It could be us! Gainsborough hits the National Lottery jackpot

Youngsters enjoying the new outdoor play area at Sturton Cygnets Preschool.
Youngsters enjoying the new outdoor play area at Sturton Cygnets Preschool.

Two organisations have confirmed that it really ‘could be you’ after figures revealed that Gainsborough hit the National Lottery jackpot last year.

Sturton Cygnets Preschool and Lea and Roses Cricket Club were among the beneficiaries of a total handout of £478,000 across the town, which provided an important boost to arts, sports and heritage projects, as well as community groups.

Now both have stressed how grateful they were that such a lifeline avenue of funding was available to them and have urged others to try it.

“Funding like this is so vital,” said Caroline Stallwood, manager at the preschool, on School Lane, Sturton-by-Stow. “There are no grants available for early-years education any more, so it is very difficult to get hold of the money we need.

“It is particularly hard for us because we are a non-profit-making charity, so we like to keep our fees low. Everything we make is invested back. I would definitely encourage other organisations to apply for Lottery funding.”

Of 18 grants awarded in Gainsborough in 2016, the preschool received £10,000 to spend on new outdoor play equipment for its youngsters, who are aged between two and four. Replacing old, outdated, wooden equipment, it included a playhouse, musical instruments, seating to listen to stories from and a water tray. And Mrs Stallwood said it had been a huge boost to enhancing the youngsters’ development.

“Their communication develops better when they are outside,” she pointed out. “They are free and able to interact more, exploring different angles from which to see the world. They can also find out about things that are not part of their usual local environment at places like the park in the village.”

The cricket club were similarly fulsome in their praise of Lottery funding. Development officer Sue Roberts said: “It was a fantastic opportunity for us, and really helpful.”

Lea and Roses were awarded £1,800 to carry out tests and inspections at their Lea Park ground to see if it was feasible for a wholesale renovation project, for which they would like more financial help.

“So many cricket clubs in Gainsborough have folded, but we are growing,” said Sue. “We run three teams on a Saturday now and have also become involved with junior cricket.

“We want to get the ground up to standard and then build a permanent pavilion. We were so grateful for the initial Lottery grant. Here’s hoping we are successful at the next stage.”

The club’s ambition has bred success too because two of their sides gained promotion last summer, including the first team, who were crowned Bassetlaw League, Second Division champions.