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Community organisations boosted by area grants

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ORGANISATIONS and community groups in Melksham have been awarded grants from Wiltshire Council’s area board, to ensure they can continue to meet the needs of the community.

At the Melksham Area Board meeting, held on at the Melksham Community Campus on Wednesday 8th March, local organisations presented their proposals for a grant from one of the three main schemes: Community Area Grants; Older and Vulnerable Adults Funding; and Local Youth Network Funding.

The Riverside Centre, a venue available for hire for regular or one-off events, based by Bath Road and the King George V Park, was awarded £4,000 from the community area grant to put towards new windows, following a hike in energy bills as a result of the cost-of-living crisis.

A representative from the Riverside Centre said, “The reason we are asking for some help is simply because of the heating costs. In January of this year our heating cost was £700, which in 2022 was only £200. Our heating has gone through the roof and the reason is the windows were put in in 1970 and they are very narrow double-glazed windows, so the heat is being lost through here.

“We are desperate to try and replace those windows to conserve the heat and make sure we have a good centre for people to use. With it being very, very cold, the heating is pushing quite hard and that is why we are asking for assistance.”

Local Youth Funding was awarded to three organisations in the town; Broughton Gifford and Holt Youthwork Project was awarded £500 for youthclub projects; 2385 Melksham Squadron ATC was awarded £1,600 to go towards learning materials for the increased squadron size; and 4Youth (South West) has been awarded £5,000 to go towards the running of the No Limits SEND youth club.

Treasurer of Broughton Gifford and Holt Youthwork Project said, “We run a youth club weekly indoors in winter and outdoors in summer, for young people from Broughton Gifford and Holt. We provide a safe space where they can do their own thing. We also run a number of projects. A couple of years ago they planted a load of trees in the community and they also painted the youth shelter. Running a youth club costs money. We rely on subscription from the young people and are grateful for any grant that you can give. Thank you.”

A representative from 2385 Melksham Squadron ATC said, “Melksham Squadron currently has 70 cadets. In total we need £3,200 and we would like £1,600 to help with training materials, workbooks and online activities. We are going to fund half of it through subscriptions. We are asking for the help so we can keep our subscriptions low. I have not been long with the squadron and have seen 30 cadets join since I have. It’s going really well.”

Trustee of 4Youth Jon Hubbard said, “We have about 15 to 20 people most Monday evenings to that club. It is a very expensive provision to offer because you need to have people able to meet the special needs of the young people who are there and a significant higher ratio of workers to young people than what we would have on a normal club.

“We keep the subscriptions the same for this club and we don’t make money back from the subscriptions because we want to keep it the same as the other clubs. What we are asking for represents about a third of the cost of running the club. And two-thirds of young people who come from the club come from within the Melksham area.”

Melksham Without Parish Council (MWPC) was also awarded £5,000 from the Older and Vulnerable Adults Funding to go towards a new Melksham Community Support senior project worker who will oversee and manage the Melksham Community Support Scheme. The scheme helps support older people to resolve practical difficulties, to access information and advice, and to become better connected with their communities.

The worker will also recruit, support and supervise volunteers who provide a range of practical and other support to older people in the Melksham area, including helping people with shopping, tasks around the home and offering companionship, and apply a holistic approach to support planning and co-ordination of input from different professionals and organisations.

Councillor Phil Alford said, “This is about bringing together many of the volunteer groups, bringing on board Melksham community spirit from Covid, and making sure people are coordinated, so we don’t get duplication. It will get more people doing more stuff to help more people. I love this project.”

Wiltshire Council area board grants are awarded to local community projects and initiatives that meet local priorities and deliver exceptional outcomes for residents. Grant applications must demonstrate how they will improve the local community and address local priorities.

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