Lucky children attending Chilton Chicks toddler group at Chilton Foliat have loads of new play and learning equipment and a safer environment in which to play thanks to a lottery grant.

The Chicks has secured a £3,300 award from The Big Lottery Fund to help finance a whole new range of equipment for its members who are aged up to five years old.

As well as toys and learning aids, the voluntary run organisation, which operates at Chilton Foliat village hall, has used the money to buy safety mats and indoor fencing for the hall, helping to create a safe and fun environment.

Organiser Helen Purslow said: “The group has been working hard for some time to reinvigorate itself and its equipment through our own fundraising, but to get a Big Lottery Award of over £3,000 has made such a difference to us.

“The group is now able to offer a different selection of toys each week on a six-week cycle, ensuring children gain a variety of experiences.

“Toys are organised according to age in order to provide a broad skills base on offer.

“The funding has also provided money for a creative station where children are free to paint, draw and colour at any time during the session.”

Mrs Purslow said families with young children, particularly in small villages, can feel very isolated because until children reach nursery age there is little support for them or opportunities for group play.

“Thanks to the Big Lottery Fund award to Chilton Chicks, parents are making new friends, gaining support and the children have a fun time, enjoying their first experiences of playing with other children in a fun, safe and creative environment,” Mrs Purslow said.

The toddler group is run by mums for mums and has been running for six years. It meets every Monday morning between 9.30am-11.30am during term time.

The first session for newcomers is free and thereafter it is £1 per adult and £1 per child over nine months.

For more details see the Chilton Chicks Facebook page or call Mrs Purslow on 07779 795708 or Anna Wilson on 07971 205064.