STAFF at two Basingstoke preschools have all become first aid qualified thanks to the support of a local business.

The Phoenix Group, based in Winterthur House, near the town centre, has donated £500 to Hatch Warren and Kempshott Under Fives Preschools, which it has used to gain the Millie’s Mark Award.

The scheme, named after Millie Thompson, was set up after the nine-month-old died in 2012 when she choked on food at a nursery.

Her parents, Dan and Joanne Thompson, founded Millie’s Trust and successfully campaigned for changes to first aid requirements for childcare providers.

A Millie’s Mark award acknowledges that staff are confident to save a child’s life if they need to by administering first aid.

Lucy Warring, who is on the committee for Hatch Warren and Kempshott Under Fives Preschools, and who works for The Phoenix Group, secured the community donation from her employer.

The committee and staff celebrated the achievement at its latest AGM meeting.

Michelle Tejevo, the preschools’ area manager, said: “We are the only one within 12 miles to achieve it and we are hoping to lead the way. The award means a lot to staff because it shows they are being proactive in understanding first aid and that children are in the best possible hands.”

The two managers of the preschools filled in all the paperwork before a tense wait to find out if their application was successful.

Michelle said: “They pioneered the training and made sure the risk assessments were done and every staff member is trained in first aid. It’s a rigorous process there’s lots of form filling which took six months to complete.”

A panel awarded the preschools, which are a registered charity, the Millie’s Mark Award, and they can now be spot-checked at any point to ensure they are complying with the criteria.

Lucy Symonds, corporate responsibility manager for The Phoenix Group, said: “Colleagues at Phoenix Group based in Basingstoke are able to apply for a community donation for charities they regularly support and volunteer with out-of-business hours. Lucy Warring was successful in receiving a £500 donation in 2018 for her involvement with Hatch Warren Under Gives, a charity set up to support two preschools in the local area.

“This donation was certainly put to good use, as it assisted the charity with funding the first-aid training and achieving the Millie’s Mark Award.”