Community First Wiltshire is to be honoured with a visit from Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall this month as part of its 50th birthday celebrations.
The Duchess of Cornwall, who is Patron of Community First, will visit the charity’s new offices in Hopton Park, Devizes on Tuesday 24th February.
The Duchess will officially open the new offices and also launch the 50th anniversary campaign, which will last throughout 2015. She will also meet with the Mayor of Devizes, Cllr Sarah Bridewell, with Community First Chief Executive Philippa Read and with sponsors, staff and supporters of the organisation.
“We are delighted and thrilled that the Duchess of Cornwall is going to open our new offices and highlight our 50th anniversary campaign in this way,” said Philippa. “We are grateful that she is able to take time out of her busy schedule to visit us again and that she remains such an active supporter of our organisation.
“In the 50th year since our formation we will engage in a range of activities around the theme of 50, including a 50-mile charity walk around Wiltshire that I’ll be doing in May. We are also hoping to recruit and train 50 new volunteers and to launch a new fundraising pack for local charities and interest groups. We have just unveiled our 50th anniversary logo, which was designed by a young carer from Wiltshire. 2015 will be a very busy year for us and we are delighted that we will be able to launch the start of the official celebrations with such a high profile visit.”
Also included in the celebrations will be 50 trees planted in association with the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust in October, a Youth Action Wiltshire Golf Day, Garden Party and awards event between May and August, and 50 community lunches in the autumn. There will also be a gala dinner in November and local community groups will be encouraged to organise more events around the ‘50’ theme.
Background to Community First Community First Wiltshire began as a Rural Community Council (RCC) in 1965 as part of a post-war scheme to support rural communities. The scheme later expanded to include village halls, young people, health services, further education, countryside preservation, Parish Councils, rural industries, old people’s welfare, local history societies and care for people with learning and physical disabilities.
Formerly named the Community Council for Wiltshire (CCW), it began life with a staff of four. By 1975 CCW had grown to 10 staff and its work portfolio had grown to include help in establishing the Wiltshire Pre-School Learning Alliance, the Wiltshire Family History Association, the Wiltshire Natural History Forum and the Wiltshire Folk Life Society.
As a result of its expanding work and to reflect closer working relationships with local communities and organisations across the county, in 1996 CCW decided to refocus its community services and to re-launch the organisation as Community First. Today it has a professional team of over 60 staff.
Community First is a registered charity and a private company limited by guarantee. With the aim of strengthening communities, growing communities and tackling disadvantage across Wiltshire and Swindon, it provides technical advice, practical support and grant aid to promote local initiatives. Community First also manages countywide programmes bringing benefits to local people, informing and influencing policy makers in the development of rural policies and practices. Community First is at Unit C2, Beacon Business Centre, Hopton Park, Devizes, SN10 2EY; telephone 01380 732821.www.communityfirst.org.uk