All power to new Great Somerford pre-school

This Is Wiltshire: Pre-school committee members Becky and Patrick Neville outside the new Walter Powell Pre-school building in Great Somerford Pre-school committee members Becky and Patrick Neville outside the new Walter Powell Pre-school building in Great Somerford

A community has united to create a £50,000 pre-school building just six months after plans were first suggested.

Volunteers, local organisations, families and fundraisers gathered at the site of the new Walter Powell Pre-school serving Great Somerford and the surrounding villages to celebrate its re-opening.

The project has taken just six months, with 44 days spent building and decorating on site, thanks to support from local plumbers and electricians.

“It’s a world apart from what it was,” said Patrick Neville, chairman of the building project.

“The old building was effectively condemned, according to a building survey. It’s a great-looking building now.

“It provides everything that’s needed by the pre-school, which is much more than what was there in the past.

“The design of the building also really fits in with the local area.”

Wiltshire Council donated £20,000, while the parish council gave just under £7,000. Various groups, organisations and families also gave money, including £1,000 from Malmesbury Young Farmers.

“I think so many people got involved because they realised how important the preschool is for the community,” said Mr Neville, who is a governor at the primary school.

“The primary school only has 49 children and it is almost wholly reliant on the pre-school for its numbers, so I think people felt that if the pre-school didn’t survive then the primary school wouldn’t either. “It would rip the heart out of the village.”

The pre-school’s new facilities include a disabled toilet, office, upgraded kitchen and landscaped gardens, with plans in place for a pagoda.

Wiltshire councillor Toby Sturgis, who lives in Great Somerford, officially opened the facilities. He said: “It’s absolutely fantastic. They did a phenomenal job to deliver something so quickly when you need to get funding, planning permission and then to get it built on a school site.

“I’ve never seen so many people pulling together – it just goes to show what can be done.”

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