A GRATEFUL charity has secured a boost of £315,000 from The National Lottery Community Fund.

West Berkshire-based Swings and Smiles will be awarded the grant across three years.

The money will enable the charity to continue running its much-needed centre, which offers a place to play, as well as support, for children with special needs and their whole family.

The grant will go towards the running costs of the facility to ensure the continuation of its valuable service.

Based at A Place to Play, Lower Way, Thatcham, Swings and Smiles now has more than 400 families registered, and its services are available to any children and young people with special needs aged 0-25.

Groups are also run for siblings, offering a fantastic opportunity for them to meet other children who understand their situation.

In addition to what is offered at the centre, Swings and Smiles is also fully funded to be able to deliver sessions in the community with its outreach van.

Sian Cook, founder of Swings and Smiles, said: "I can't describe the pleasure we have seeing families visit us on a regular basis and watching the children and their parents benefit from their time with us.

"This is what I set out to achieve in 2007 and it is wonderful to see it come to fruition and to know we are helping to enrich their lives.

"Thanks to The National Lottery Community Fund we now know we are able to continue to offer this essential service for years to come.

"Their endorsement gives us tremendous credibility and provides us with a secure platform on which to build for the future."