THE Swindon Lions have donated thousands of pounds to a number of local charities.

The Lions, a group who dedicate themselves to raising money for good causes, presented cheques of £1,000 each to five charities.

The money was raised at the popular fireworks display at the Polo Ground last year.

TWIGS, Inner Flame, SEQOL OK4U, Mediation Plus and Swindon Interactive Arts Service were each presented with the donation by Swindon Mayor Mick Bray .

“The money will make such a difference,” said Ben Snook, 20, a support assistant at SEQOL. “When we first heard about the money everyone was overwhelmed.

“We’re very grateful to the Swindon Lions for their donation.”

SEQOL OK4U, formerly Clapham Hobbs, is based in Upham Road and helps people with learning difficulties and disabilities.

Ben said: “We rely on donations like this so it helps so much.

“The money will be used on furnishing our garden and buying tools for it so everyone can go out there and hopefully enjoy the summer weather.”

One of the other charities helped by the money is Inner Flame, which helps young people into employment and tries to build their confidence.

Co-founder David Wreathall said: “The donation is absolutely brilliant. It will go a long way towards a programme we have just started.

“Firework is an eight week job club for 16 to 24-year-olds. We ran it last year but the £1,000 will allow it to expand this time.

“We only found out we were getting the donation a week before so it was certainly a nice surprise.”

Jeni Burchell, the CEO of Mediation Plus, which helps families cope with separation, said: “We know how much hard work the Lions do for charity so we’re very grateful.

“It’s a very tough time for charities at the moment to get funds together and this money will make a huge difference to children and young people going through a difficult time.”

The Swindon Lions have been raising money for almost 48 years and have so far raised more than £300,000 for numerous charities in the local area.

The fireworks display is their biggest fundraiser and last year’s event saw more than 8,000 people turn up and enjoy £8,000 worth of fireworks.