THE future of a pre-school near Helston has been saved at the eleventh hour after it won make-or-break funding worth more than £76,000.

Wendron Pre-school had been facing closure if it did not manage to find the money for a new building by the end of the school year.

Thankfully the West Cornwall Local Action Group, providing European funding through the Rural Development Programme for England, has stepped in to provide 80 per cent of the total project cost, with a grant of just over £76,126 through its LEADER programme.

It means work on the £95,000 new build can now begin in a matter of months, on land in the grounds of Wendron Primary School.

Chair of the pre-school committee that has been overseeing the new-build project, Liz Gilbert, said: “It’s a really exciting opportunity. We were about to lose our pre-school, which is a really important part of the children’s development.

“Jobs are now safeguarded and we’ll be expanding our hours to provide afternoon sessions that haven’t been available before, which helps working parents.

“It will also make the transition to school easier, because they’ll all be on the same site.”

She thanked the LEADER programme for its grant, along with all the other local businesses and organisations that had fundraised a further £20,000, include the Downsland Trust, Helston and Lizard Rotary Club and Inner Wheel.

Ground works will start on site in the Easter holidays, with the building then going up in the summer holidays with a view to opening around the second week of September.

The pre-school will then be able to offer places for up to 40 children aged two and upwards, 20 per morning and afternoon session, including through the government funding scheme.

The committee will now be holding a number of fundraising events to help raise the £10,000 needed for the outdoor area at the new site, which needs paving, fencing and it is hoped can be developed into a wildlife and sensory area.

The first of these events will be at the end of February, when the pre-school will be asking for donations of unwanted clothes, shoes, jewellery, soft toys, towels and bedding covers that are then resold abroad as part of the Bag 2 School scheme.

The pre-school will receive money for every kilo of items, which can be dropped off in bin bags to the Trenwennack Chapel hall on Tuesday, February 20 between 9.15am and 10.15am, or given to a committee member at any time.

The pre-school is also appealing for help from local businesses, groups and individuals willing to provide sponsorship, donate materials or provide manual labour for the outdoor area. Anyone able to help can call the school on 07925 091662, get in touch via the Wendron Pre-school Facebook page or email

The pre-school has been open for 20 years, based at Trewennack Chapel, but has been looking to fund its own building for around half of that time.

The situation became more urgent, however, following the amalgamation of the chapel’s congregation with Helston to form the Central Methodist Church, meaning the building would soon have been no longer available to use.

The pre-school will continue to run from its current base up to the end of the school year in July, with places available now.