Wiltshire-based special needs charity Springboard Chippenham has been awarded a grant for £9,756 from the Community Fund to support the use of the Makaton language programme throughout all of its playroom sessions.

Makaton uses symbols, signs and speech to promote communication, and can help people who have no speech or whose speech is limited or unclear.

Springboard Chippenham is a charity which supports pre-school children with special needs and their families in North Wiltshire. Its aim is to maximise ability and to minimise disability, by offering specialist provision which includes staff working with only one or two children at a time and being trained to deal with any specific medical and development needs the children might have.  

“In 2018 the Big Lottery (as it was known then) funded training for all our playroom staff in the use of Makaton,” said Charity Finance Officer, Anne Farrell. “The new grant funding from the National Lottery Community Fund will build upon the strong Makaton foundation that we have already laid.”

The Community Fund grant will enable staff in both Springboard playrooms to use the Makaton Language programme everyday, including routines such as toileting, play activities and, of course, singing, allowing all of the children attending the Springboard Centre to benefit.

“At a time when children’s communication skills are such a high priority, this grant could not be more timely,” explained Springboard Centre Manager, Jane Boulton. “It means that we can continue to support the children and their families to become confident in ways to develop communication and language skills. Language skills are life skills and the earlier we promote them, the better the results are. We are so grateful to the Big Lottery Community Fund for funding such a vital part of our work.”