MORE than £125,000 has been given to voluntary groups tackling the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic by Wiltshire Community Foundation.

Its Wiltshire and Swindon Coronavirus Response Fund has raised more than £260,000 in less than three weeks.

The money has been given by the public, charity trusts, private donors and by the National Emergencies Trust, which is distributing its £25 million Coronavirus Fund through the UK’s 46 community foundations.

In Wiltshire, the community foundation has already awarded more than 30 groups with money to tackle hunger, isolation, mental health support and home education.

Among the latest recipients of grants is the Devizes and District Foodbank, which has been given £3,250 to fund extra hours for overworked staff.

Chairman of trustees Jasper Selwyn said the foodbank, based at Devizes Community Hospital, has seen demand double and donations increase as well as volunteer numbers fall because of self-isolation.

He said: “That has put a lot of pressure on our paid staff because they are both part-time working 12 hours a week and both have been rushed off their feet.

"Their hours have doubled, and we wanted to pay them for that. We don’t have the funds, but the community foundation has given us the money, which is brilliant.”

The Devizes Covid-19 Response group, which is co-ordinating 260 volunteers delivering food and collecting prescriptions for vulnerable people, has been given £3,000 to fund some staffing, IT support and food.

Trustee Keith Brindle said the grant has been essential. “The money is being used to enable us to deliver support for vulnerable people in Devizes. In the three weeks since we’ve been going, we’ve had well over 1,000 calls through to the call centre in the Town Hall for food deliveries, medication and essential errands and the grant we’ve had from Wiltshire Community Foundation has enabled that to happen.”

A similar group in Royal Wootton Bassett has been given £2,500.

The Wiltshire Bobby Van Trust, which works closely with Wiltshire Police, has been given £5,000 while Help Counselling in Trowbridge received £1,500.

Wiltshire Community Foundation interim co-chief executive Fiona Oliver said: “We continue to be inspired, but not surprised, by the generosity of people in Wiltshire and Swindon. The money that’s been donated is helping groups make an enormous difference in their communities, but we know that need is still growing and is likely to do so for some time.”

To apply for a grant or donate to the Wiltshire and Swindon Coronavirus Response Fund go to