TWENTY years after first being founded, Kandu Arts, based in Chippenham, continues to help hundreds of children and young people every year through its initiatives and schemes across Wiltshire and the country.

Created by Ed Deedigan, the charity aims to use films, music, art and food to help people who may be experiencing difficulties in their life as well as inspire the younger generation.

“It’s about using the power of the arts in a liberating way,” said the 52-year-old, who was born in Chippenham.

“My wife was working in prisons doing theatre and it was the arts that helped me as a teenager overcome my own particular challenges.

“So I wanted to create something that could do that for other people.

“We started from my kitchen after I moved out of London and came back up to Wiltshire and started it by working with local residents, schools and social services.

“We had to prove ourselves and more people heard about us by word of mouth.

“It has grown and grown and success breeds success.”

A number of projects have been created over the years including POWWOW, which was a residential project held at Lacock Abbey in 2005 and created an intensive training programme for young people from across the country who wished to develop their skills to work in the community sector.

Another project has seen Kandu work alongside organisations that support refugees in order to offer an artistic, cultural outlet to participants to help communicate their needs, as well as working with British communities, schools and individuals.

Kandu Kicks was also created in 2011 and uses football to engage at grass roots level and promote inclusion and is open to children as young as 12 years old.

A number of celebrities have also supported the company, including Spice Girl Melanie Chisholm who has released three singles to promote the work of Kandu Arts.

Mr Deedigan added: “We’re planning to do something big for next summer to mark 20 years.”