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

Wiltshire Council's area boards have been involved with a huge range of projects to improve their communities in recent months.

Published 14 December 2023

Grants provided by the area boards have funded a range of projects and events designed to support and improve the lives of the young and old living in Wiltshire.

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 throughout the county.

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 to support Wiltshire to be a place where we stay active and live well together. More information about the area boards can be found at Area boards.

Here is a round-up of some of the projects:

Bradford on Avon

Mental Health First Aid Training for young people

The Bradford on Avon Area Board grant funded Mental Health First Aid training for young adults aged 16+ delivered by Tracy Sullivan of open minds in conjunction with the Bradford on Avon Community Area Network (BOACAN). Funding for a further session has been requested by the sixth form at St Laurence School, as the sessions help young people to support themselves and their friends and family building a more resilient community.


Calne's Big Dementia Day

Calne's Big Dementia Day, organised by Calne Health & Social Care Forum in partnership with Calne Area Board, took place in September and was opened by Lady Lansdowne, a patron of Alzheimer's Support in Wiltshire. It was an informative and thought-provoking event, raising awareness of Dementia with positive feedback on the different activities, which included an immersive experience of dementia in the Explorer Dome's Brain Dome. Attendees took part in dome sessions, a Dementia Information session and the lively and uplifting Music for the Mind taster session. Feedback was collected on what visitors think about local services for dementia.


No7 Creative Space

Chippenham Area Board was pleased to support the Rag and Bone Arts CIC (opens new window) Number 7 Creative Space refurbishment project, which aims to turn a disused warehouse on Union Road into a 150-seat theatre. The new venue will provide a space dedicated to visual and performing arts for all ages and abilities and will allow the arts school to move and expand from its current space in St Paul's church hall.


Singalong Sessions

Sian Rob Music was funded by Devizes Area Board to run community singalong sessions for older and vulnerable people who have limited access to live music. They recently performed at the public living room in the Town Hall, which provides a relaxed space for people to socialise together. Feedback included one person who is normally shy but was joining in and dancing. The facilitator of the public living room said the atmosphere was one of joy and life which carried on after the singalong ended. These sessions are extremely helpful for those who have poor mental health to stay healthy and connected to their communities.


Highlighting Melksham's undiscovered cultural heritage

Melksham Area Board has made culture a local priority and aims to promote the very rich heritage of the town by raising its importance and engaging the community to recognise what Melksham has. The area board started one of its meetings with a culture walk, in partnership with Melksham Historical Association, around the town to show the importance of culture and heritage, followed by short talks on local heritage.


New Youth Cafe

A new youth café has been set up in a partnership between Pewsey Area Board, Pewsey Parish Council and the leisure centre. It will run weekly on Friday evenings at the Pewsey Vale Campus from 7pm to 9pm.


Salisbury Underpass community artwork project

Initiated by the Salisbury Area Board Underpasses working group, in collaboration with Salisbury City Council, a group of local young people have designed and created a colourful mural in the Exeter Street underpass. Young people came together to co-design the artwork, featuring wildlife that is found in and around the River Avon. The project was co-ordinated by Splash Wiltshire, the youth arm of Youth Action Wiltshire and local artist Fred Fieber. It was funded through Salisbury Area Board youth grants and Salisbury City Council community grants. Passers-by and local residents have enjoyed the excellent artwork and have commented on how the mural brightened the underpass, making it feel safer.

Southern Wiltshire

Becoming a dementia friendly Downton

Funded by the Southern Wiltshire Area Board, a partnership of community interest companies have been delivering dementia support activities in and around Downton, culminating in a celebratory musical event, with food, activities and a consultation on how to make the area more dementia friendly. The consultation feedback will be used by the area board's new health and wellbeing group to develop more dementia friendly initiatives.

South West Wiltshire

Marking The Great Big Green Week in South West Wiltshire

Around 60 people gathered in Tisbury and Wilton to mark The Great Big Green Week, facilitated by the South West Wiltshire Area Board. The Cranborne Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Chase & Chalke Partnership team worked with the area board to facilitate nature recovery themed events, bringing together local grassroots community groups, including Wilton's Men's Shed, children's centre teams, and families for food and fun activities at the Nadder Centre and at The Guild shopping village, Wilton.


Rural Youth Outreach Project

The Rural Youth Outreach Project continued to deliver pop-up youth activities in Ludgershall. The popularity of these events has grown since the launch of this project two years ago. The project provides much-needed positive activities in an area for young people. Community First, which delivers these sessions, is continuing to work on recruiting and developing volunteers in order for the sessions to be sustainable into the future.

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