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Pre-school benefits from new all-weather canopy after housebuilder’s £8,500 donation

A new canopy has been installed at Thakeham Pre-School after a donation from local housebuilder Bellway.

The developer is building new homes at Abingworth Fields – phase 3 of the Abingworth Meadows development in the village – and donated £8,500 to fund the all-weather shelter, which is making it easier for parents to drop off their children and pick them up each day.

The canopy has been installed at the front of the pre-school building by local family-run business Aliport Commercial.

The pre-school moved into its new purpose-built facility in Abingworth Crescent in January 2018, and the building is just one of the community projects which has been provided within the wider Abingworth Meadows scheme.

Sharon Rance, Thakeham Pre-School Manager, said: “We are very grateful to Bellway for giving us the funds to pay for this all-weather canopy because it now plays an essential role at our school.

“It is being used on a daily basis by our children and their parents. Apart from helping everybody stay dry when it is raining, it will give us some shade to stay cool in the summer.

“We are also planning to use it to provide mums and dads the space and opportunity to chat with other parents, which they will certainly appreciate a lot in the early days of transition.

“The canopy also allows us to display posters and notices on that side of the building which was not possible before we had it. So, it has been a very useful and multifunctional addition to our school, and we have Bellway to thank for it.”

Bellway’s Abingworth Fields is the third and final stage of construction at Abingworth Meadows. The wider development, which has been built on land previously used for mushroom growing, has also provided a cricket pitch, football fields, a village hall, changing rooms and a cricket pavilion as well as the pre-school building.

The canopy installation was supported by Thakeham Parish Council. Parish council clerk Owen Richards said: “We are delighted with the way this new canopy has enhanced the practicality and the appearance of the pre-school building.

“All of us at the parish council want to thank Bellway for providing the money needed for the shelter and congratulate Sharon Rance from the pre-school for leading the fundraising.”

Daniel Bradbury, Managing Director of Bellway South London, said: “We believe that assisting local schools and pre-schools is among the most direct ways of making a tangible difference in the lives of the children and the families who live in the homes we build, as well as in the wider community.

“Thakeham Pre-School is a key part of the new community at Abingworth Meadows, which is already well-established, and we are looking forward to adding to the housing available within this popular and thriving village.”

Located off Storrington Road, Abingworth Fields will deliver 75 newly built homes, with 49 homes for private sale and 26 affordable homes available for local people through shared ownership or rent. The first homes are due to be released for sale later this year.

To find out more about the development, visit