STAFF at a pre-school in Chippenham, which works with young children with special needs, got a nice surprise last week when they opened an email from the Masons to find they had been awarded £2,000.

The grant, which was awarded by the Masonic Charitable Foundation, will help Springboard continue to run the ever increasing service at the King's Rise Children's Centre in Lodge Road.

“The news came as a nice surprise,” Springboard manager Jane Boulton said. “Some of these boards only meet three or four times a year, so by the time a decision is made we have often moved on to the next application. Our business administrator opened the email and she told me to look at it and it was a nice way to start the day.

“The grant will go towards the general running of the charity as most of our overheads revolve around staffing and it is always nice to have money go towards the general coffers.

“Our shortfall is around £100,000 so our fundraising target is approximately half of that, so we have to do a lot to meet that and grants like this really help make the difference.”

Springboard caters for children under five-years-old to provide specialist support and advice for families and a space for children to get the care they need in an environment they can flourish. However, the service has been put under increasing pressure over the last 12 months.

“We think we have seen an increase because over the last 12 months, we have opened two extra sessions to meet the demand of referrals coming in,” the manager added.

“We are an early support service and we like to help people in the best way possible.”

Ian Priest of Wiltshire Freemasons added: “We are passionate about supporting such great charities as Springboard Opportunity Group, the need for funding to make sure the most vulnerable families in society are looked after is so very important.”