Early Christmas windfall for local playgroup

Children at the Charleston Pre-School Playgroup are celebrating after receiving an early Christmas present of almost £5,000.

The grant, from the Communities and Families Fund, will be used to update the group’s play and educational resources, pay for the installation of a storage shed for equipment and buy two laptops to help with the running of the group.

Secretary Jo Stephen said the parents are “ecstatic” with the £4,954 windfall, which represents more than a considerable portion of the playgroup’s annual fund-raising, and added that credit should go to former vice-chairwoman Zoe Lyburn who lodged the application.

She continued: “To raise those kind of funds with our usual fund-raisers would take about 18 months. It’s fantastic and we’ll have resources that the toddler and playgroup children will be using.”

It follows another successful application for grant funding last year which saw the group net £10,000.

Jo added: “We like to apply for grants as it takes the pressure off parents and the kids get access to fantastic resources.

“At the moment we have children coming from surrounding areas and we’re one of the higher rated playgroups in Angus.”

Supported by the Big Lottery Fund and the Scottish Government, the Communities and Families Fund distributed a total of £299,457 as part of its latest round of funding.

Maureen McGinn, chairwoman of the Big Lottery Fund Scotland Committee, said: “Funding will support a range of grassroots projects aimed at improving the quality of life of children under eight years old.

“Some projects will improve access to early learning or play while others will offer additional support for first time parents.

“We want to fund more of these types of project which give children the best start in life.

“It’s a simple application so I would encourage people to call us, or visit our website, to find out more.”

The Communities and Families Fund has a budget of £4.5 million from The Scottish Government and £1.5 million from the Big Lottery Fund. Groups can apply for funding from £250 to £10,000.

Further information about the scheme and how to apply can be found at www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/prog_communities_and_families_fund, or phoning 0300 1237110.