New building boost for Cirencester Opportunity Group - a "gem in the Cotswolds"
A GOLDEN afternoon marked the launch of a Cirencester pre-school’s sparkling new building that will boost family support and learning.
Past and present pupils of the inclusive Cirencester Opportunity Group (COG) turned out for the opening ceremony of the charity’s new wing, which was funded by a £125,000 grant from The Starfish Trust.
And with glorious sunshine beaming down, Olympic torchbearer and The Starfish Trust’s chief executive Bob Woodward cut the ribbon to officially open the centre to the crowd.
Founded nearly 40 years ago, the Beeches Road pre-school provides an inclusive and vibrant learning environment for children with and without special needs, from the ages of two to four years.
Family support and outreach work is also carried out by the centre’s staff, to give parents the help they need to provide the best start for their children.
And with the new spacious building, COG’s fundraiser Caroline Carless said this work could expand.
“We have a new kitchen area now so we can have cooking lessons with families and encourage healthy eating.
“We’ve also got a much bigger, lovely new space to work with families and we’re hoping that this room will be used by other groups in the community too.”
Before cutting the ribbon to welcome the hordes of parents, children and former pupils into the new wing, Bob said that the trust, which supports disabled children, could not resist awarding the “whopping cheque” to help further COG’s work.
Frenchay-based Bob, who was also the founder of cancer charity CLIC (now CLIC Sargent), was selected as an Olympic torchbearer for his services to charity and brought his torch on the day for parents and children to hold.
“I’ve lost a son to cancer and I’ve lost a son that was disabled. It’s helped me to assess the facilities that are here,” he said.
“I thought it was one of the most lovely places I’ve ever been to – you just get lifted when you come in. You can feel the love and care for the children. It’s a gem in the Cotswolds.”
The Starfish Trust’s grant was awarded in January 2011.
COG centre manager Lyn Cole said: “It’s magic and beyond belief. And it will make a huge difference to the work we do.”
To find out more about COG or to donate to the charity visit opportunity-group.co.uk