Much-loved toys and games used by dozens of children at a West Yorkshire village playgroup are now in a safe new home thanks to a four-figure grant from the Banks Community Fund.

Methley Mites Playgroup and Toddler Group had begun fundraising work to buy a new outside shed to replace a long-serving predecessor in which it kept its play equipment that was beginning to show its age and let in water.

And after applying to property and energy firm The Banks Group for support, a £2,139 grant from its Banks Community Fund has allowed the group to purchase a new larger lockable shed with additional shelving and storage areas in which to keep all its toys.

Set up more than 25 years ago, Methley Mites Playgroup and Toddler Group is attended by up to 60 local families every week, with facilities provided for children aged up to five years old.

Sessions are offered five days a week, with most of the attendees coming from across Methley itself and a number of others also coming along from different communities in the surrounding area.

Lynn Barrett from Methley Mites Playgroup and Toddler Group says: "Our toys and games naturally get a lot of use, and we're lucky that we get lots of donations from families across the community which enable us to offer a wide range of things for the children to do.

"Our existing shed has served us well for many years, but with water beginning to leak in on rainy days, we knew we needed to find a replacement sooner rather than later.

"Running costs naturally take up most of the funds that we have, and having to raise all the money ourselves would have delayed any purchase for a significant time, which would have risked water damage being caused to the toys.

"Getting the Banks Group's support has saved us a lot of time and effort, and has allowed us to purchase a much better shed than we'd probably have been able to go for on our own, which means in turn that the children will get much more use out of our toys and games in the years to come."

Lewis Stokes, community relations manager at the Banks Group, adds: “Methley Mites not only provides important facilities for local children to enjoy, but also acts as a community hub where parents, grandparents, other family members and friends can spend time together, and we're very pleased to be able to help the group to keep their equipment in the best possible condition."

The Banks Community Fund provides grants for community groups and voluntary organisations in the vicinity of Banks Group projects. Anyone interested in applying for funding should contact James Eaglesham at the Banks Community Fund on 0191 378 6342 to check if their group or project is eligible.

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