Big party for little winners

23rd July 2004 at 01:00
One of only five successful bidders for the latest round of Big Lottery (formerly New Opportunities Fund) awards, Angus out-of-school care network is about to start spending the pound;51,000 coming its way over the next three years.

Most will be divided among 21 out-of-school care clubs, Lynne Tunbridge, chair of the network, says. "But we are going to put a bit towards a big celebration event with 400 kids and adults coming from all over Angus.

There will be raft building and water sports and it should be a great day.

We are praying for sunshine."

Funding out-of-school care is never easy, says the founding parent of the Monifieth club, but it can be done. "We set Monifieth up in 1996 with a voluntary management committee of four working parents and a pound;5,900 start-up grant from Scottish Enterprise and Tayside Council.

"The grant covered our first six months' expenses - equipment and staff wages. Since then we have been self-funding, one of very few clubs that are. The key is setting your costs at the right level and only spending money you already have."

The lottery award is for funding visiting specialists to clubs during the long summer days when children need to be entertained from 8am until 6pm.

"Our own people offer lots of activities," Ms Tunbridge says, "Dreamcatchers, bookmarks, bead-buddies, badges, fridge magnets, origami, Russian dolls, painting, seasonal crafts, physical activities, games. But kids love new faces and new experiences.

"It takes a bit of pressure off our staff too. We'll be getting people in who do all sorts of things - sports coaches, art, drama and dancing experts. There'll be visits from Zoolab, who bring in animals and creepy-crawlies. There'll be someone doing food and nutrition.

"Just yesterday Monifieth brought in a balloon sculptor, and he kept our kids captivated for hours."

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