NURSERY staff embarking on a mission to build a pre-school for children facing extreme poverty in South Africa are ramping up fundraising after witnessing their hardship first-hand.

Cherry Trees Day Nursery, based in Bedford Avenue, Slough, has partnered with UK-based charity The Auntie Foundation to build a school for up to 100 children aged up to seven years old.

It will educate and safeguard children in hard-up families in Mfuleni, in the Western Cape of South Africa, who are too poor to access formal education.

Nursery workers Sue Lovell and Saika Biby returned home from a trip to the township - an underdeveloped urban area - last week and were rocked by the extreme poverty.

Mrs Lovell, manager, said: "The conditions faced by children in the township are terrible. It's not just a case of providing these children with a good start in life and preparing them for school through education, it's also a case of keeping them safe from the dangers and abuse they often face at home and in their communities."

The nursery will add to the �3,000 already raised from activities including a summer fete last year with an open day on Friday, April 26.

Cherry Trees deputy manager, Mrs Biby, added: "We look to teach our children about the wider world at Cherry Trees, and through our fundraising and partnership with the nursery that we're building - we aim to educate and involve the children here in this fantastic project.

"It's a long way from Slough to South Africa, but by involving our children, parents and staff team in this project, we hope to bring them a little closer. So far, support from parents here at the nursery has been absolutely fantastic."

Partner organisation The Auntie Foundation works with Cape Town charity Ikamva Labantu which has helped build more than 200 pre-schools since the apartheid era.

The charities aim to combat a culture of violence and abuse in townships.

Mrs Lovell added: "Here in the UK we occasionally come across a child who has been through childhood trauma, but the scale of abuse, hunger or loss of a parent in the townships is frightening - building a pre-school seems like a small way in which we can help. It's something dear to our hearts that we can do for these children."

To donate visit or Alternatively a cheque can be made payable to The Auntie Foundation and be sent to the nursery at 179 Bedford Avenue, Slough Trading Estate, Berkshire, SL1 4RA.