HOPE Nature Centre is vying for a cash boost from the Masonic Charitable Foundation to increase the size of and improve its popular café.

By extending the café, the centre will be able to employ more staff and provide in-house training to adults with learning difficulties.

It is one of four organisations in the region going for the maximum grant of £25,000, with Wiltshire Bobby Van Trust, John McNeill Opportunity Centre and Swindon-based youth mentoring SMASH the other three.

Anya Johnson, administration and finance assistant at Hope Nature Centre, said: “We would love to be able to extend our café as we want to take on more service volunteers.

“The demand is there and working here really benefits adults with learning difficulties, their confidence grows massively and they learn a lot of valuable skills.

“We need people to vote for us in order to achieve the highest ground so we’re asking the local community to get behind us and show their support.”

The awards are being handed out by the Masonic Charitable Foundation as part of its 300th anniversary of the United Grand Lodge of England, which will see it hand out a total of £3mil to 300 charities across the UK.

Hope Nature Centre was built in 2005 and employs 57 people, with 35 service volunteers and 22 paid members of staff.

As well as the café there is also a petting farm, which is also manned by service volunteers.

Voting is open from June 12 - July 31, visit www.mcf.org.uk.