'It is so rewarding to see the children making progress' - Springboard

PUBLISHED: 11:49 26 August 2019 | UPDATED: 11:49 26 August 2019

Volunteers Jackie and Chris with a children at Springboard Oppportunity Group.

Volunteers Jackie and Chris with a children at Springboard Oppportunity Group.

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A Clevedon charity is calling on people to help it offer vital support to young children with additional needs.

A 12-hour Have A Go charity paddle board on Clevedon Marine Lake in aid of Springboard Opportunity Group. Picture: Jeremy LongA 12-hour Have A Go charity paddle board on Clevedon Marine Lake in aid of Springboard Opportunity Group. Picture: Jeremy Long

Springboard Opportunity Group has met its fundraising target for last academic year but will be back to square one in September.

The charity supports children with additional needs from birth to five years old and their families.

Every weekday during term time it runs specialist play and learning sessions from four bases in Clevedon and Weston as well as a weekly stay and play group for children with their parents or carers.

Volunteer Pat Kelly.Volunteer Pat Kelly.

Fundraising total reached but more support needed

Only a small amount of money needed to run the charity is given from Government every year.

It is then down to the charity to raise the remaining - which for Springboard is £150,000.

Business manager Liz Smith said: "Around £150,000 has to be raised every year, which is the gap between our statutory funding and what we need to continue to provide services at the same level.

Volunteer Chris with a children at Springboard Oppportunity Group.Volunteer Chris with a children at Springboard Oppportunity Group.

"This has to be raised from donations, fundraising and grants."

The charity has raised £81,000 since September last year through donations and fundraising.

Liz added: "We have mainly raised this amount through the amazing hard work and generosity of our local community.

"We are also grateful for some substantial grants received, totalling around £50,000 since September last year, for specific projects and towards running expenses.

Moira Kearley of Roland DG presenting a cheque to Springboard staff and children at their Clevedon base, watched by Polly the Pets As Therapy dog.Moira Kearley of Roland DG presenting a cheque to Springboard staff and children at their Clevedon base, watched by Polly the Pets As Therapy dog.

"Overheads continue to rise so we need to keep fundraising."

While the charity has almost managed to cover this year's running costs with donations, it is now having to start thinking about raising the cash for the next academic year.

Playroom volunteers

One way the charity runs is with the support of its volunteers.

Springboard has 89 North Somerset children attending each week and holds 24 specialist three-hour nursery sessions running each week during term time with three stay and play sessions.

With more than 40 members of staff and 30 volunteers dedicating 3,500 hours of time per year, the charity now 'urgently' needs more people to join its ranks and spend a few hours a week to support its services.

Liz said: "At Springboard, we work with children with a range of additional needs and disabilities.

"We need volunteers in every nursery session, at all four of our bases in North Somerset.

"It would not be possible to provide our service without our wonderful team of volunteers.

"Children benefit from meeting a wider range of people and from a higher adult:child ratio to enable them to get the most out of every activity.

"Springboard staff value the perspective volunteers bring, and the strengthened links with the community that are fostered by our local volunteers."

Playroom volunteer Pam Kelly has been working with the children's charity for five years.

She said: "The sessions are lots of fun. I play with the children and help them explore the toys and activities.

"I also help set up the room, tidy away the toys and help at snack time with feeding.

"The love and care provided by the staff is awesome and it is so rewarding to see the children making progress.

"It is a privilege being able to spend time with the children and staff at Springboard."

Trustees

Springboard is governed by a voluntary board of trustees who help oversee the running of the charity.

Liz said: "Trustees carry out an important and highly valued aspect of our service and we need to create a board whose skills reflect the range of our work and responsibilities.

"We are now looking for potential trustees with accounting, finance or legal experience. "

The charity's treasurer Don McCallum, who is the grandad of an ex-Springboard child, is retiring after supporting the charity for seven years.

The search is now on to find his replacement to help maintain and overview of the organisation's affairs and ensure it's financial viability and stability are maintained.

For an information pack about becoming a Springboard trustee 
or volunteering, contact Liz Smith by emailing liz@springboardweb.org.uk

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