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Round-up of recent Wiltshire Council Area Board projects in support of the county's communities

As a new year gets underway, here's a round-up of some of the recent projects Wiltshire Council's Area Boards have been involved with and supported.

Published 17 January 2023

As a new year gets underway, here's a round-up of some of the recent projects Wiltshire Council's Area Boards have been involved with and supported.

Area Boards are a way of working to bring local decision-making into the heart of the community. There are 18 Area Boards across Wiltshire, with each one holding delegated powers and devolved budgets to facilitate community action at a local level. They exist to 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.

Commenting on the recent Area Board activity, Cllr Ashley O'Neill, Wiltshire Council Cabinet Member for Communities and Area Boards, said: "Our area boards contribute to the success of a number of local projects and initiatives that benefit their local communities. We're proud that Wiltshire is full of proactive and empowered people and in working together we can all make a positive difference to our county."


A successful year for Wilts & Berks Canal Trust with area board support

Hardworking volunteers have reflected on another successful year of restoring a former waterway through the local countryside. The Melksham, Chippenham & Calne branch of the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust recently held its annual general meeting where it looked back over the previous 12 months. Fundraising highlights included £4,892 from Chippenham Area Board for repairs to the bank and towpath.

Celebrating the work of the voluntary community sector

The recent Chippenham Community Conference was hosted by Chippenham Town Council in partnership with Chippenham Area Board. The event comprised guest speakers, networking, priority setting and celebrating the work of the Voluntary Community Sector in the Chippenham area. More than 40 organisations were engaged in four workshops across the two days, enabling community conversations on the themes of environment, health and wellbeing, young people and community safety, with approximately 40 attendees present for each session. The Chippenham Area Board will use the feedback from the event to inform its local priority action plan for 2022-24.


Culture and heritage support for older people

Celebrating Age has received further funding from both Calne and Corsham Area Boards for another 12 months of activity, delivering culture and heritage events in community settings to support the wellbeing of vulnerable older people. Noticing Nature art workshops, Creative Conversations and theatrical performances.


Support for food banks

Working with the Melksham Foodbank, Melksham Area Board is providing slow cookers for distribution from the food bank to those who need them the most. Slow cookers are easy to use and save money. Initially 24 cookers are being distributed by the food bank along with a simple recipe and ingredients to help residents on their way.

Southern Wiltshire

Healthy Schools Accreditation

Thanks to a small grant from the Southern Wiltshire Area Board, seven additional primary schools in the Southern Wiltshire Community Area have been able to release staff during 2021/22 to secure Healthy Schools accreditation - Coombe Bissett Primary School, Longford Primary School in Old Sarum, St Andrews Primary School in Laverstock, St Nicholas Primary School in Porton The New Forest School, and Winterslow Primary School. Schools were proudly presented their awards at a recent area board meeting.

Youth club back up and running following area board support

Thanks to the area board-led Rural Youth Outreach Project (RYOP), a village led youth club based in the Southern Wiltshire Community Area is getting back on its feet again after more than three years of not being able to meet due to lack of volunteers. The Winterslow Youth Zone has received regular support and expert input from youth officers funded through the area board RYOP grant during 2022 including the recruiting of a new set of village volunteers all keen to run sessions from early 2023. With the Winterslow village youth club back up and running, the plan now is to refocus efforts on other parishes in the area during 2023 to ensure more young people currently not engaged in positive activities can take advantage of new opportunities on their doorstep.


Wiltshire College returns to Westbury

Wiltshire College will be delivering courses in basic maths, basic English, customer services, employability, digital skills from the Westbury Community Project building from this January. This will be the first time they have had a presence in Westbury since their small centre on the High Street closed more than a decade ago. This will provide high quality learning opportunities to residents.

For more information on the work of Wiltshire Council's Area Boards, please visit Introduction.

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