Midlothian special needs charity, Bright Sparks, can now cater for children from birth to school thanks to a grant from Big Lottery.
The charity, based in the former Bonnyrigg Leisure Centre building, will use the £10,000 grant from Big Lottery’s Awards For All to cover staff costs for its butterfly and caterpillar groups.
Louise Gough, Bright Sparks’ chairman, explained the significance of the money.
She said: “The funding will make a big difference. Now we can support children from birth right through to school.
“In some way we are giving them an opportunity to have a peer group growing through our services together.
“It makes parents and children feel confident as they get to know the staff as well as other parents and children.
“The butterfly and caterpillar groups cover five to seven-year-olds who have just left the playroom for zero to five-year-olds, and act as a stepping stone to the out of school clubs for eight plus.
“It’s the first time that mums and dads are getting an hour to themselves and leaving their children in a club setting.
“It’s different to the playgroup where they stay with them. It’s the first step for the kids being away from their parents.”
Louise was quick to praise staff and volunteers at Bright Sparks.
She said: “We have eight to ten volunteers and six to eight members of staff offering really supportive one to one time.
‘‘We are very lucky with the volunteers we have.
‘‘Our care volunteers are absolutely invaluable to our service.”