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Guides will be back together thanks to coronavirus fund grant

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A COVID-19 grant will help two Guide groups bring hundreds of girls back together after months of separation.

The Wiltshire Community Foundation has awarded £3,000 to Calne district guides and £1,400 to the Melksham district guide headquarters from its Coronavirus Response and Recovery Fund.

In Melksham, the grant will help cover costs including making its headquarters in Riverside covid-safe for the 130 girls aged from six to 18 who use it.

Rainbows leader Karen Dwyer, who is also a member of the management committee said, “We have been running Zoom meetings and dropping off activity kits for the girls but what none of our units have done, because some of our families are in different financial positions and some of them have been impacted by work, is continue to charge subscriptions. They are our main income stream and normally we have just enough money coming in to cover the running costs.”

“We have still had to pay insurance and utilities, as well as the census. Without the grant we would really have struggled. All our usual fundraising has been lost and we use that to pay the fees of the girls whose families can’t afford to pay subscriptions because we don’t turn anyone away.”

The Melksham Rainbows are due to begin returning to meetings from 13th  October, subject to approval, with older units coming back after half-term. 

Karen Dwyer, who has been involved with the group for 40 years said,  “Getting back will be good for their physical wellbeing but it is also good for the emotional wellbeing too. We know they are back at school but seeing the friends they don’t see at school and having a little bit of routine, doing something different during the week is really good for them.

“We have seen them on Zoom meetings but that’s not the same as being in the same room and being able to chat and  play and we know they will be excited.”

The Wiltshire Community Foundation’s Coronavirus Response and Recovery Fund has raised more than £1.1 million and distributed £850,000 to 200 groups so far.

To donate to the Wiltshire and Swindon Coronavirus Response Fund or to find out how to apply for a grant, go to wiltshirecf.org.uk.

Pictured: Melksham Rainbows will soon be able to get back to regular activities like building a bug farm at their HQ.

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