A GRANT of more than £5,000 awarded to Chepstow Mencap by the Free Press’ American parent company Gannett has made a huge difference, says its manager.

Jane Mair said the money enabled the Berkeley Centre to set up a computer suite, which is used daily by some of its 90 service users.

The charity, which provides day activities and support projects to people with learning disabilities, secured a £5,522 prize from the Gannett Foundation Fund in 2011.

The Gannet Foundation - the charitable arm of Gannet Co, Inc owner of Newsquest Media Group, which publishes regional and local newspapers, websites and magazines across the UK, provides money for projects in areas where Newsquest operates.

Thanks to the money, the centre, on Station Road, now boasts software, an extra large keyboard and a big screen which links to the computers for the visually impaired.

Ms Mair said some members aged 18-80 have joined a photography group, set up eBay and Facebook accounts and been able to update the charity’s website.

They have also started a media group to collate regional and national news.

Ms Mair said it would have taken the charity up to two years to raise more than £5,000.

“It has been wonderful for us and made a huge difference,”

she said.

“We wouldn’t have been able to do half the things without it.”

The closing date for this year’s Gannett grant has now passed and a decision on the nominations will take place later in the year.