Lend support to children in need

This Is Wiltshire: Staff member Michaela Smith with pupil Ben, mayor Kelvin Nash and his wife Pam Staff member Michaela Smith with pupil Ben, mayor Kelvin Nash and his wife Pam

Devizes Opportunity Centre, which helps pre-school children with special educational needs, is still desperately in need of funds as demand for its services continues to grow, Devizes mayor Kelvin Nash heard last week.

Coun Nash has chosen the centre, which is based at Belle Vue Road in Devizes, as one of the charities to benefit from his Mayor’s Appeal, and he and mayoress Pam Nash visited the centre last Friday after it expanded its service to open five days a week.

Deputy manager Donna Harris said: “There are so many children needing our services and we can’t turn children away, so we have just started opening on a Friday morning. We have 58 children on our books, mainly from the Devizes and Melksham area, but we go as far as Marlborough and Great Bedwyn.”

In addition, the centre runs a satellite centre for ten children at Tidworth.

The staff are trained to cope with all the problems the children suffer from, and they need to be able to give medication, operate oxygen cylinders and deal with epileptic fits. All this training costs money, adding to the strain on the centre’s finances.

Coun Nash said: “I was so impressed with what I saw this morning. The centre fulfils a great need in the community and the staff are dedicated and hard working. I am so pleased Pam and I chose the centre as one of our charities.”

The centre has also benefited from money raised from a recycling scheme set up by the Community Foundation for Wiltshire and Swindon and Perrys Recycling.

Following the closure of recycling banks at schools to save Wiltshire Council money, the foundation arranged the alternative scheme with recycling banks at eight paper banks across Wiltshire, including at Morrisons supermarket in Devizes.

Centre manager Betty Newman said: “We are very appreciative of the support from the Community Foundation.

“In these very challenging financial times, charitable funding is becoming increasingly hard to source and the foundation provides an invaluable source of information of potential funding opportunities for our charity.”

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