Help decide how to spend $3m on kids

IF YOU want to help spend $3 million on Gladstone's toddlers, now is the time to get involved.

The project is called Gladstone Communities for Children Consor-tium and what is unusual is the government is leaving it up to the community to decide how and where the money is spent.

However, there is the proviso that it is spent on zero to five-year-olds.

The project has been on the table for a while, and recently employed project manager Rees Banks, but it was only last week that Gladstone Area Promotion and Development Limited (GAPDL) was officially granted the funding.

Now the funding is official, the community can set up an advisory group that will decide how to best spend the money.

GAPDL CEO Danial Rochford said the general target of the funding was early childhood development although the community decided what issues, within this area, most needed to be addressed,

'Communities for Children is to support zero to five-year early child development in Gladstone and Calliope Shires,' Mr Rochford said.

'There is a strong link between a lack of early childhood development support and antisocial behaviour in later years.'

The project is the first of its kind and Gladstone was lucky enough to be one of only 35 communities across Australia to be part of the initiative.

The next six months will be spent developing a plan and a framework, to decide how the money will be spent.

The first step is for a community advisory group to be set up to design the strategic plan for the project.

Community meetings over the next few weeks will include anyone who is interested.

For information, phone the GAPDL on 4972 4000.

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