The Duchess of Cornwall praised volunteers who have helped to double the amount of services provided by the Rise Trust during a royal visit today.

Camilla visited the Rise Children’s Centre, located next to St Paul’s Primary School, which is one of three facilities operated by the Rise Trust in Chippenham.

The centre, which opened five years ago, is a one stop shop for children and their families offering parenting and family support, healthy eating advice and links to training and job opportunities.

Camilla was greeted at the door by dignitaries including Sarah Rose Troughton, Lord-Lieutenant for Wiltshire, Christine Crisp, Chairman of Wiltshire Council and Chippenham mayor Andy Phillips.
During her visit she met volunteers, as well as representatives from the Chippenham Time Network which runs a rewards system for those who give up their time to help for free.

For every hour a person spends volunteering they earn a time credit giving them an equivalent hour’s free attendance at a local class or leisure activity.

Volunteers Kim Kirkwood and Ashley Higginson were both presented with time credits by the duchess who asked them about their work.

Mr Higginson helps out with a group called Little Builders on Wednesday and has two children, Joshua age 11 and Hallie-Jane age nine, who also come to the centre.

He decided to support The Rise Trust after they helped him during a family bereavement.

Mr Higginson, from Oaklands, said: “I had a family bereavement three years ago next March. What they did helping out with the funeral arrangements, picking up the children after school and entertaining them was an enormous help.

“Anything that can help this organisation to carry on getting the funding they get and with any luck get some more is good.

“Camilla was very easy to talk to, I think she’s very supportive of it and very generous to give her time up to see volunteers.”

The Duchess of Cornwall visited the centre’s new sensory garden, which was built by staff from office furniture company Herman Miller, last year.

She also sat down to speak to organisations working with Wiltshire Money to give financial advice, including Vicky Stretton from North Wiltshire Credit Union qnd Jo Sutton from Wiltshire Citizen’s Advice.
As Camilla left the building she was presented with a pink posy by Chole Palmer-White, age 10, and children from the centre waited outside to wave Union Jacks.

Pauline Monaghan, CEO of The Rise Trust, said the Duchess of Cornwall’s visit recognised the importance of the centre’s work and the importance of its volunteers.

“Volunteering is a really important part of the rise trust because they allow us to double the amount of services we provide. It’s a wonderful opportunity to show off the quality of the work out volunteers do.

“We have over 100 people registered to volunteer with us. Most of the people who volunteer with us have been clients and service users and they have wanted to give something back.
“We’re trying to re-build local neighbourhoods and local communities by having people living in their local areas who can help one another and care for one another.”