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Happy bunch . . . Casa Nova Kindergarten is halfway to its fundraising target of $80,000 for the construction of a deck and veranda, much to the delight of its children and head teacher Sarah Newlands (middle right) and teacher Fran Downing (back, second left). PHOTO: DANIEL BIRCHFIELD

An Otago Community Trust grant of $18,000 will help the Oamaru Kindergarten Association with its goal of completing a project at Casa Nova Kindergarten that has been years in the making.

Plans are in place to build a veranda and deck at the Raglan St kindergarten with a price tag of about $80,000.

Julie Craig, of the Oamaru Kindergarten Association, said when the trust grant was added to the $15,000 raised by the association’s fundraising committee and a $5000 grant from the Lions Foundation, about half of the required funds had been raised.

“We have done quite a bit of work on Casa Nova in the last three to five years and this is kind of the last project left on our to-do list,” she said.

“It’s great that we’ve got it and it certainly has confirmed that we can get the project under way as soon as we can. It’s a big help with the $80,000 we are looking for.”

Mrs Craig said the veranda and deck would benefit both children and staff, and allow for more outdoor exploration and learning.

“It provides that lovely indoor/outdoor environment for the teachers and the kids, where they’ve got a flow from indoors to outdoors – especially in cold or wet weather when they can’t actually get right outside. It’s just more space really and the ability to go outside on a rainy day and not get wet.”

Casa Nova head teacher Sarah Newlands said the staff and children were all excited about the project.

“It’s getting closer. It’s something we have been working towards for a long time.”

In total, the trust donated $36,500 to five organisations as part of its October round of funding.

Other recipients included the Oamaru Victorian Heritage Celebrations Committee ($8000) for the cost of running this year’s celebrations; CCS Disability Action Waitaki ($5000) to assist in the costs of providing support, co-ordination and resources for the district’s disabled youth; the North Otago branch of the Citizens Advice Bureau ($3500) to help fund its local operations; and the Waitaki Summer Music Camp ($2000) for its 10-day course for orchestral musicians.