Community Champions

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

Professional services firm has charity clay shoot in its sights

Written by Peter Davison.

TWIGS - The Path of Life Garden


Professional services company Optimum is on target to help a mental health charity by sponsoring its annual clay shoot.

The event, which takes place at Swindon's Barbury Shooting School on September 26, is in aid of TWIGS, the community garden project in the town, which supports people with mental health and addiction problems and also those with dementia.

Swindon-based Optimum, which offers accountancy and legal services – including conveyancing, wills and probate – will be entering two teams as well as sponsoring the event and is inviting others to sign up.

Individuals and teams of four are welcome, at a cost of £120 per person. Included are bacon rolls, guns, cartridges, buffet lunch and a helping hand for novices. The event runs from 9am to 2pm.

Richard Mathews, CEO at Optimum, said: "TWIGS does some great work in supporting people with mental health and addiction issues, through its community gardens scheme in Cheney Manor and we are delighted to sponsor this event."

Chris Loveday, fundraiser with TWIGS, said: "We're delighted that Optimum are able to sponsor this annual event. It's now in its eighth year and generally raises about £6,000 for TWIGS. We are currently building the dementia programme we run, which now supports five people with dementia and more will be joining. The funds will help us to develop this as well as the other services we offer."

For more information about the TWIGS clay shoot, email Peter Barefoot at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Wealth managers swell Air Ambulance coffers

Written by Peter Davison.

Wealth managers from Brewin Dolphin have helped swell the coffers of the Wiltshire Air Ambulance Appeal by nearly £5,000.

The Marlborough-based firm held a garden party at Cadenham Manor, near Chippenham, the home of Martin and Victoria Nye.

Guests heard a talk by garden designer Paul Hervey-Brookes, who created this and last year's Brewin Dolphin garden at RHS Chatsworth Flower Show.

"We enjoyed meeting Paul and hearing his story on the road to becoming an award-winning designer and RHS judge," said Brewin Dolphin's divisional director Myles Palmer.

"We are thrilled that through the generosity of our guests, we raised £4,740 for Wiltshire Air Ambulance."

Staff raise funds in memory of colleague

Written by Peter Davison.

UTax takes a swing at cancer

Staff at a document management specialist have raised more than £1,000 for a blood cancer research charity in memory of a colleague who died from the condition.

UTAX (UK) Raised £1,100 for Bloodwise at their annual golf and partner day.

The event, organised by Rhodium Events & Hospitality, was held at Hanbury Manor Marriott Hotel & Country Club.

Shaun Wilkinson, managing director of UTAX (UK) said: "“We continue to focus our efforts on raising money for Bloodwise as the official UTAX (UK) charity.

"This is a charity close to the hearts of all at UTAX (UK) as a result of sadly losing our beloved colleague Tracy Lawrance in 2014.

"We would like to formally take the opportunity to thank all those who participated and assisted in raising an amazing £1,100 for this great cause.

"Our annual golf day is an opportunity to thank our partners for their valued and loyal support. It also gives me and my team an important opportunity to network with them and to discuss our products and solutions and in turn for them to meet each other and exchange their news, views and ideas for continued growth.”

Claire Horrex, regional manager South West for Bloodwise, said: “I’d like to thank everyone at UTAX and their clients for all their support of Bloodwise at their recent partner golf day held in memory of their colleague Tracy.

"They’ve raised a fantastic amount and this will go directly towards helping patients with blood cancer and their families.

"Bloodwise could not continue to do the work that we do without the support of people like UTAX, thank you for all your hard work at organising such a successful fundraising day.”

Wiltshire firms back UK-long run

Written by Peter Davison.

The Mighty TitansWiltshire firms have thrown their weight behind a non-stop fundraising run across the entire length of the country.

Departing from Land's End on Saturday (July 28), 15 Mighty Titans from New Era Fitness in Melksham are running in non-stop relay, in a bid to reach John O’Groats by Saturday, 4 August.

The team will cover roughly 1,000 miles between them.

The runners aim to raise £10,000 for mental health charity Wiltshire Mind. Members of the public can donate at

Stuart Pearce, the MD of sponsor SMARTech energy, said: ""We are extremely pleased to be supporting this challenge and excellent cause; playing our part in changing the way we talk about mental health and improving the lives of those in our local community."

Octogenarian trains as Swindon radio DJ

Written by Louisa Davison.

Swindon 105.5 OAP traineesAn octogenarian is one of a new breed of DJs, thanks to a grant from a leading Swindon care-at-home provider.

Peter Armstrong, 84, is one of the first of the OAP trainees at Swindon 105.5 community radio. "One is never too late to learn new things," he said. "I'm really looking forward to new challenges."

Swindon 105.5 received £250 from Bluebird Care, one of a raft of grants aimed at helping organisations which support older people. Station manager Shirley Ludford said the money would be used to give older people access to broadcasting.

"I am delighted to receive this grant from Bluebird Care Swindon," she said. "Such a show of support is a great endorsement of our unique service to Swindon. We are a totally inclusive and accessible radio station and this grant is dedicated to a programme giving a voice to older people, with full training in interviewing, recording, editing and broadcasting."

Ben Curtis, Bluebird Care Swindon Managing Director, said it was important to help the local community in which Bluebird Care Swindon and its team of carers work.

"We were particularly pleased to be able to support Swindon 105.5, which is an excellent local radio station and we know is listened to by many of our customers as well as our staff," he said. "It is the sort of organisation which really helps bring communities together, which is very much part of the ethos here at Bluebird Care Swindon."


Sponsorship is a stroke of genius for Swindon social media company

Written by Peter Davison.

Yola O'HaraSwindon social media and graphic design company Visually Explained has been confirmed as the latest sponsor of The Victory Swim, the family-friendly open water swim that will raise funds for charity that support soldiers and their families.

The event will take place on Thursday, September 6, and will raise money for The Felix Fund - which supports the UK's bomb disposal experts and the wider EOD (explosive ordnance disposal) community and their families.

Yola O’Hara, founder and director of digital agency Visually Explained said: "It's vital - not just for us as a business but for everyone involved - to support activities such as The Victory Swim and keep the great work of our soldiers at the top of our minds. We're pleased to be able to contribute to such a fantastic cause and we look forward to the event.”

The Victory Swim is being organised in aid of the Felix Fund - a charity that supports the soldiers of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) regiment, the EOD community and their families.

The Victory Swim will offer something for everyone and will take place on Thursday 6 September 2018 at Waterland Outdoor Pursuits, Lake 32 Cotswold Water Park near Cirencester, Gloucestershire.

Entry costs are just £20 and entrants will have the opportunity to swim 400m, 700m, 1500m or more, if they’re up for a challenge.

And The Victory Swim will take place again in 2019 with a challenge to remember – swimmers at a more advanced level will have a chance to swim the English channel, either in a relay or solo. The Royal Navy will provide support boats for this event. The event will take part in September 2019 and will be weather dependent.

The channel swim will cost just £500. Applicants in both instances will raise money and awareness for EOD troops who undertake dangerous and selfless work across the globe.

Captain James Wadsworth CGC, founder of The Victory Swim, said: "I'm grateful to Visually Explained for their generous support for this year's swim, on what promises to be a fantastic occasion that will raise both money for and awareness of a great cause.

Accountancy firm counts up another successful year of fundraising (2)

Written by Peter Davison.

Staff at the Swindon office of chartered accountancy firm MHA Monahans have celebrated another successful year of fundraising by presenting cheques to their four 2017/2018 charities: Prospect Hospice, Macmillan, the Dove Specialist Cancer Unit at the Great Western Hospital, and The Anthony Nolan Trust.

Every year, each MHA Monahans office selects a local charity to raise money for, through a variety of different activities such as quizzes, bake sales and dress-down days, and the Swindon office has raised a total of £5,000 which will be split between the charities.

The cheque presentation coincided with MHA Monahans’ Swindon quiz, where teams from the firm’s Swindon, Bath and Chippenham offices went head to head in a battle of brains.

The office’s new charity for 2018/2019 was also announced as Brighter Futures, the charity for Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Staff will be raising money for two of the charity’s appeals – the Radiotherapy Appeal which is raising £2.9 million to build a new radiotherapy satellite centre; and the Special Care Baby Unit Incubator Appeal to raise £175,000 to purchase five state-of-the-art neonatal incubators.

These incubators will help to deliver care over and above the existing NHS budget by creating a seamless, healing micro environment for the 450 babies born at GWH who each year need additional support in the first few days and weeks of their life, often weighing less than a bag of sugar and small enough to fit into the palm of your hand.

Craig Hatherall, business services manager at MHA Monahans, in Trowbridge and Holly Ayton, business services manager in Swindon, organise social and charitable activities in Swindon.

However, this was their last year before handing over to Leanne Anderson. Craig said: “Every year the office chooses charities that are close to our hearts. Last year MHA Monahans chose cancer-related charities as the whole office was touched by the disease and we’re proud to have been able to raise this money and give something back to charities which make such a big difference to people’s lives.

“This year we’ve chosen Brighter Futures and all money raised this year will be split between Brighter Future’s radiotherapy appeal and Special Care Baby Unit.”

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