McCarthy & Stone donates a further £12,000 to help keep Bournemouth children's charity open

10 June 2016

McCarthy and Stone, the UK’s leading retirement housebuilder, has pledged a second year of funding to Fernheath Play, a local children’s charity based in West Howe, Bournemouth, which looks after disadvantaged and disabled children.

The £12,000 donation by the housebuilder, whose Head Office is also based in Bournemouth, has enabled the charity to re-open its play schemes during school term times. McCarthy and Stone made an identical donation in 2015 which helped towards the staffing costs of childcare play workers at the centre, when it was forced to suspend its play work for the first time in 38 years.

Fernheath Play is the only fully inclusive play and short breaks centre in Bournemouth, meaning all children who attend have the ability to interact and engage in imaginative play. The organisation has a wide range of outdoor equipment, as well as indoor spaces for activities, table top games, and play and sensory rooms.

McCarthy and Stone’s donation in 2015 led to the employment of a new Centre Manager who has been instrumental in proactively seeking other funding streams and overseeing significant improvements and refurbishment to the playground area. With voluntary help from a team of students from the National Citizen Service and the team at Liverpool Victoria, and funded by the Talbot Village Trust and Bournemouth North Rotary Club, this has now seen the introduction of a brand new sensory garden and roundabout.

Paddy Williamson, Chairperson of Fernheath Play, comments: “We’re delighted to receive another extremely generous donation from McCarthy and Stone. Fernheath Play is largely self-funded so support like this is vital to our survival. McCarthy and Stone’s donation last year meant we were able to recruit some of the specialist staff we needed to continue our work. This, combined with the new donation, means we have been able to re-open some of our after school clubs during term time. This makes such a difference to the local children and families we support, although we still have a long way to go in terms of the fundraising needed to fully re-open all of our other play work sessions, and continue the play schemes during school holidays and at weekends too .”

Paddy and the team have a number of fundraising initiatives planned to help raise the other running costs needed for the centre to fully re-open, and just last month Paddy embarked on a sky-dive for her 70th birthday! She made the jump at 10,000 feet over Old Sarum airfield, all to raise much-needed funds for the centre.

Paddy comments: “If any organisations or companies want to follow the example of McCarthy and Stone and help us to restart our play work sooner, I would be so grateful if they could sponsor me in my fundraising efforts and following my recent sky-dive. They can do this by visiting my fundraising page: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/paddywilliamson.

Conor Burns, MP and Patron of Fernheath Play, adds: “Paddy and her team provide a fantastic and valued service to local children and their families.  Without the support of local companies like McCarthy and Stone, great organisations like this would be forced to suspend their work, meaning that those who depend on their services would be left without this vital support. A second year of funding from McCarthy and Stone will allow the centre to gradually re-open more of their play work sessions, and has already seen the return of their after school clubs. Nevertheless, more funding is still needed to cover the staffing needed to help run the play work sessions in line with Ofsted regulations.”

Gary Day, Executive Land and Planning Director at McCarthy and Stone, concludes: “We’re delighted to support Fernheath Play for a second year.  It plays a vitally important role in helping the local community, and this donation is really to commend all the fantastic work that it does for children in our home town. We would urge other companies in the area to follow our example and put their hands in their pocket so that we can see Fernheath Play fully re-open again, as soon as possible.”

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