Four decades of centre celebrated

Community initiative . . . Gore Parents Centre life member Bernadette Hunt (left) and president Vicki Ramsay cut the ceremonial cake to celebrate 40 years at the Gore Kids Hub Centre. PHOTO: VALU MAKA

The Gore Parents Centre celebrated its 40th jubilee last week.

President Vicki Ramsay said the community organisation was formed by the late Karen Stuart in 1981.

“It’s lovely to be able to get together and celebrate with mothers, their little children and past members.”

About 20 members and their children attended the event.

The celebration consisted of a music session and the cutting of a ceremonial cake.

In the early years it was a challenge to find a space to hold classes, she said.

“The organisation started at SIT [the Southern Institute of Technology] and then we had to shift, so we held our antenatal classes in a building on Mersey St, but it was always damp.

“So when we finally we’re able to get our own space at the Gore Kids Hub it was great.”

Volunteers had played an important part in the organisation over the past years, she said.

“We have newsletters dating back to the 90s. In my research I had found 172 committee volunteers from the period 1995 to 2021.

“Everyone plays a part and none of this happens without people.”

Life member and past president Bernadette Hunt played an instrumental role in the establishment of the Parent’s Centre room at the Gore Kids Hub.

“I remember it even before there was a building site,” she said.

Mrs Hunt joined the group at the beginning of 2009 after members had stepped down and new volunteers were required.

She, Jacqui Thompson, Sara McVicar, Steph Reid and Natasha McColl aimed to revive the organisation.

“It was on the cusp of folding and five of us stepped in to try and keep it going. At the time we were in the back of the operative building on Mersey St.

“So we made a big effort to spruce up the rooms there, held open days to attract members – it has gone from strength to strength since.”

After the uncertainty of the group’s survival in 2009, it was great to see the organisation celebrating its 40th year, she said.

“With it almost folding it’s amazing to see it still thriving. So it shows the effort people have put into trying to keep it alive.”

The group had an important role to play in the community.

“The Gore parent centre is different because it is about supporting parents and recognising that and focusing on parent education and antenatal classes.”