A STIRLING charity for disabled children and young adults celebrated winning a £10,000 award that will help more than 40 families across the area.

Forth Valley-based PLUS, which organises social events and short breaks for children and young adults with disabilities, will now be able to open two more groups in Balfron and Callander, after it was awarded the money by financial services company OneFamily as part of its Community Awards.

The funding will be used to hire two venues at Balfron High School and the McLaren Leisure Centre in Callander.

This will enable PLUS to host regular monthly rural events and school holiday sessions, such as play and social groups for local children and young adults from birth to 35-years-old.

It will also use the money to buy equipment, such as cooking ingredients, computers and tablets, DVDs and sports apparatus as well as sensory equipment and to update its play resources which will be used across all PLUS venues.

PLUS was founded in 1988 by a group of parents who felt the local area did not offer services where their children could access regular social activities, whilst giving families much needed respite.

Since then it’s become a vital resource for families across Stirling and it now has 250 members and hosts 12 social projects.

The awards are part of the OneFamily Foundation and were created to give OneFamily customers the opportunity to support projects in their area that matter to them and their families.

This year’s awards saw customers nominating projects to win £5,000, £10,000 or £25,000 across four categories.

Jacqueline Wardrop who has a child trust fund for her daughter Jenna with OneFamily, put PLUS forward for the award because Jenna, is a member.

The group is one of 32 organisations to have won an award in this latest round.

Jacqueline said: "PLUS has a huge impact on the lives of the families that it supports.

"Buying computers and cooking equipment means our members can learn skills that they will need for later life whilst socialising with their friends, something which is important yet often taken for granted.

"Our families often need respite too but have been unable to access this effectively due to the longer travel time to our base in central Stirling.

"Now even more families from across the area can access our services and have some much-needed time-out.

"We can’t believe how many people voted for us to win this award.

"It’s amazing to receive this level of support from the local community and we can’t thank them enough for helping us to secure this funding."

Guy French, corporate and customer strategy director at OneFamily, said: "Groups like PLUS give children opportunities that will change their lives forever, as well as providing vital periods of respite to family members.

"It’s important that projects like this are financially supported and we’re so pleased that our award will help PLUS continue to expand.

"The projects that the awards support are all very special to our customers and make a positive difference in their local communities.

"We are a customer-owned business and for us it’s not just about offering financial products and services.

"The OneFamily Foundation is a way that we give something back to our customers, and each year we give hundreds of thousands of pounds to causes that matter to them most. 

"Last year, we touched the lives of more than 100,000 people through our awards and grants, and this year we hope to make the Community Awards even bigger and better."

For more information please visit the OneFamily website.