Devizes Opportunity Centre staff, volunteers and families are celebrating after the Gazette’s appeal to raise £10,000 was smashed.

Less than two months after we launched the Give Us A Chance Appeal generous readers have raised £12,992.

Devizes Opportunity Centre manager Betty Newman said: “We would like to say a massive thank you to the many local people, families, organisations and businesses who have so generously come to our aid. It’s absolutely amazing what has been achieved in so little time.”

The centre, a registered charity, works with children from birth up to the age of five with disabilities, learning difficulties or complex life threatening conditions.

The centre, in Belle Vue Road, Devizes, receives funding from Wiltshire Council but it is not enough to cover the costs of the centre’s work and it has to fundraise to meet the shortfall, but this year it lost £10,000 after the Government slashed a special grant.

The Gazette’s appeal was set up to cover the loss of the £10,000 grant.

Mrs Newman, who has worked at the centre for 21 years, said: “Year on year it’s so hard to raise the large sums of money required to keep the centre running, often £30-£40,000. When we heard that we were facing an additional £10,000 cut to our funding it seemed to be the straw that would finally break the camel’s back.

“This wonderful Gazette appeal has not only inspired the public to give generously, but with the help of our past and present families who have so willingly shared their stories it has really raised awareness of the importance of the work we do and of how much we are able to enhance the lives of our many children and families.

“We are really dependent on the community and they have just come up trumps and have done it with some really lovely fundraising events.

"The amount of little notes and comments of encouragement we have received is just so heartwarming.”

The centre still has a shortfall of £37,000 and the Gazette will be continuing with the appeal to help raise as much as possible for the centre.

Mrs Newman said: “The amount raised through the Gazette appeal has made such a difference – it takes a huge weight off the shoulders of the committee – but there is still a long way to go to raise the money we need this year.”

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