A £15,000 donation from a charitable foundation is being put to good use by providing essential pre-school education to referred Guernsey children.
The Daisy Chain Pre-School in St Peter’s successfully applied for the funding – which will cover half its annual operational costs – from the Lloyds TSB Foundation for the Channel Islands. Since it was established in 1985, the Foundation has donated in excess of £12 million to charities in the Channel Islands, the UK and overseas. It is a grant-making trust that decides on and makes donations to charities in both bailiwicks.
Daisy Chain trustee Karen Stockreiter said: ‘We are delighted that they considered our application and gave us such an amazing amount of money. It is half our running costs and without it we would have really struggled this year to offer all the children a place.
‘The generosity of the Lloyds TSB Foundation for the Channel Islands means that we can carry on with this year’s provision for two to four year olds so they can start primary school on the same level as children who have attended pre-school. This makes a huge difference to the children and their families – and the schools as well.’
Daisy Chain is a charitable trust set up in 2006 specifically to provide pre-school education to children referred by the Health Visiting Team. It is located at the Western Community Centre in St Peter’s and covers the catchment areas for La Houguette, St Andrews, Forest and St Martin’s primary schools. There are two other established welfare assisted pre-schools in the island, in St Peter Port and Castel which, in conjunction with Daisy Chain, support more than 130 children a week. The service is funded by charitable donations and sponsorship.
The Lloyds TSB Foundation for the Channel Islands is legally independent of the Lloyds TSB Group and an independent board of trustees determines the policies. Its mission is to support and work in partnership with charitable organisations which help people, especially those who are disadvantaged or disabled, to play a fuller role in communities throughout the Channel Islands. The Chairman of the local foundation is Jurat Stephen Jones and the Executive Director is John Hutchins.
Mr Hutchins said: ‘This is a very well run charity, essential to the part of the island in which it is situated and so necessary that the children receive early learning capabilities.’
Mrs Stockreiter said while they endeavour to keep running costs to a minimum, the total overheads for operating this essential service for the island amounts to around £30,000 a year. This covers overheads such as the rent, fruit and milk for the children, craft, equipment, activities, outings and staff wages. In addition there is a dedicated team of volunteers who give their free time on a weekly basis.
She said: ‘Research shows that good quality early education and care has wide-ranging benefits for children. It improves their social skills, their cognitive and emotional development, and is of benefit to all children. We give these children a great boost before they start school and our ratios are one adult to four children, giving each child additional individual support.’