Photo caption: Celebrating funding for a three-year Occupational Therapy program at Walcha Central School. Back row, left, Walcha Central School P&C Secretary Kelly Makeham, Principal Amanda Cooper, and P&C President Olivia Nivison. Front, students Millie Laurie, Eliza Nivison, Molly Makeham, Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall, Bronte Pascoe, Deputy Premier Paul Toole, Elsie Laurie and Shaun McKenna.
Friday, 24 February 2023
WALCHA will have occupational therapy services for every school student in the district from May this year, following an announcement today by Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall of a ground-breaking new $229,851 three-year program at Walcha Central School.
Mr Marshall was at the school today to make the announcement of funding from the State Government, hailing it as a red-letter day for the community.
“Occupational therapy services are much-needed in the community and vital for many students to get the most of their school learning,” Mr Marshall said.
“This innovative solution to a local problem will have long-lasting benefits on the youngsters, and their parents, who now be able to access these services in Walcha three times each year over the next three years.
“This is a great initiative and will help build confidence and skills in children for their everyday life – whether it be handwriting in class or catching a ball in the playground.
“Bringing the services to Walcha will ease the burden on families, so they don’t have to travel vast distances or wait for months on end to access these important services.
“Well done to the Walcha Central School P&C for their enthusiasm and proactiveness to develop this solution and see it through to securing the required funds.”
Walcha Central School P&C Association President Olivia Nivison welcomed the funding and said local parents could be waiting up to 18 months to see a paediatrician or travel 2-3 hours for an appointment to see an occupational therapist.
“Walcha families and educators will now be able to access services and support that can make a real difference in their child’s everyday life,” Ms Nivison said.
“Our three-year project will co-ordinate and provide access to Occupational Therapy programs in a timely manner at no cost to families.
“Families who have children aged 0-18 years living in the Walcha local government area will benefit from this project.
“We anticipate that many local families will access the free screenings that will be available for their children.
“I would like to highlight the amazing work of Student Support Officer Karen Barnes in securing this funding.”
Happy Dots in Newcastle will send two occupational therapists to Walcha, three times per year, for a series of one-week intensives commencing in early May.