Community Champions

Celebrating charity work and good deeds in the Wiltshire and Swindon business community.

Business Against Poverty names Triangle Design its member of the year

Written by Peter Davison.

Jim Parry and Jules English of Triangle Design with Val and Bill Huxley of Business Against PovertyTriangle Design has been named member of the year by Wiltshire charity Business Against Poverty.

Business against Poverty is a business enterprise that drives profitable, ethical and sustainable growth for the benefit of its members and society.

Its funds drive the humanitarian work of the charity People Against Poverty.

Triangle Design has worked on the design and marketing for both the Educating 80 and Project 40 initiatives, and provided ongoing sponsorship of an impoverished family, including sponsoring the erection of a sanctuary home in which to home them.

The business has committed to giving one percent of its turnover to helping people in need, and Business Against Poverty receives 25 percent of this sum.

"Through their work we see a real insight into the effectiveness of our contribution. This is good for our whole team – they actually see the real faces of the people they are helping and can track their progress," said manager Jules English.

"Jim and I have always wanted to use our influence through our business to help others in less fortunate position.

"All of us at Triangle are so fortunate to live and work here in the UK and although we all have our own challenges at times – it is nothing to what I witnessed when I went out to Romania to see the People Against Poverty projects."

Excalibur staff raise £10,000 for air ambulance appeal

Written by Peter Davison.

Peter Boucher presents Wiltshire Air Ambulance critical care paramedic Louise Cox with £10,000Staff at Swindon-based telecoms and IT solutions service provider Excalibur Communications have raised over £10,000 for the Wiltshire Air Ambulance Airbase Appeal.

As a member of the WAA 100 Club, Excalibur is one of the first local companies to have achieved its £10,000 pledge.

Excalibur staff chose the air ambulance appeal as their charity of the year for 2017. Fundraising activities included four colleagues walking to work – from Croesyceiliog in Wales to Swindon: a total pf 75 miles; Dragon Boat racing on Coate Water park; a 2.5km length swimathon; an outdoor sleepover; a bake off and custard pie flinging; a pyjama day at HQ; and, most recently, a 30 strong team took part in the Swindon Santa Run.

Excalibur CEO, Peter Boucher said: "The Wiltshire Air Ambulance Service is an essential local emergency service and saves lives.

"Our staff felt very strongly that we should be involved with the 100 Club campaign. Colleagues made extraordinary efforts, challenging and fun in equal measure, to meet our £10,000 target.

"This success continues Excalibur’s tradition of staff engagement and enthusiasm in raising money for local charities.”

The WAA Airbase Appeal aims to raise £1.25 million in order to finish and equip its custom-built, new home in Semington, near Melksham. Each member of the 100 Club pledges to raise £10,000 for the Airbase Appeal.

David Philpott, WAA Chief Executive, said: “Wiltshire Air Ambulance thanks Excalibur and its staff for raising such a significant amount of money for our new airbase. As a founder member of the 100 Club,

"Excalibur have played a key role through their fundraising to enable us, with our custom-built airbase which is due to be operational by next summer, to save many more lives in the future.

"The 100 Club has proven to be a great initiative for us in getting local businesses together and involved with our Airbase Appeal.”

Props to Hills – sponsor of Westbury rugby festival

Written by Peter Davison.

Pictured in the back row – third and fourth from left – are Paul Scrivens, Hills’ Northacre MBT plant manager and Ed Dodd, divisional director with officials and players from the men’s and ladies’ teams at Westbury RFCA rugby tournament that will see teams from across the South West clash at Westbury Rugby Club is to be sponsored by Hills.

The waste and recycling firm operates Wiltshire's only mechanical and biological treatment plant – turning 60,000 tonnes of household waste a year into fuel for use in renewable energy plants – not far from the club.

The 10-a-side rugby tournament will be held from May 25 to 28, with men's teams playing on the Saturday and women's teams on the Sunday.

Gareth Vaughan, Westbury RFC Chairman, said: “We were looking for one major sponsor for this event and are grateful to Hills for getting on board with us.

"The funding will make it possible for us to create a great atmosphere and a tournament that will be one to remember. We hope that this will become an annual event at Westbury RFC.”

Ed Dodd, group director Hills Waste Solutions, said: “This is the first 10-a-side tournament to be hosted by Westbury RFC, and as a local business we were keen to support them.

"We look forward to presenting The Hills Cup to the overall winners on 28 May.”

Festive fun raises funds for foodbank

Written by Peter Davison.

Business Villagers support Swindon FoodbankFood, festive fun, business and breakfast were the order of the day for a networking group which used its last meeting of 2017 to support Swindon Foodbank.

Attendees at Swindon Business Village, which meets on Thursdays for breakfast, took along donations for the foodbank and heard a presentation about its work by manager Cher Smith.

Christmas party clothes were worn and cracker jokes shared, as the Business Villagers brought a bit of festive fun to the occasion.

Coach Shirley Hensher, who runs The Change Agent and chaired the meeting, said: “The Business Village is a really supportive group of local business people who care about the local community.

"We were all impressed by the commitment of Cher and her team to helping people who find themselves in crisis, and very glad to be able to contribute to their vital work ”

Swindon Business Village meets each Thursday for breakfast and networking at The Campanile Hotel, on the Delta Business Park, from 7.30-9am. The next meeting is on January 4, and booking is via

The events are a mix of presentations, referrals and business problem-solving. There is no membership fee, and each meeting costs £9 or £10 when booked in advance, or £12 on the day.

Law firm picks Mind as charity of the year

Written by Peter Davison.

Catherine Howell (FSM), Carolyn Beale (Wiltshire Mind), Rachel Saunders (FSM), Rhiannon Eveleigh (FSM), and Amanda Avenell (FSM)Mental health charity Wiltshire Mind has been chosen by staff at Forrester Sylvester Mackett Solicitors as their charity of the year.

Throughout 2018, the law firm will run a number of fundraising events, including dress-down days, cake sales, and one-off events like a summer quiz.

Established in 1993, Wiltshire Mind runs support groups, counselling, mental health awareness training, a telephone service and a charity shop.

Rhiannon Eveleigh, marketing manager for Forrester Sylvester Mackett, said: “Our staff generally vote with their heart for the charity of the year, so this nomination demonstrates that mental health issues affect so many people.

"We are delighted to be supporting a charity so local to us, which is doing such important work in the community.”

Carolyn Beale, chief executive of Wiltshire Mind, said: “All of us at Wiltshire Mind are delighted that we have been selected as Forrester Sylvester Mackett’s 2018 charity of the year.

"We are a small, local and totally unfunded charity, so a business such as this choosing to support us really does make a huge difference.

"We cannot continue to give Wiltshire residents the support we currently offer without the financial backing of local businesses.”

Beard’s Christmas sleigh-pull tops off its year of fundraising

Written by Peter Davison.

Beard staff on the sleigh-pullEmployees from Swindon-based Beard took to the streets to top off their efforts to raise £15,000 for charity in their 125th year of business.

A variety of other events have taken place throughout the year, but their fancy dress sleigh-pull was probably the most eye-catching of them all.

Starting at Greenbridge Retail Park, 17 seasonally-attired Beard employees took to the streets and carried out a sleigh-pull along the Shrivenham Road, past the County Ground, before ending at the Great Western Outlet Village.

The two local charities set to benefit from the sleigh-pulling fundraising campaign are Brighter Futures Radiotherapy Appeal at Great Western Hospital, and Discovering Autistic Spectrum Happiness (DASH), which supports adults in Swindon with Asperger’s and autism.

Beard’s fundraising drive comes as part of a company-wide effort to raise £125,000 for charity, in celebration of the family firm’s 125th business anniversary this year.

Marc Bayley, regional director at Beard, said: “This event was a fun and unusual way for our Swindon team to raise money to help these two important local charities and the great work that they do in our community.

"We’re delighted our sleigh-pull efforts were able to bring a little bit of Christmas cheer.”

Members of the community can donate to DASH and Brighter Futures Radiotherapy Appeal at


Swindon's carers choir brings festive mood to car dealership

Written by Peter Davison.

Pebley Beach MD Dominic Threlfall with the Swindon Carers ChoirA choir formed by unpaid carers in Swindon officially launched Christmas at motor dealership Pebley Beach this week.

Back in the summer, the Hyundai and Suzuki dealer pledged to match every pound raised by Swindon Carers Centre’s Walk A Mile In My Shoes sponsored walk up to £1,000.

Not only did their pledge spur on supporters to hit their £1,000 total, they exceeded it – raising almost £2,000. With Pebley Beach’s donation, the campaign total was just under £3,000.

And to say thank you, seven of the 14-strong Swindon Carers Choir performed a selection of carols and Christmas songs at the showroom on Tuesday (December 12).

Their repertoire included Let it Go, from Disney's Frozen, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, Jingle Bell Rock, Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!, and Rocking Around the Christmas Tree, which was filmed for the occasion.

The choir represents some of the 4,000 unpaid carers, whose ages range from between five and 96, who are supported by the charity.

Typically, the carers are looking after a spouse or family member. Younger carers, of whom there are around 900 in the borough, are often supporting a parent.

The weekly choir rehearsals provide a break from caring, and a platform for mutual support. The choir – which was formed a year ago – performs around Swindon, raising awareness of the charity.

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