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Round-up of recent Wiltshire Council area board projects in support of Wiltshire communities

Wiltshire Council's area boards have been involved with a huge range of projects in recent months

Published 21 August 2023
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Wiltshire Council's area boards have been involved with a huge range of projects in recent months. Here is a round-up of some of the projects, ranging from support to provide a new play area, a silent disco to help the wellbeing of older people, providing positive activities for young people and the success of a newly-constructed outdoor classroom area.

Commenting on the recent area board activity, Cllr Ashley O'Neill, Wiltshire Council Cabinet Member for Communities and Area Boards, said: "Once again our area boards, with support from our partners, have played pivotal roles in a range of programmes and projects that are supporting people of all ages.

"It's particularly pleasing to get feedback on how successful a project has been following support from the area board, and hearing about the lasting impact it will have."

Area boards bring local decision-making into the heart of the community. There are 18 area boards across Wiltshire, with each one holding devolved budgets to facilitate community action at a local level. They work alongside other organisations on local priorities in the community. These groups can include town and parish councils, voluntary and community groups, youth organisations, sports clubs and local charities.

The work of the area boards plays a key role in helping the council achieve its Business Plan priorities, such as 'supporting Wiltshire to be a place where we stay active' and 'live well together'. More information about the area boards can be found at

Bradford on Avon

Funding for accessible seating as part of the Tea With A Pony Project

The Bradford on Avon Area Board supported the Saxon Group Riding for Disabled Association in the town with funding to provide more accessible seating to aid with the expansion and improvement of its Tea With a Pony Project (TWP). Alongside the purchase of other items, the TWP Project has been able to expand to provide a special place for people living with dementia, people with learning and/or physical disabilities, and others to improve their wellbeing while having fun. The project is very valued by all that attend, and the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) wants to support more older and vulnerable people in the local community to reduce isolation and loneliness, alongside support from Bradford on Avon Area Board.


Fun activities and an opportunity to share experiences was on the menu when a special event was held at Thingley Caravan Park recently. More than 50 people took part in the event which was funded and led by Corsham Area Board working with and consulting teams within the council and other organisations. Corsham Area Board worked with partner agencies and asked residents at the council caravan site what types of activities they would like - the result was a range of positive activities focused on young people. Events included a climbing wall and arts and crafts with Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service providing a fire engine for young people to explore. The Open Blue Bus, a mobile community centre, visits Thingley once a month to provide pre-school activities in conjunction with Wiltshire Council's targeted education team and an after-school club for the older children. The board worked with the Blue Bus to arrange the event that would coincide with them being on site and complement what they were doing. The Blue Bus activities included a cooking activity, pizza, fresh fruit, and games including table football and a kick around with a football.


Focussing on solutions to air quality issues

Devizes Area Board, in response to community concerns around air quality in the town, held a workshop event to look at the issues and come up with possible solutions. Approximately 50 people attended and the ideas were considered afterwards by the area board members. As a result, the area board has started to work with some local schools to reduce car use and idling. Alongside this, the air quality and sustainable transport sub-group is looking at improving key walking and cycling routes.


A thanks for new outdoor classroom area that's making a difference

Cross Hayes Pre-School has expressed thanks to Malmesbury Area Board for its contribution towards the construction of a new outdoor classroom area. A volunteer from the pre-school committee said: "We are so excited and delighted with our new outdoor classroom area. It enables us to get the kids outside so easily in all weathers, which is brilliant for their learning and mental health. We have used this shelter every day since it was built. It allows the children more sensory, messy activities in the fresh air, and a particular favourite is story time outside." The Malmesbury Area Board supported 13 additional community-led projects at its most recent area board meeting.


Pop-up outreach event providing a host of activities for young people

The Pewsey Area Board has been supporting the Rural Outreach project for almost two years now and at its most recent event more than 60 young people attended a pop-up activity at Coopers Field. The event created a positive atmosphere, with zorbing, crafts and a variety of different games available for the young people to join in. Further engagement took place with the attendees to find out what they might like to see in the village in the future.

Royal Wootton Bassett and Cricklade

A productive visit to a waste facility

The Royal Wootton Bassett and Cricklade Area Board environment working group was hosted by Hills Group at its Resource Recovery Centre at Purton. The group was joined by a member of Wiltshire Council's Grant Applications & Planting Support (GAPS) Team, who talked about how the team can help with getting funding for tree planting. People from across the community area then had the opportunity to walk round the Hills site in Purton and learn about how it handles hazardous waste for the county and processes the garden waste that is collected in green bins. It was explained and shown how much plastic gets put incorrectly in the green bins by residents, and the group saw how much attention and monitoring goes into ensuring the quality of the compost created. The visit helped develop local connections and provided an overview of the waste and recycling process in the county.

Southern Wiltshire

Silent disco proves to be lots of fun, bringing older people together

The 'Sshh Silent Disco for Seniors' at Woodfalls and Morgan's Vale that recently took place was a noisy and joyous afternoon of dancing and singing along. Everyone who attended seem to thoroughly be surprised and enjoy themselves, with people laughing and dancing. Some were transported back to their younger days and fond memories of the past. There was a wide collection of music and many joined in, demonstrating their moves to tracks including the 'Twist', 'Is This the Way to Amarillo', 'You'll Never Walk Alone' and 'These Boots Are Made for Walking'. This event was funded by the Southern Wiltshire Area Board and supported by Redlynch Parish Council.

South West Wiltshire

Money raised for new play area

Barford St Martin Community Fund committee raised a record £80,000 in just eight months for a new play area in the village, helped by a grant from South West Wiltshire Area Board and Wiltshire Council's special educational needs fund. The Earl of Pembroke officially opened the play area surrounded by an impressive turnout of villagers of all ages. The Community Fund continues on and has already started to work on subsequent local village projects.


Positive activities popular with young people

The Rural Youth Outreach Project has continued to deliver pop-up youth activities in Ludgershall. The popularity of these events has grown throughout the two years of the project so far. At the most recent event, 40 young people attended, providing much-needed positive activities. The council's partner Community First, which delivers these sessions, is continuing to work on recruiting and developing volunteers in order for the project to be sustainable into the future.


Young people celebrated

Westbury Young People Awards returned in 2023 and was hosted by Matravers School. More than 200 young people attended the event where awards were presented in various different categories from sports and arts, through to young carers and Volunteering. As always the event was well received by the young people attending. Following this later in the month, the area board hosted the Westbury Health and Wellbeing Day on the High Street and in Soisy Gardens. Working in partnership with Westbury Town Council, which hosted its monthly Sunday Brunch event at the same time, various organisations held exhibition stands to spread the word about their services. Despite the hot weather the turnout was good, aided by a dog show and other interactive elements to the event.

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