Charity pre-school gets a £2,000 boost

Youngsters at a Frimley pre-school were saved from a cold wet winter thanks to donations from a local co-operative.

Little Oaks Pre-School Frimley suffered a major blow back in December when one of their boilers packed up leaving them with only cold running water in the depths of winter.

Luckily time was on their side and a £1,000 donation from The Co-operative Food – Camberley enabled them to replace the boiler during the Christmas holidays.

Ben Garbutt, former Store Manager at the Frimley Road branch, said: “We first started supporting the pre-school after I read in a newspaper article that they’d been burgled in 2018. There was a lot of damage and, because they are a charity based school, getting funding is quite difficult for them.

“When I went down and met some of the children, I saw how lovely it was and what a great team they were. So last year we selected them as our charity partner which involved holding fundraisers for them and helping them with their own events.

“They don’t get a lot of funding so they were very excited when I told them we would be donating £1,000 to help with the new boiler.

“I am a father so I know how important early learning is for children at that age. I am glad the money has gone to such a good cause and I hope I can make the same difference at my new Southern Co-op store, in Aldershot. ”

Thanks to the help of co-operative customers and colleagues, a further £1,000 has been raised during 2019 for the pre-school.

Little Oaks Pre-School is located on the grounds of the Grove School in Chobham Road is currently raising money for CCTV and security lights to protect the school from future break-in attempts.

Jill Brace, who has been the Manager at the pre-school for 33 years, said: “Little Oaks Pre-School has been a part of this community for well over 40 years. Back in 2000, through hard work and dedication by our then committee and staff, we were fortunate to have been the recipient of a lottery grant that enabled us to purchase our own purpose built building.

“In May 2018 the unthinkable happened. We had a break in. They ransacked the office and took nearly £1,000 – money that had taken lots of hard work to raise. Unfortunately the police were unable to do anything. We decided we needed surveillance cameras to secure the building for the future.

“All of the pre-school’s fundraising is done by a volunteer committee. Without the committee supporting the pre-school we wouldn’t be able to offer such affordable childcare to the local community.”

Regular meetings are held to discuss, plan and organise fundraising ideas and events to help with the ongoing maintenance of the building and grounds. The committee helps keep up the fundraising efforts, by giving up their time to help support Little Oaks.

Ruth Spencer, Fundraising Committee Member, said: “We would like to give Ben and the Co-op a massive ‘Thank You’ for all their support in 2019 and for their fabulous donation.

“The support from the Co-op has been greatly appreciated as Little Oaks Pre-School is a charity run, non-profit making pre-school and rely on the generosity of parents and local businesses to help support us with fundraising efforts to help offer the children a secure and stimulating environment to learn and develop.”

The donations were part of Southern Co-op’s community engagement programme ‘Love Your Neighbourhood’ which aims to help communities become greener, healthier, safer and more inclusive.

To find out more about Southern Co-op’s commitment to making a difference, visit www.thesouthernco-operative.co.uk/love-your-neighbourhood/

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