CHILDMINDERS who were told they were not welcome at the newly revamped Woodborough Garden Centre are settling in nicely at their new home at the Wilcot Recreation Ground and Village Hall.

The three years that Amanda Woodruff, from Pewsey, Heather Barnes, from Oare, and Caroline Anderson, of Easton Royal, spent childminding at the garden centre near Pewsey came to an end in February, when they were told by the site's new owner, Whitehall Garden Centre Group, that they were not part of its plans for the future.

After weeks frantically trying to find a new base, the Wilcot Village Hall committee team came to the rescue in late March, and said the group could use their grounds, off Alton Road, several times a week.

Now Mrs Woodruff says her team and the dozen or so children, aged nine months to 10, are loving their new surroundings, which include a new shed, an assault course, a mud kitchen, a sandpit and picnic areas. They plan on building a willow dome soon.

"We are absolutely loving it and, more importantly, so are the children. It has worked out better than we ever imagined," she said.

"We come here maybe two to three times a week, whenever the weather is good, and have a great time. The children have been enjoying the bunting that has been put up, nature trails and digging for worms.

"The committee hall people have been so helpful and we are so grateful for their support. We pay just over £40 a month which is very good of them.

"They give us a discount as we do not use the village hall and the cricket club have let us use the toilets too. It is going so well."

The childminders were told to leave by the new owner of the centre, Peter Self. He said the shed they were using was tatty and not fit for purpose.

"Mr Self is entitled to his opinion but in all honesty this has almost been a blessing in disguise. We are now at a place where we are valued which is great," added Mrs Woodruff.

"We have a lovely spot here and hopefully we can stay here for many years to come. We also want to thank the local community for offering us other places to stay, we were very touched by their kindness."