HEALS of Malmesbury is celebrating its biggest ever summer programme for disadvantaged local young people.

Some 35 young people took p‎art in 14 free outdoor activities during the summer holiday.

"Organising the HEALS Summer Programme is always a challenge, said chair of Trustees Gavin Grant.

"But putting together and organising a Covid-19 safe programme for a large number of disadvantaged young people at very short notice ‎has been our greatest challenge ever, including finding the money to fund the various activities.

“We are delighted so many young people and their families have benefited from our work.”

Trustees and volunteers were present throughout the programme alongside parents to ensure that hand sanitiser was being used and appropriate social distancing maintained throughout the events.

“A huge thank you to the Warden and Freemen of Malmesbury and the Malmesbury Area Board of Wiltshire Council for their generous financial support," Cllr Grant said.

"We are also grateful to Creed Foodservice for donating picnic food."

The August Bank Holiday weekend saw another HEALS landmark achieved with over 4,500 free meals having been delivered since lockdown.

The emergency Meals on Wheels programme came to a close as schools returned.

Mayor of Malmesbury, Cllr Campbell Ritchie joined Cllr Gavin Grant, Trustees Karen Franklin, Liz Cook and Richard Dodridge outside the Red Bull Inn to thank pub owners Nicola and Dave Moody and some of the 30 volunteers, several of whom have worked throughout the 24 weeks of the meals programme, getting meals to 158 people at the peak of the crisis.

A certificate of commendation was presented‎ to the Nicola and Dave Moody to mark the significant contribution they had made.

HEALS welfare work continues, with applications still coming into the Emergency Hardship Fund‎ and unwanted laptops collected, upgraded and distributed.

Malmesbury's two Co-ops have acted as laptop collection locations.

Both stores have also made significant donations to a total of £750 to help fund this important work.

"We are very grateful to both Malmesbury Co-op stores for their generous donations and practical‎ help getting working computers into the homes of people that really need them," added Cllr Grant.