By Stephen Cauchi
7 December 2021
Those driving by St Agnes’ Glen Huntly may wonder if it’s a childcare centre or a church. The answer is – it’s both.
The church has long shared its premises with a childcare facility, and is working with the new operator, Pinnacle Early Learning, for the mutual benefit of the community.
Where the previous operator was a very large company, the new operator is smaller and more willing to work with the church on projects.
St Agnes’ vicar Reverend Dr Alexander Ross said the church had gone through a big process in the past three years to change the operators in the childcare centre.
“They have a particular focus on community partnerships really – and partnering with us as the church,” he said.
The partnership has encompassed not only the shared use of facilities but also shared programs, Dr Ross said.
The lease with Pinnacle began in July, although the opening ceremony was held on Sunday 21 November.
As part of the new lease, the church hall has been converted with an extensive renovation, Dr Ross said. He said the childcare’s playground facility had been one of the most useful shared facilities.
In return, Pinnacle are able to use the church’s community garden.
“The church can also use the playground space for kids’ activities on outside hours and the weekend, so there’s a real sense of partnership in it,” he said.
“The idea is they will use the garden as well with their kids and bring their kids over – so it’s a real sense of cross-purpose between the two.”
The childcare centre and church joined forces in November to have a community open day, and blessing of the community garden.
“That was a wonderful day, a beautiful morning,” Dr Ross said.
“It was a symbol of the partnership between the two.”