THE FUTURE home of a preschool in Thornbury has been saved after it faced a race against time to finish its new building.

First-Step Preschool, which had started building its new home on the grounds of Crossways Infants School earlier this year, experienced problems after it ran out of money mid-construction.

Funding for the project was kicked off with a £225,000 grant from the Department for Education, which the Pre-school expected to amount to 75 per cent of the cost as they would be tax exempt from being a registered charity.

The new building would see the preschool provide double the number of spaces for early years nursery care, to 40 per session.

But the government grant was under the proviso that they would be up-and-running by September, and the cash failed to arrive until March, giving them a very short turnaround to get building, a problem which was then followed-up by them learning they would not qualify for tax exemption.

But after hearing of the group’s plight, Thornbury and Yate MP Luke Hall called on South Gloucestershire Council to intervene, with the council’s leader and deputy leader Cllrs Matthew Riddle Toby Savage bringing the matter before the council’s cabinet on Monday.

During the meeting, the cabinet agreed the proposal to put forward the remaining £183,000 shortfall, which would ensure the building’s completion.

Cllr Toby Savage said: "We have been pleased to work with the pre-school and Luke Hall over the last few weeks on what is a complex situation and council officers have worked speedily through the various financial, legal and building issues involved.

“The pre-school are doing a fantastic job serving the local community and I'm delighted that we have been able to step in with this significant investment in the town's infrastructure and ensure that nursery places onsite are doubled as swiftly as possible to support more working families."

Mr Hall said: “I am delighted that a way forward has been found to help First-Steps so that they can increase the amount of childcare available for our town and supporting working parents.

A spokeswoman for the preschool said: “We are absolutely thrilled by the decision to secure the completion of the new building.

“We sincerely thank Luke Hall, Cllrs Toby Savage and Matthew Riddle, and the dedicated council officers who have handled our case swiftly and efficiently.

“A huge thank you also for the immense support we have received from parents, The Crossways Schools and the wider community through this uncertain time.

“We are now progressing the project, in partnership with the Council, to resume building work and open our doors in the coming few months to offer not only extended childcare provision but also the wider benefits of high quality pre-school education to even more local families.”