A community centre on wheels has been crowned Wiltshire’s Community Group of the Year, but it needs funding to survive.

A converted double decker bus has been providing a gathering place in isolated areas around Chippenham for ten years. Now organisers are struggling to find the £60,000 a year needed to keep it on the road.

The Open Blue Trust, staffed by volunteers from Dayspring Church, which meets in Derry Hill, received the accolade at the Wiltshire Life Magazine awards ceremony in Marlborough Town Hall last week.

The blue double-decker allows people of all ages and families to meet together and have a cup of tea and a chat.

It provides access to the internet and has held a successful ‘one pot’ cookery course for parents who want to cook simple, cheap and healthy meals for their families.

Andy Weeds, 53, director of Open Blue, said: “For places that don’t have a community centre, our bus becomes it for the afternoon. Transport is an issue in rural Wiltshire, so we bring this vital service to the people.

“Being named the best community group in Wiltshire is fantastic recognition for all the hard work put in by the volunteers.

“It’s a real boost to our confidence, particularly as the current financial climate has made it increasingly difficult for charities like Open Blue to raise money.

“We are running on reserves. We have some funding from the church, but it’s not enough to keep us going.

“We’ve just had some from GreenSquare housing, but we still need more. If anyone knows of any sources of funding, please let us know.”

To help, visit www.openblue.org.uk or call (01249) 819434.