MANY voluntary and community groups in the forest are missing out on free help and advice, says the council for voluntary service for the area.

Since April last year Community First New Forest has supported more than 150 voluntary and community groups. But the group believes there are many more unaware of the help available.

Voluntary and community service manager Jackie Hartless said: “The services we offer can really make a difference to voluntary and community groups.

“With our wealth of information and experience we can always point you in the right direction if we cannot help you ourselves.”

Examples of help Community First has offered include sourcing funding, assistance with grant applications, undertaking DSB checks and giving advice on how to set up a local group and support in recruiting and training volunteers.

All its services are free or low cost. To join Community First New Forest contact 01425 482773 or go to