Volunteers in Devizes have received £20,000 to help continue essential support across the town.

The Devizes Constituency Community Fund was launched in the area after town MP Danny Kruger suggested they work together to raise funds for voluntary groups in his constituency.

The fund’s first recipient is Love Devizes, formed during the first lockdownto permanently harness the enthusiasm among volunteers who stepped forward to help people.

Rev Keith Brindle, vicar of St James Church and one of the group’s founders, said at its peak during the first lockdown it had 400 volunteers, but now that it now has around 80 regulars on its books. The grant will fund a part time community co-ordinator, a cloud-based call system and rent for its base at the St James Centre.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: The Love Devizes group

The group is continuing to support people living on their own or who are struggling, and has a vision of becoming a volunteer resource for other organisations in the town.

“We are going from being a solely reactive charity to one that is looking at providing activities, initiatives and projects that people with similar interests can buy into,” Mr Brindle said.

“We have identified 10 charities, such as Devizes Open Doors, and Devizes and District Foodbank, that we know are of real value to the community and we are going to trial working closely with them to offer them this volunteer resource.”

Jonathan Hunter, the group’s volunteer co-ordinator, hopes to work with the likes of Devizes Outdoor Celebratory Arts to supply volunteer help for events.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:

He said the pandemic has awakened a taste for volunteering among people and helped identify people in the community who need help.

“I think these people were always around before the pandemic but there wasn’t a collective emergency to shine a light on their need. All of a sudden people came forward because they had permission to ask for help because the whole world was in the same kind of situation.”

Rupert Stephenson, one of the founders of the Devizes Constituency Association, said: “We really want to support as many good causes within the constituency area as possible and we are delighted that Love Devizes is the first recipient."

To support the Devizes Constituency Community Fund, go to localgiving.org/appeal/DCCFund/