Staff at one of Belper’s longest established playgroups were “ecstatic” after landing more than £9,600 to create a new outdoor play area.
Openwoodgate Playgroup, which was started 54 years ago as a mother and toddler group, was given the grant by Big Lottery Fund Awards for All scheme.
The money is helping to re-develop a play area at the back of St Mark’s Church where the group meet and it is hoped that numbers might increase from the current 32 children as a result.
Manager Alison Frost said Early Years workers at the group were delighted when they heard the news.
She said: “We were absoluely ecstatic. The application took hours and we put in the post thinking we might get this but we might not. We didn’t dare to dream.
“When it came through we were over the moon. The money has helped to pay for a new state-of-the-art play surface made from shredded tyres which has hotspots and balance lines making it much safer.
“ The work has already been done and it’s so much better. There were previously bark chippings and it was quite messy but now it is amazing and I keep going round to look at it
“Hopefully this will mean that we get more children coming here as a result.
“We are also creating a raised garden where children can grow their own fruit and veg.”
The playgroup is now aiming to build a new playhouse and is hoping for funding help from Tesco and Co-Op.
However they are also searching for a local business who might be prepared to help fund the structure which would include a wooden kitchen and an apex roof which can collect rainwater.
Children attend the playgroup from age two up to school age before their fifth birthday.
More than £2 million of National Lottery funding was invested into Amber Valley last year, figures released this week reveal.
Across Amber Valley, 47 grants were awarded, helping local arts, sport and heritage and community groups to develop.
Among the grants were £9,950 to Amber Valley Gymnastics Development Group to provide workshops for children and those living with disabilities; £472,000 to Community Transport for Town and County to provide an improved service for people who have difficulty accessing public transport to reduce isolation and £9,983 to Horsley Woodhouse Primary School to run extracurricular fitness and healthy eating activities for children.