More than £13,000 has been given to community groups all over the county thanks to the Wiltshire Community Foundation and Wessex Water.
The community foundation was enlisted by the water and sewerage company to process applications for the first round of its Community Fund and eventually distributed £13,500 to 12 groups.
The aim of the fund is to increase community cohesion and encourage people to work together to improve the places they live in.
One of the recipients of the grant was Alzheimer’s Support, which was given £1,440 for its seven memory cafes across Wiltshire.
Stephany Bardzil, of the group, said the money was a huge boost for the cafes. “We are really grateful,” she said. “We have decided we can use this to buy all the food for our cafes for the whole year.”
The cafes, which have grown from just one ten years ago, provide a safe space for dementia sufferers and their families where they can meet friends and enjoy entertainment and talks.
Volunteers and staff from the group ensure everyone is made to feel welcome. “It’s a very buzzy atmosphere just like any other cafe,” said Mrs Bardzil. “The staff work hard to make sure everything is right and the families can feel comfortable and supported.”
Other groups to receive money were: Trowbridge Arts Together was given £1,500 for an arts group for vulnerable elderly people; Kington St Michael Autumn Club received £650 for an excursion; Flying Monk Community Projects in Malmesbury was given £1,335 for community radio project; Homeless charity Doorway in Chippenham was given £1,088 for its football group; Trowbridge Community Area Future received £1,382 for a youth workshop in responsible water usage; Pound Arts Trust in Corsham was given £1,462 for a rural community arts tour; Help Counselling Services in Trowbridge was given £1,000 for a weekly group for older people; homeless group Devizes Opendoor was given £1,500 towards its laundry costs; Devizes Play Parties was given £1,500 for a party for disabled people; Young Melksham was given £1,500 to upgrade loos at its Canberra Centre base and Compton Bassett Cricket Club received £643 to upgrade its clubhouse and tea room.
Wiltshire Community Foundation chief executive Rosemary Macdonald said: “We are very pleased to be working together with Wessex Water to help them support local communities. This is just one of the many corporate funds we manage for Wiltshire and these partnerships help companies such as Wessex Water deliver community benefit where they operate.”
Kirsty Scarlett, head of community engagement for Wessex Water, added: “We are very pleased to be working with the Foundation who are an expert in impactful grant giving locally. The applications were very interesting and featured different ways of working with marginalised groups to achieve community cohesion. We are very pleased to have funded 12 community focused projects from all across Wiltshire.”
The Wessex Water Community Fund opens for applications once a year and the next funding round is planned for January 2020.