Funding call to help keep centre going

Taylar AmoniniNorth West Telegraph

After almost a decade of visiting authors and writing workshops, Pilbara schools will say goodbye to The Literature Centre.

In the last seven years, the centre has brought Australian authors to the Pilbara to take part in educational workshops to nurture reading and writing in students.

The programs have been made possible through a funding partnership with BHP, however after a national review of education programs the mining giant has opted not to renew the contract, according to a spokeswoman.

“BHP regularly reviews its social investment strategy to ensure that funding is balanced across a range of needs in the community,” she said. “As part of a national review of educational programs, which was completed in consultation with local communities and agencies including the WA Education Department, a strategy was developed to focus investment in education on programs embedded in schools.”

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In place of the partnership with the centre, the mining giant has increased its investment in the Pilbara Education Partnership by another $7 million over the next five years to cover school programs in Newman and Hedland.

Literature Centre director Lesley Reece said while they were disappointed the partnership was ending, the centre would seek funding from other sources to continue its programs in the Pilbara.

“Naturally, we are disappointed that BHP will not continue our partnership beyond 2017 as it has enabled us to maintain the quality and extent of our work throughout WA, including regular workshops in Port Hedland and Newman,” she said.

“Our literature-based programs have delivered benefits not only to students but to the secondary English and primary school teachers and school librarians as part of their professional development.

“We would welcome any future funding that would enable us to build on the good work we have delivered to schools in the Pilbara over the past six years.”

BHP has invested $23 million in Hedland and Newman schools since 2005.

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