By Kate Taylor
It makes for a strange story, but the Literacy Trail has won Moorabool Shire Council’s Australia Day Award for Community Event of the Year – despite council announcing after last year’s trail that it would be the event’s final one.
Despite the council-run event receiving council-awarded recognition, it was not a council decision to end the award-winning event.
Funding for the event has been cut – it was funded under the Best Start Program with state government money, but a review saw the government decide that the funds should instead be spent on services for families and children experiencing significant challenges.
The cost of staging the literacy trail annually is more than $70,000 – but the event is extraordinarily popular, with more than 1500 kids attending last year’s event.
“The event brings together local businesses, emergency services, community groups, health and welfare organisations, schools, kindergartens, playgroups and the general public, all with the shared goal of educating our young children about the importance of reading, writing and numeracy,” read the nomination for the event.
“(it) …relies heavily on the good will of many in our community to ensure the whole town is engaged in the event. Many people give of their time, creativity, expertise and resources – the Best Start Literacy Trail Event is a community working together to support our kids.”
The invitation remains open for local groups or organisations to take over the operation of the Literacy Trail, which was held for the past 10 years and alternated between the main streets of Ballan and Bacchus Marsh.