, I went along – and the idea of an occasional care centre in Mosman was borne.
A group of determined parents, me included, worked hard to establish the original MOCC.
We found an underused church hall that required renovating, then encouraged Mosman Council to fund the $8000 needed to make the location suitable for children under the age of five.
In its early years, MOCC could only afford to hire one qualified person (a registered nurse), so it meant that the parent committee would volunteer hours of free time each week, just to enable the centre to operate.
When the church hall was eventually demolished, we again went to Mosman Council and suggested that the area beneath the pavilion at Allan Border Oval would be perfect. The then General Manager, Viv May, agreed with us and we moved in a few months later.
The new location officially opened in 1986 and was run with passion, commitment and care.
I saw countless mothers blossom, from the opportunity of having some free time - and the comfort of knowing their children were being well looked after.
For some mums, MOCC was the only form of help. Often living far from grand-parents, or being new to the area, or just struggling with the minutiae of motherhood, our service offered a friendly face and a safe haven.
Later, when I had my shop “Wear it Again Sam”, mothers would pop in and tell me how MOCC had “saved them” in their times of need. I think these needs are still as valid today – and they need our community support.
My name is Victoria Quayle. I am a solicitor in private practice and work in Chatswood. My husband is a police officer. We have two daughters – Maeve (5) and Darcy (1). Maeve currently attends MOCC three days per week and Darcy will attend for one or two days shortly. I grew up in Mosman and also attended MOCC as a child for occasional care.
Maeve started at MOCC in 2016 when I went back to work full time. We chose the centre because of its small size, convenient location, affordability and because it was run by the Council.
I liked the fact it was not for profit and I felt very comfortable leaving my daughter there. Given the service was overseen by Council, I was confident I could expect high standards and high quality childcare and early education. I love that it is a small centre, so the care staff provide is nurturing and individualised.
Maeve loves MOCC and the educators are like family to her. The service has helped our family enormously over the past few years. My husband is a shift worker, so our requirements for childcare vary. With a roster changing at short notice it means forward planning is always challenging for us.
Committing to fixed, permanent days at a long day care would be extremely difficult for our family. We feel blessed that MOCC has always allowed us to be flexible with our childcare arrangements.
If occasional care wasn’t available, I would have had to delay returning to work. It has always been one of the main reasons we are reluctant to move out of Mosman, despite needing more space at home after having a second child!
MOCC has been a devoted and caring part of the Mosman community, providing families with excellent services for the last 40 years. As residents, it is something we can all be proud of. To think that Mosman Council has decided to close MOCC, on the basis there is no need for it, is of great concern to me – and many other parents.