THE Chronicle's appeal to raise �127,000 to revamp a playground for children at a special needs school has reached the home straight.

Brookfields School in Tilehurst needs just �1,036 to hit its target to fund a replacement early years department play area. It has been designed to meet the needs of youngsters with physical and learning difficulties and teachers say it will provide an important boost to their development.

The latest donation of �2,188 has come from Dimensions in Theale, a not-for-profit organisation supporting people in England and Wales with learning disabilities and autism. Much of the money was raised by eight staff running this year's Reading Half Marathon.

Learning and development manager, Tina Wilson, has been leading Dimensions' fundraising for eight years and said for the past seven, money has gone to the people supported by the organisation. She added: "This year however, I suggested we fund-raise for a local charity.

"I read in The Chronicle that Brookfield School was fund-raising for a new playground for children with complex needs, including autism and sensory needs, and we voted unanimously to support it."

Tina said the Reading Half Marathon provides Dimensions with a "wonderful opportunity" to raise funds through running and volunteering, and added: "I am currently the Reading Road Runners ladies captain and love using my enthusiasm and energy to motivate and encourage everyone."

Workers arrived at Brookfields this week to clear the ground ahead of installing the play area, 18 months after the appeal was launched in The Chronicle.

The existing play area had become unsuitable for special needs pupils, with a cracked, uneven concrete surface hindering youngsters with restricted mobility, particularly those in pacer-strollers, a lack of specialist play equipment and cover which leaked when it rained.

The replacement will include a soft, all-weather surface, equipment adapted for use by children in wheelchairs, sensory toys aimed at helping pupils develop vital skills and adequate shelter.

To donate email to donate.