A FUND set up to support groups and charities that promote healthy, strong communities has given more than £35,000 to Wiltshire projects.

Wiltshire Council set up the Public Health and Wellbeing Fund to award grants to groups which help improve physical and mental health.

In the first round of funding, money has been given to projects including creative arts activities for older patients at Salisbury District Hospital, a good neighbour scheme and a charity that promotes independent living.

The £35,400 in grants were administered by The Community Foundation, which supports local groups and charities throughout Wiltshire.

Rosemary Macdonald, chief executive of the foundation, said: “There is more need than ever before for projects like this, because of the extreme social isolation that older people are facing.”

Other groups to receive funding in the latest round were Relate, Wiltshire Mind, Splash and Homestart.Applications are now invited for the next round of grants, which will be awarded in July.

Groups applying must not already be in receipt of core funding from Wiltshire Council, the annual income must not exceed £50,000 and it must be a local organisation.

Funding is available for one year only and the maximum grant is £4,000, with match funding not required. For more information, visit wscf.org.uk.