Pink Floyd drummer to help Chippenham children's charity hit by £10,000 grant cut

This Is Wiltshire: Springboard manager Jane Boulton with one of her young charges at the Chippenham nursery Springboard manager Jane Boulton with one of her young charges at the Chippenham nursery

Springboard Opportunity Nursery has been overwhelmed by the generous response to an appeal for £10,000 after it was hit by a huge grant cut.

Last week the Gazette highlighted the fact that the Chippenham nursery for disabled children faced a massive fundraising tast after the government withdrew its Aiming High For Disabled Children grants.

This had provided £10,000 a year for the nursery and paid for its sessions for children under two.

Jane Boulton, manager of the centre at King’s Rise Children’s Centre, Pewsham, said it had been a ‘rollercoaster week’ as support had poured in from well-wishers. These include Pink Floyd’s drummer Nick Mason and his wife Annette, who live in Corsham.

Mrs Boulton said: “We have had a surge of passionate responses which has been much appreciated. It is understandable that families both past and present are up in arms about the cuts in funding.”

Nick and Annette Mason open up their extensive gardens at Middlewick House for charity each year. On reading last week’s Gazette they instantly decided Springboard would be this year’s beneficiary, along with Wiltshire Bobby Van Trust. Last year’s event had more than 1,000 visitors and raised nearly £15,000.

Mrs Mason said: “The Wiltshire Bobby Van Trust support the elderly and the vulnerable and Springboard the very young and vulnerable. They seem ideal partners. Both the charities help folk who live in our community, our town and even in our street.

"After reading the article, Nick and I knew we were making the right choice.”

Mrs Boulton said: “We are thrilled to be approached in this way. Collaborating with another charity is great for everyone.”

They are also being supported by events being planned by staff at Sainsbury’s and Roz Chandler at Rosemary Conley Diet and Fitness Club.

She said: “The government’s message is ironically about the benefits of early intervention and how as a result of this, the outcomes are greater for individuals and society as a whole.

“The reform within the Children and Families Act is that for children with SEN, provision and resources are made available at the earliest point in order that every child achieves their potential. This is our work, but it cannot be delivered on fresh air.”

Chippenham MP Duncan Hames said the government grant was only ever intended to last for three years when it was introduced in 2008.

He has written to Wiltshire Council to see if they are able to plug the gap.

Mr Hames said: “I'm sure it would have been hoped that this support for the nursery could have become part of the council's mainstream early years funding.

"Obviously I’m disappointed that Wiltshire Council have not chosen to do this and made a priority of other areas of expenditure.

“I welcome the Gazette’s campaign to help find an alternative source from which to plug this gap, and to support this service which is clearly cherished by those families that rely upon it.”

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