Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Pre-school appeals for cash after covid losses

SONNING Common Pre-School is appealing for funds in order to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

The pre-school in Grove Road is run by a group of parent volunteers and relies on fundraising to help pay for materials for activities and general day-to-day items.

But it has had to cancel all its fundraising events and also had to buy additional personal protective equipment, such as face shields, disposable aprons and hand sanitiser, for staff in order to follow the coronavirus safety guidelines.

It expects to have a shortfall of about £3,500.

During the first lockdown, the pre-school was closed from March 20 for six months but still had to pay rent and insurance and some staff wages.

It couldn’t receive financial support from Oxfordshire County Council because it receives a subsidy for 15 hours of free childcare a week per child.

It was also only eligible to claim back 33 per cent of the money spent on wages during the lockdown as its nine members of staff were on furlough.

The pre-school has 40 children enrolled and holds two sessions a day for up to 20 at a time.

Manager Clare Saunders said it was now relying on donations and had started a Go Fund Me page.

She said: “The money we raise helps us to buy the materials for the activities we need on a daily basis, from paper and pens to tricycles and outdoor materials.

“We are very fortunate that the local Co-op store offers us its food share scheme, which means we are able to give the children a snack free of charge.

“We also have the Cherry Tree Inn in Stoke Row giving us some hot free meals.”

The food share scheme allows the Co-op to donate items that have passed their best before dates so can’t be put on the shelves.

The pre-school usually holds summer and Christmas fairs.

Mrs Saunders said: “I placed some new ideas on our Instagram page about how we could save money and fundraise, which were then shared.

“A parent saw the post about donations and shared it on her page and it just took off.

“We now have a Go Fund Me page and have had lots of donations from parents, both old and new, and some grandparents.”

The pre-school, which has been running for 50 years, is not under threat of closure and is still running sessions as normal.

Mrs Saunders said: “We have been able to secure donations of a Christmas tree, craft activities, paper and even a trike.

“The feedback has been amazing and our parents have been very generous. People are buying us arts and crafts materials and things like that.

“It’s not just about money, it’s also about the donations and the staff and I wish to thank everyone for their support.”

The pre-school is hoping to raise a total of £1,000.

To make a donation, visit

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