A SCOTTISH fund set up in May 2012 has delivered an £8600 Christmas present for a playgroup on the brink of closure.
Linlithgow Bridge playgroup is the only group in West Lothian to receive the bumper grant from the Communities and Families Fund, a joint venture from the Big Lottery Fund and the Scottish Government, this December.
Delighted chairwoman Jennifer Kalra said: “Back in August, we were near to closing but the work from everyone involved to put this application in has been unbelievable. We have never had money like this to spend - it’s a really good finish to the year.”
The playgroup, run by volunteers, hope to splash the cash on an outdoor all-weather play area at the back of their base at Chalmers Hall, which will include ground surfacing, play equipment, including a climbing frame and sand pit, a storage facility and surveyor fees. The playgroup has been providing childcare to preschool children in the town since around 1960. Jennifer added: “The work now has to go forward for council approval and we want to get things up and running as soon as possible. We hope we can follow through so the children can benefit from it once we get the better weather.”
Playgroup staff are also hoping local businesses will be able to provide help with the plans if they get the go ahead from West Lothian Council.
The group currently has around 13 children from all over the Linlithgow area but there are still places available for immediate start.
Linlithgow MP Michael Connarty was delighted the Big Lottery grant went to a local cause.
He said: “When I sat on the Lotteries Act committee in the UK Parliament to set up this distribution system of funds, this was the kind of community project that we had in mind.
“It is always nice to see a local organisation benefiting from an award like this and putting the money to such good use.”
Thirteen projects across Scotland received funding from the £6 million Communities and Families Fund this December.
The multi-million fund aims to give groups working with children of eight years and under a vital helping hand and groups can apply for funding from £250 to £10,000.
Maureen McGinn, chairwoman of the Big Lottery Fund Scotland committee, said: “From the provision of support groups to fitness classes, outdoor activities to arts and music, the Communities and Families Fund is helping to give Scotland’s next generation the best possible start in life.
‘‘We welcome applications from projects which benefit children or families of children aged eight years and under, so I encourage people to call us or visit our website to find out more.”
The Communities and Families Fund will run over the next three years with £4.5 million from the Scottish Government and £1.5 million from the Big Lottery Fund. To find out more and to apply, call 0300 123 7110.
ABOVE: A snapshot of the group’s recent nativity play.