Staff at Stepping Stones special needs nursery are over the moon after receiving a donation of £5,000 in support of the Wiltshire Times’ Give Us a Chance appeal.

A Bradford on Avon healthcare group was so moved to read of the funding plight facing the Trowbridge-based nursery that it came forward with a cheque for half the appeal’s £10,000 target.

Last month Stepping Stones, which serves west Wiltshire children with learning difficulties and disabilities, lost £10,000 of funding from Wiltshire Council, after central government withdrew its Aiming High For Disabled Children grants. This left it needing to raise a total of £50,000 a year and prompted the Times to launch a campaign.

Having read the coverage, the Friends of Bradford on Avon Community Healthcare (FOBOACH) came forward , and secretary Barbara Bridgeman said: “We help those who provide healthcare services to Bradford on Avon and given the good work Stepping Stones do in the community our trustees felt it was a worthy cause.”

The generous cheque takes the appeal total to £5,930 in just three weeks, and Debbie Wickham, Stepping Stones manager, said “It has been lovely for my brilliant team to see that their efforts are really appreciated in the community. I want to say a huge thank you to Friends of Bradford on Avon Community Healthcare for this donation which will help Bradford on Avon children and their families.

“I would also like to say thank you to the Wiltshire Times for their appeal, which has resulted in warm messages, much-needed funds and people offering to do fundraisers for us.”

Following FOBOACH’s letter in the Wiltshire Times they have given out around £25,000 to good causes.

As well as Stepping Stones, they have helped Bradford on Avon and District Link, HELP Counselling Services, Splitz, Winsley’s motor neurone disease support group, Arts Together and Bradford on Avon Senior Citizens’ Forum.

John Cottle, of FOBOACH, said: “I can’t understand why Stepping Stones have been left in this position but we are happy to support them, along with the other groups we have provided funds for.”

Donations can be made at