New Arrowtown preschool opens after five-year fight for funding

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A five-year saga to build Arrowtown’s second preschool ended today with local MP Bill English praising the determination of parents who saw it through. 

At the official opening of the Arrowtown Early Learning Centre, Deputy Prime Minister English says the committee’s “motivation, focus and patience” meant that it was “one of the best groups” he’s ever worked with. 

The centre’s steering group formed in 2005 when the need for another early childhood education centre became apparent. 

Parents compiled statistics to support the need, obtained resource consent and found a builder – but they were shot down in 2008 when the Government refused $700,000 funding. 

They managed to get the money second time round, in July 2009 – English played a “small part in persuading the bureaucrats” he says. 

“They do want to help, sometimes it just takes a while for them to get there,” English jokes. 

“There’re not many public opportunities to acknowledge the hard work the parents do,” he adds. 

“We spend a lot of time as politicians working with the things that don’t work in our country and in our communities. Day after day we are working with the costs of failure…it’s great to be reminded that on this sort of occasion that families like this actually work. 

“Most families succeed and this is the kind of thing that helps families succeed.” 

Arrowtown Early Learning Centre, which sits next to Arrowtown School, presently takes about 20 toddlers and complements the existing Arrowtown Community Preschool.