Somerford Walter Powell Pre-school appeal races ahead
WHEN the parents of youngsters at Walter Powell Pre-school realised their portable building was on its last legs they set about raising thousands of pounds to replace it.
Less than three months later they are almost there with almost £50,000 in the pot and waiting for the green light from planners.
The group only made the decision in July to replace the wooden hut, which is so run down it has holes in the walls.
The parents found themselves with a major task on their hands so they recruited real estate consultant Patrick Neville who has a child at the primary school.
“The reason why I got involved is because the pre-school itself is a charity,” he told the Standard.
“If it folded there is a real fear that the same would happen to the primary school. Around 95 per cent of the school’s intake comes from the pre-school.”
“If you don’t have the school in the village there will be an impact on the vibrancy of the village.”
He explained a condition report carried out for the school two years ago revealed the hut only had about two years of life left in it.
“Which means it is no longer fit for purpose.”
After a lot of research they settled on a log cabin design similar to the village hall at nearby Startley.
“The next step was to see whether we could get the money together,” he said.
What they achieved in the space of just two months was remarkable. They worked out they needed £50,000 to buy and build the facility.
First stop was Wiltshire Council whose early years team agreed a grant of £20,000. Several fundraisers including a race night earned them £9,000, Malmesbury Young Farmers handed over £1,000 and the parish council agreed more financial support.
Then they approached local builders and suppliers and managed to secure around £10,000 in offers of materials or labour.
Now, following talks with Wiltshire Council’s planning department, they are waiting for planning permission in the hope that work can start this autumn.
“I reckon in total we are about £5,000 short at the moment. We’ve done really well so far,” said Patrick.”We’ve actually put a deposit down on a building.”
“The support that we have had from pretty much everywhere we approached has been amazing. People have always offered us something .”
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