News and updates from our programmes and services


Community Organising

Community First’s Social Action Hub team continue to actively develop community organising skills across Wiltshire and Swindon, motivating, encouraging, supporting and facilitating ideas for change and action!

In the last quarter of 2019 the team delivered formal training and informal, on the job training to 54 people.

Read about the team’s partnership with Sanctuary Housing in Barne Barton, Plymouth and recent project work in Devizes that demonstrates how grassroots, social action training and mentoring offers real practical support in Wiltshire’s communities.

Sowing the Seeds for Better Mental Health in Wiltshire

The community organising team met Martin and Niki when they came on a Community Organising Training session at Community First in the Spring of 2019. They had both been registered with Richmond Fellowship and had a history of mental health issues which had impacted on lots of different aspects of their lives. They would meet with a group of individuals with similar issues and volunteer at Devizes’ Caen Hill Farm. They found this physical outdoor work very therapeutic, it helped with their mental well-being and also combatted loneliness. Sadly funding cuts bought this programme to an end and the group found itself with nowhere to go.

Martin and Niki decided to take initiative. They came up with the idea of setting up a Community Allotment Group; the idea was appealing because it combined an outdoor meeting place which was relatively accessible and brought with it the opportunity to grow vegetables together and have a chat over a cup of tea.

They immediately applied the lessons that they had learned on the training day, organising, connecting and showing leadership by contacting at first Wiltshire Council to secure a new allotment plot, then Devizes Town Council Planning committee in a bid to install a shed and a polytunnel as a sheltered meeting place for the Group to sit. The application process was lengthy, initially the application was declined, but Martin and Niki would not give up, they wanted a new home for the group and wanted the committee to understand the positive impact this project would have on people suffering from depression and general mental health. They appealed the decision and met again to address the town council’s planning committee

They reversed the decision and plot 35 was born! And is now up and running.

Read the full story about how this experience instilled confidence in the group to take further steps and apply for grant funding.

Social Action Creates Positive Change for Communities in Barne Barton

Community First were commissioned at the end of 2019 by Sanctuary Housing Group neighbourhood manager’s team. The team delivered a targeted programme of outreach activities and community engagement with local residents.

The aim was to engage with the Barne Barton community who included many hard to reach, isolated and disengaged residents. Community Organisers started by delivering postcards (with a photo of the team) with details of the project. This included advertising a fun day organised by Sanctuary and free Community Organising and Listening Training.

The fun day was a huge hit and a really positive way to start the programme. Children could ‘adopt a teddy bear’ and adults had lots of fun playing the classic ‘water and wine’ tombola. Following the fun day the team knocked on 108 doors and spoke to over 70% of the Barne Barton Residents asking them what they loved about their area and what they saw to be the main problems. They met with residents on the doorsteps, outside the primary school, in the local shop and out on the streets. They also attended local community groups running in the area. This gave the Community Organising team a great understanding about the area and residents started to really open up on what life was like living in Barne Barton and how the future regeneration of the area was so important for them.

Community Firsts’ two community organisers then delivered 2 days training to 12 residents. The feedback was really positive, it instilled confidence and commitment to going out listening to fellow Barne Barton residents and several even took the lead on the doorstep! 21 have now set up a Barne Barton Star Community Organising Group and have come together as a united group.

This project is a great success story, as within a very short space of time the community had helped to build their collective power, to take social action and bring residents right into the centre of the regeneration plans.

For regular updates visit Katrina and Clara’s blog or find us on Instagram @socialactionhub.

The Big Community Cancer Conversation

Collective voices were listened to on the 15th January when Community First (in partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support), hosted an event that would bring together people, organisations and partners of the Macmillan Cancer Connections project to talk about their own community group or their own experiences regarding support for those affected by cancer in the Wiltshire area

What has always been paramount to Alex, the Macmillan Cancer Connections Project Manager, Macmillan and other partners of the Macmillan Cancer Connections project is to ensure that people get the opportunity to link and connect with others, especially when talking about gaps and priorities that people have regarding support for those affected by cancer across Wiltshire area.

Alex wanted to create a space where those people could have a platform to voice these feelings directly to Macmillan and other partners of the Macmillan Cancer Connections project. The event saw 45-50 people come together to have conversations around how they felt about Wiltshire’s current services. Over 20 organisations were present in the room. It was clear that people’s concerns stretched far beyond specific cancer support groups and treatment

Alex has recently shared an update on the event, head on over to her blog to find out more.

Wiltshire Council is Committed to Empowering the Voices of Young People in Wiltshire

Community First received £35,000 funding in 2019 to support, train and employ a team of young people aged 16-24 years. 7 Youth Consultants were employed in July 2019, they undertook training in An Introduction to Community Organising, Listening and Relational Meetings and have attended Wiltshire Youth Union and Children in Care Council meetings to establish links with these forums.

The programme has undertaken a variety of useful activities already. The aim of the project is to empower the voice of young people through county-wide initiatives, surveys and consultation events, advising Wiltshire Council and others on what is needed to improve services,

The youth consultants received two expression of Interest forms in November and December 2019 from Nicolas Breakwell, SEND services & commissioning team and Lynn Gibson Youth Action Wiltshire Young Carers

SEND Services & Commissioning team requested that the youth consultants support Wiltshire Council’s Special Educational Needs and/or Disability (SEND) service, in engaging with children/young people linked to the development of a new (SEND) strategy.

As part of the redevelopment, they wanted the team to consult with children and young people (CYP) to understand what is important to them and supports them to feel included within their school environment and community. Particularly for those students who may struggle in school and are not see as high achievers. These CYP are likely to have some form of additional educational need.

The youth consultants were given a set of pre-determined questions to help support this work.

So far the Youth Consultants have met with Lavington and Hardenhuish secondary schools, Old Sarum Youth Club, Bradford on Avon & Young Melksham youth clubs listening to young people in those schools and youth clubs that access services

  • In total they have listened to 167 young people at these three different youth clubs, (listening’s took place in January 2020) with several other youth clubs to attend in February & March.
  • At Old Sarum Youth Club two videos were produced, one being a safe place to play and it being smoke free!

There were two strands to the request made by Youth Action Wiltshire, Young Carers wanted to understand better the experiences of young carers and their families in accessing Young Carers services.

  • Youth Consultants have visited young carers on Friday 21st and 29th February and have a third meeting booked on the 14th March 2020

They wanted to listen to families and young people about their experiences of the new Victims of Crime service. A review of young victims of crime through their new programme which supports victims through positive activities, funded through the PCC

  • The youth Consultants have started on the Victims of Crime project, one youth consultant & Support worker attended a session with the young victims of Crime, the youth consultant joined in with a couple of activities to ensure the young people were comfortable and relaxed to ensure the listening and questions would be well received.  This is a project that has only just started with 3 young people affected by crime have been listened to, more meetings are being booked in the diary.

In helping to promote positive activities for young people, we hope to encourage happy and healthy communities and to create a safe space for people to visit. For more information about the Youth Consultant project please contact Katrina Watson: kwatson@communityfirst.org.uk


Youth Consultant: Read their stories

Charlotte Thorn

I applied to be a youth consultant because of difficult experiences that I have faced, which has led to me to want to be able to do all I can in order to change the services for young people in Wiltshire. When I was taken away from my primary care giver as well as being removed from the family home, there was a risk that my siblings and I were going to be left outside the local shop with the bags that we had managed to pack. This was because it was close to Christmas and the social workers were trying to get their jobs done quickly to get back to their personal lives. A few weeks after my sister, brother and I were given a social worker. It came apparent quickly that she was extremely over run with other cases and so getting meetings with her would be difficult as we were not top of her priority due to not being at risk. This didn’t mean that we didn’t need her but, we were not entitled to more of her time. This affected my sister and myself as we were made to think that we were not as important as other cases. This feeling was developed when I was put on a waiting list for counselling that took 10 months to come through for 6, one hour sessions. Further highlighting how stretched Wiltshire services are for young people.

The idea that other young people in Wiltshire are also going through this feeling; that their needs are not as important as others, motivates me to get out into Wiltshire services and get feedback in any way that the services can be improved. Subsequently, I want to be there to listen to any young people who are going through difficult situations. This will make a small dent in a larger issue that needs to be tackled in Wiltshire. I strongly believe that young people will open up more to those of a similar age as they will not feel as intimidated as others would if talking to adults which I believe is one of the problems that are faced.

Tia Fear

​I have been very fortunate throughout my life to have been able to use the Splash services provided by Youth Action Wiltshire. These projects allowed me to grow as an individual, in confidence, trust, and communication. I had come from a very hectic background and so these projects were seen as a way to escape. As I got older, and my connections with the charity grew, I began to become a valued member of the adult volunteers, aiding the young people to gain the same positive experiences that these projects gave me.  It was through these projects that I learned about the Youth Consultant role. I knew it was something that I would be very passionate about, and hoped to use this platform as a way to demonstrate to young people, that not only can you come through the bad times and be shining bright on the other side, but to also make them aware of the support that the community offers, whether that be programs like I attended or free counseling sessions. As I found that when speaking to the young people on the projects, they often felt isolated and alone in their issues, which is something that needed to be changed. In addition to this, I applied because I had some experience with the council’s social workers, and even aimed to be one myself at a later point. I wished to use these experiences to allow my self to help as many young people as possible. By applying for this post, I felt I could gain much more experience in the field of social policy, which would further benefit my changes and abilities to become a fostering social working in the future.

From enrolling as a youth consultant, as stated above, I wished to learn more in the field of social policy, in order to aid my chances of success, later on in my academic career. Furthermore, I wished to meet a range of different individuals that come from many different backgrounds than me, in order to see how your upbringing and challenges can shape the person you become. In addition to this, I wished to be taking part in many training sessions, to explore my range of understanding and safety. Through this opportunity, I hope to speak to a variety of young people to allow their voices to be heard, and not just at a minute scale. I wish, to make a difference, to at least one young person’s life, the way those projects have made a difference in me. I also hope to engage more young people on the different support in the community, to allow more young people to get the help they so thoroughly deserve.

Maddie Aldam Gates

​”When people ask me why I wanted to be a Youth Consultant, I tell them it’s because I want to help others. This is true, however, when I consider the question more deeply, I realise there was even more to it.

Perhaps the biggest reason was my recent discovery of institutional inequality – specifically, the stark differences between schools, and therefore the start in life that each child receives. Of course, I already knew that children do not receive completely equal opportunities in life – I even experienced this myself, during my own education at my local state school, which facilitated students from varying social backgrounds. However, it wasn’t until my work experience last year that I was reminded of the issue.

I went to four or five local primary schools with Active Trowbridge, delivering PE and afterschool clubs to the children. It took only a couple of visits for me to realise how different the primary schools were across the different areas of town – not only in terms of buildings (although the quality of this did differ significantly) but in terms of staff attitudes and expectations of their pupils. It was clear to me that, from the word go, some children’s ‘potential’ would be capped (consciously or subconsciously) at a level defined by where they live or what their family background is like. I recall, when starting at secondary school and being put into maths and english sets, being in the bottom classes – my friends had gone to a primary school with a more ‘well off’ catchment area, and had been encouraged to take the ‘advanced’ SATs papers. This had not even been an option at my school – everybody took the basic level assessment, regardless of capability. I only realise now how unfair this was.

This is really why I wanted to become a Youth Consultant – I hoped it would allow me to make a positive change for young people in our community, and work towards equality for all, regardless of where they live or what school they go to. I think that no child should be limited by what others think they can achieve; all should have the chance to reach their true potential, and council services should aim to deliver this. By working alongside the council to find out what young people think about where they live, and the services they have experienced (or have failed to have been offered when they should have) I hope to do my part in giving young people in the area the opportunity to be the very best they can.”

Reasons from the team, why and what they want to get out of the Youth Consultants roles?

  • Wanting to support & empower our Wiltshire youth to make change
  • Wanting to help people help themselves.
  • This is a chance to improve & change things for young people in Wiltshire.
  • To make a real improvement to the lives of young people, also to improve my skill set.
  • I have seen many inequalities – for example – in schools, that I think should be addressed.
  • Mapping services & community Assets, finding out what is available for the young people of Wiltshire.
  • Wanting to get young peoples voices heard & make a difference, also this will help my career path – social policy.
  • I am doing this for many reasons, one is to help me to decide what I would like to do for my career, social work is top of my list now, but this may change.
  • Helping young peoples voices be heard & support them.
  • Understanding what is available to use for us in this project but also what is available for all young people in Wiltshire.
  • Creating a platform for young people to express their opinions and be heard.
  • Looking forward to exploring young people’s experiences & understanding other views.
  • Looking forward to the training involved in becoming a youth consultant.
  • Making a difference and hearing many voices and views.

Project Success to Date – 4 Key Elements

1.Culture Change

Youth representation at boards and committees, Increased engagement in youth voice within policy.

There has been increased engagement in youth voice activities by young people, this has not only been through referrals but also the Youth consultants reaching out to the wider community and young people through youth clubs, also reaching out to other schools that didn’t come back to Wiltshire council in the first expression of interest, since then Achaynnie one of the consultants reached out to Sheldon school and asked if we could go and listen to the pupils in school, the headmaster has agreed and three dates have been arranged for listening café to take place in March.  Charlotte, Scott & Madi have both made further contact with youth clubs in other areas, Hilperton, Durrington & Trowbridge for listening sessions to take place.

2. Structural Change

Working in Partnership with schools, youth clubs to ensure young peoples voices are recorded in written format, reported but also by recorded the views of young people, through recordings.

Enhancing the profile o young people voices through a video, you tube and in the wider community.

3. Practice and development

The youth consultants have just started to capture young peoples feedback about services in Wiltshire, they hope to capture more in different ways, through videos, songs also by a formal reports, they hope to influence decisions through these different methods.

Quality Assurance

After some of the listening sessions that have taken place, young people have expressed how they felt about being asked these different questions, Many of the Youth groups  that were attended expressed how lovely it was to be asked questions and being listened to.

Two of the youth group leaders reported back that they haven’t seen the young people in the group so engrossed and how lovely it was to see them participating in something that on the outside doesn’t seem that exciting, having other young people listening to young people really works!

4. Performance indicators Key

  • Youth consultants attended Youth forums, corporate committee meetings, consultation sessions and staff interviews, all of these have given the youth consultants an opportunity for growth and development.
  • Decisions have also been influenced by the youth consultant’s involvement (being on the interview panel for Wiltshire council jobs)
  • Sevan consultation exercises undertaken.
  • Potential of twenty new members for the youth union.
  • 205 children and young people have been in contact with youth consultants.
  • Council officers and councilors engaged with youth consultants through meetings and board meetings.

Plan for Quarter 3

Working on new and existing Expression of interest that we receive.

Continue listening to young people in Youth clubs and other groups that the youth consultants have contact with.

Scott – Youth consultant to sit on panel for an interview at County Hall as requested by Dexter Chipeni.   The Job purpose: Provide advice and support to maintain or improve the wellbeing of clients, their carer’s and families. To oversee service delivery to meet a clients eligible needs as commissioned.

Village Halls & Community Buildings

#VillageHallsWeek Celebration in Wiltshire is a Huge Success

January 22nd – 28th 2020 saw the 3rd year for ACRE’s national campaign Village Halls Week. Halls across Wiltshire registered for a FREE marketing pack and to join the celebrations. The support for village halls, their services, volunteers and their importance to their communities across the UK was overwhelming.

We were delighted to see Holt, Cricklade and Leigh Park halls receive visits from their MPs, be featured in the Wiltshire Times as well as be featured on BBC Wiltshire.

BBC Wiltshire radio showed great PR support, interviewing committee members daily as a special “Village Halls Week” celebratory feature including an interview with Community First’s Village Halls Adviser Helen Akiyama who chatted about Village Halls Week 2020 and the events that were planned to celebrate throughout the campaign. Wiltshire’s halls celebrated with open days (Broad Hinton & Leigh Park Community Centre), singing classes (Wanborough Village Hall), ballroom dancing classes (Ellendune Village Hall) and upholstery classes (Poulshot Village Hall). Special thanks to Louise Worsley of Worsley Training who ran a fun hands-on first aid training event at Upavon Village Hall.

If you missed any of our posts then please visit Village Halls Week or visit and join our Facebook page @CommunityFirstWiltshire to read how we celebrated Village Halls and Community Buildings at the heart of communities across Wiltshire and Swindon.

National Village and Community Hall Survey

The ACRE Network needs your help with a crucial census. Carried out once every ten years the survey will provide up to date information about halls and the social and economic impact they deliver for their communities. This information is vital to secure funding for halls, funding for Network services, and to ensure our services and the information we hold adapts to the ever-changing challenges facing halls and communities.

We want responses from all community buildings; rural village halls, community centres, sports pavilions, church halls, churches providing community use, Miners Welfare Institutes or WI halls that provide meeting facilities for the community.

Take the Village and Community Hall Survey

This is an online survey but to make it easier you can download a PDF of the questions and draft your answers in advance: Download to preview the survey

Instructions to help you complete the survey have been provided as part of the survey but are also available to download by clicking the link below: Download survey instructions

Wiltshire Link & Community Transport

Link Audit 2019

Community First is proud to support the 43 Link Schemes in Wiltshire and Swindon.

The Link Scheme was first introduced to support vulnerable and elderly people who are unable to access public or private transport. Link Schemes play a vital role in supporting people to remain active in their community and access a variety of support and services including medical care.

Between 2018-19, Link volunteers offered more than 138,000 hours of their time and travelled 831,450 miles to help keep local communities connected.

Volunteers use their own cars to provide the services for members of the public with duties ranging from: trips to the local shops, running lunch clubs, picking up prescriptions, visiting GP surgeries, shopping, offering door-to-door transport and supporting with tasks around the home. Tasks also include house and garden duties.

The service, based on an hourly rate for each individual volunteer, is worth over £1.7m in terms of economic value to Wiltshire and Swindon. What’s more, 2018-2019 saw an increase of 10% in new drivers for Link Schemes across the county.

Well done to all of the wonderful volunteers who support their local Link Schemes, this really is a crucial service for the county and a source of support, freedom and independence to thousands of people who would otherwise be isolated.

Download the 2018-2019 Link Scheme Audit

Volunteers Needed – Make a Difference in Your Community

Wiltshire Link LogoWiltshire’s Link schemes help to keep local communities connected to vital services, by connecting volunteer drivers (using their own cars), with passengers who have limited access to transport. Demand for this service is growing – we need more volunteers!

Led by the transport team at Community First a recruitment campaign re-launched in 2019 and already 28 new volunteers have signed up across Wiltshire. Each Link scheme group is led by an amazing group of volunteers. Amesbury Link were so grateful of the support commenting on the team’s efforts

“Thank you for all your hard work walking around Amesbury, we have got four more drivers working, two waiting to be signed up, two waiting till after Christmas and four more I am waiting for various things on. Thank you so much”

We are now recruiting in the Melksham area. Community First has developed a series of useful resources for Link Schemes who are looking to recruit new volunteers.

If you have any questions about the resources or you need support, please contact Sam Lloyd: slloyd@communityfirst.org.uk

Sam also supports Connect 2 Wiltshire, again we meet, listen and talk with local residents to try and identify what the area they live in has on offer for them, what they love about where they live and what they feel they would like more of. We try and connect people that are interested in similar activities to try and combat isolation and loneliness.

NEW Training Offer: MiDAS – the Minibus Driver Awareness Scheme

MiDAS – the Minibus Driver Awareness Scheme provides a nationally recognised standard for the assessment and training of minibus drivers and is offered to Wiltshire community groups.

Community First is proud to invest in the scheme which is designed to promote a safer operation of minibuses across the country.

Consisting of two elements: theory and practical – to organise MiDAS training for yourself or other drivers, you will first need to register as a member of the training scheme.Once complete, your certificate is valid for 4 years in which you will need to attend a refresher training session to renew your certificate.

Theory: Your MiDAS trainer will give you a presentation covering safe minibus driving and operation. This will be followed by a 30 minute multiple choice assessment consisting of 20 questions. Drivers will be required to answer at least 16 of these correctly to pass their MiDAS theory.

Practical: Each driver’s MiDAS Practical will last just over an hour. Assessment is 30 minutes and will include: A demonstration drive by your Driver Assessor/Trainer (DAT), an opportunity for you to familiarise yourself with the vehicle, the opportunity for you receive on road vehicle familiarisation and Driving Skills Training and an assessment of your Driving Skills.

More information on the training course, please contact Martin Carter mcarter@communityfirst.org.uk or call 01380 722475

Local Councils

WALC Training Delivers Specialist & Professional Support

Wiltshire Association of Local Councils (WALC) remains committed to meeting the needs of our members in 2020.  The team have delivered 6 training courses for local councils with 115 councillors and council officers attending.

  • 3 subject specific courses – Preparing for Year End and Audit, Chairing Skills and Neighbourhood Planning
  • 3 council training courses – going out to councils to provide training for councillors from individual councils or groups of councils.
  • 5 more council training sessions are planned before the end of March, as well as contribution to the Society of Local Council Clerks training day.

The success of the training delivered by WALC recognises that undertaking ongoing consultation with members on training needs for councillors and clerks is critical and feedback from clerks in attendance remains positive.

“I found the course really useful”

“A very good course today, thank you”

We are committed to meeting the needs of our members, responding and providing specialist and professional support services.

Community-Led Housing

New Community-Led Partnership Supports Increased Housing Supply in Wiltshire

In November 2019 Homes of Our Own launched. A partnership between Community First, Wiltshire Community Land Trust, Wiltshire Council, Swindon Borough Council which builds on the work of the Wiltshire Community Led Housing Partnership.  

homes of our own logoWe provide support to community groups within Wiltshire and Swindon to enable them to deliver alternative solutions to their community’s housing needs through affordable housing development providing defined community benefits that are protected in perpetuity. We also support community groups working in a developer-community partnership as well as facilitating the creation of relationships between Registered Providers of Affordable Housing and community groups where knowledge, experience and information can be shared for the benefit of the community.

Stronger and more resilient communities can be built through the provision of Affordable Housing and we support community groups to do this.

To find out more please email: homesofourown@communityfirst.org.uk

Find out how how Homes of Our Own can support you to deliver Community Led Housing in your local area in the launch issue of our Homes of our Own newsletter.


Oxenwood: Outdoor Education for All

In the first 3 months of our delivery of Oxenwood Outdoor Education Centre, which began on the 1st of October 2019, 9 residential outdoor education programmes & 17 day visits have been provided for school & youth groups.

Young people facing challenges in their lives, accessing our Targeted Youth Support Services; Splash, Wiltshire Young Carers Service & Project Inspire, have not only benefited from exciting outdoor education activities, delivered by our fantastic team, they have begun improving the site & our offer for future groups of young people.


Splash Programme Coordinator Takes on Legendary Marathon Course to Raise Vital Funds

Our fantastic Splash Programme Coordinator Dawn Whiting will be running 26.2 miles on 26th April 2020 when she embarks on the huge challenge that is The London Marathon 2020.

Dawn has been a member of the Youth Action Wiltshire team for 5 years and during that time has taken on several funding raising challenges to help raise much needed funds for Youth Action Wiltshire and the young people that we support.  On April 26th 2020 Dawn will take on the dream challenge that is The London Marathon with this year’s event being extra special as it is the 40th London marathon.

Dawn is training hard in all weathers, gradually increasing the mileage week on week.  Please support Dawn and help her to raise much needed funds towards our Young Carers, Splash, Project Inspire and Youth Club Support programmes.  All of our programmes provide Advocacy, Coaching, Youth Worker support, Positive Activities and training opportunities to encourage the development of confidence, self-esteem, social skills and to enable Young People to cope and recover from life’s ups and downs.

Please help Dawn to raise much needed funds to enable us to continue to meet the needs of Wiltshire’s Young people.

Donate and support Dawn today!

Coming Soon: Youth Action Wiltshire Impact Report

The team at Youth Action Wiltshire (YAW) have been hard at work creating a new impact report for Youth Action Wiltshire which demonstrates the enormous value of the service and the many ways it supports vulnerable young people across Wiltshire, including young carers and young people facing challenges in their lives.

The report, which covers activity across all of the YAW services from April 2017-December 2019, will soon be made available to view and download. Watch this space!

In the meantime please see below for some of the fantastic events on the Youth Action Wiltshire fundraising calendar for 2020.

YAW Fundraising Events

Join us at one of Youth Action Wiltshire’s annual fundraising events. These events provide a way to participate in fun activities while raising critical funds to support our programmes and services we provide for disadvantaged and vulnerable young people, voluntary youth clubs and young carers across Wiltshire.

Golf Day

15th May: This annual event provides a fantastic day of Golf in the gorgeous setting of North Wiltshire Golf Club. Teams of four are preferred however singles and pairs will be accommodated where possible. Lunch included. Please contact beccaworsley@gmail.com for more info or to book your place.

Annual Stampede Sports Cycle Event

9th August: A Half Century ride to raise funds for Youth Action Wiltshire taking riders on a scenic route around Salisbury Plain and the beautiful Avon Valley before returning to Devizes.

Quiz Night

19th June: Jane James & Associates Quiz Night at Chippenham Town Hall. More details to follow.

Garden Party

20th June – 6.30-8.30pm: An Artistic Evening in Simon Mounsey’s Garden, Lea, Near Malmesbury. More details to follow.

Carols by Candlelight

The bi-annual Youth Action Wiltshire carol service will again be held at Malmesbury Abbey. Please contact beccaworsley@gmail.com for more info or to request tickets.

Support YAW

Please keep an eye on the Youth Action Wiltshire calendar for more events. You can also support Youth Action Wiltshire and its services Splash, Wiltshire Young Carers, Project Inspire and Youth Clubs by making a donation. Every penny helps us to continue running these life changing services for young people in Wiltshire.


Building Bridges Programme Update

In 2019 we secured continuation funding for the Building Bridges programme until 2021. Our work continues to deliver fantastic results with individuals facing multiple, complex challenges and barriers to employment and education across Swindon and Wiltshire. Our partnership of over 40 organisations at the end of Quarter 4 2019 celebrated many achievements including 1,138 eligible participants, a year on year increase of 316.

The programme highlights for this quarter were:

  • 423 participants are currently being supported
  • Over half (57.2%) of participants have achieved a positive outcome
  • Positive feedback continues from a wide range of stakeholders on the benefits of our collaborative, cross-sector approach achieving holistic individual-focused outcomes.

For every £1 put into Building Bridges, the economic return is £1.70. This is participants moving into employment, NEET & at risk of NEET re-engaging with education (expected uplift in income from this) and volunteering undertaken by participants. Some of the topline demographic stats and support outcomes are highlighted in the graphic below:

Welcome New Keyworker Gayle

Please join us in welcoming new Building Bridges Keyworker Gayle Harper. Gayle has recently joined the Building Bridges Programme team and will be supporting a wide range of participants in Wiltshire. She will be utilising the facilities at Oxenwood to help her participants improve their employability and participate in group work.

Case Study

*Paul is from Salisbury, Wiltshire he signed up to Building Bridges and was assigned to a keyworker with Wiltshire Council Family Learning Team.

Can you tell us about your background and how you joined Building Bridges?

“Personally, I had a hard time and I was worried I wouldn’t be able to stay in the house I lived in with my Mum, who has recently passed away, but I wanted to get back into work. I started on Building Bridges working with a keyworker.”

What were your next steps and how do you feel Building Bridges helped in the process?

“The team supported me by attending job fairs with me and updating my CV, we then handed my CV to various employers in Salisbury. This resulted in me securing a job at my local home furnishing store, I am contracted for 16 hours a week but often work more than this, which is good as I am keeping busy.”

What would your advice be to others joining the project?

“Give it ago, the team can help you see what you need to do to progress. I am now able to leave the house, I am more confident in myself and have a routine. I am earning money and using this opportunity as a building block. I will continue to turn up on time, work hard and hopefully get noticed.”

*Not his real name


Landfill Communities Grant Awards £20,000

Community First continues to administer and support community projects across Wiltshire and Swindon through the Landfill Communities Fund (LCF), offering capital funding for local community, heritage and environmental projects in specific areas where local landfill operators sites or depots are located

Avebury Sports and Social Club Pavilion opened its new pavilion in September after receiving a grant of £20,000.  The opening event marked the end of a landmark year for the sports field enabling the club to develop their facilities and long-term plans.

Dominic Fry, Chairman of Avebury Sports and Social Club Pavilion commented:

My sincere thanks to Community First, and the Crapper & Sons team, for your amazing support for our project. It’s been an amazing year for the sports field in terms of the strides we’ve made in our facilities”

Bold Creative Services

Did you know Community First offer affordable creative design and marketing Services?

Our creative team has been hard at work on various website design and development projects over the last few months. This includes a new brand identity and website for Cricklade Development Foundation, as well as the design and illustration of ACRE’s 2019 annual publication. This is just a snapshot of the creative work that we have undertaken and 2020 looks set to be a busy year for the Bold team with new projects, websites and design briefs.

We launched Bold in 2017, a new creative design and marketing service, offering print and digital design, branding, website design and digital marketing at affordable rates. For more information download the brochure or email bold@communityfirst.org.uk.

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