Our History

TOG was first formed as a voluntary self-help group in July 1973. The group initially met three mornings per week and was run by a committee of parents and those interested in helping preschool children with special educational needs and/or disabilities. In 1978 TOG moved to a two purpose-built portacabins in Bishop’s Hull. At this point, TOG increased its morning sessions to five per week.

In 1990 Soroptimist International (SI) Taunton got involved with TOG and supported the group through fundraising initiatives such as a swimathon in 1993 and SI raised an incredible £15,000 for TOG in total. Around 1996, Jane Wheeler then President of SI Taunton was invited to visit TOG’s portacabin site in Bishop’s Hull. Jane, together with the then TOG chair Sally took the lead in trying to find a new and more permanent premises for the group. Our current site in Priorswood was subsequently found and Friends of TOG was set up as the fundraising body to help relocate TOG to the new site next to Wellsprings Primary School. The plot of land had been secured and now funds were needed for a building.

In 1997 SI Taunton asked Taunton Vale Rotary Club to get involved and in early 1998 a formal appeal was launched at Taunton Brewhouse to publicise TOG and to appeal for the funds for the building. Both clubs undertook fundraising activities and donations came from a variety of avenues, including individuals, charities, trusts and foundations, community groups and the council. A significant £100,000 matched donation came from The British Rugby Charity, otherwise known as Wooden Spoon Society.

In 2000 the new purpose-built building opened; it was named Wooden Spoon House to honour the donation given by Wooden Spoon Society and formally opened by former England rugby captain Bill Beaumont . There is a plaque (see photo) in TOG’s foyer which lists and thanks all the generous donors to this project, without which Wooden Spoon House would not exist. All these contributions are acknowledged and greatly appreciated by the TOG team to this day.  

As a registered charity TOG is dependent on funds from Somerset County Council (2–4-year-old Entitlement and High Needs Funding) and parent/carer session fees. However, this does not cover TOG’s operating costs and our fundraising initiatives are imperative to keeping the group running. Donations come from individual single and regular donors, trusts and foundations, events, and local businesses. TOG was also fortunate to receive a Children in Need grant in the past.

We are very appreciative and grateful for all the support and the donations we receive. If you would like to become involved, please read our support us page.