BOTH Hop, Skip and Jump and DASH were offered a lifeline on Friday when fundraising body Swindon Cares announced they would both benefit from grants during the next two years.

After it was established in 2003, Swindon Cares has managed to raise nearly £216,000 to support charitable, community and voluntary organisations across the town as it aims to engage and support various groups and individuals.

Its committee includes the Rotary Clubs in Swindon, Swindon Advertiser, GWE Business West, Arval, Zurich, Bluefin, BBC Wiltshire, Swindon Borough Council, The Pear Tree at Purton, De Vere Venues, and Arkells Brewery, all of which aim to work together to provide much-valued support to local organisations.

Friday marked the launch of Swindon Cares’ 2015 year, where it announced that for the next two years it will raise money specifically for children’s charity Hop, Skip and Jump and autistic spectrum charity DASH.

Peter Ethelston, chairman of the board of trustees for DASH (Discovering Autistic Spectrum Happiness), which works to improve the quality of life of adults of working age with Asperger’s and other high-functioning autistic spectrum conditions living in Swindon, said being one of Swindon Cares’ charities would prove a welcome boost to their income.

“We are over the moon,” he said. “It really is a lifeline for us.

“We have an enormously energetic trustee by the name of Anne Billingham, who is always applying for grants and trying to find out places where we can get more support for the charity.

“We really, really do struggle with funding.

“We are quite a small operation and it can be difficult to raise awareness.

“A lot of the money we also get is also specifically for projects, which is another reason why we are so pleased we’re one of Swindon Cares’ charities because it is not, and we can use it to help fund the day-to-day operations of the charity.”

The news was also welcomed by Hop, Skip and Jump, which provides flexible and immediate respite care for children and young adults in the south west.

Terry Radcliffe, Swindon lead playworker for Hop, Skip and Jump, said: “It’s brilliant that we’re lucky enough to be offered this funding for the next two years, which will help us enormously to continue to deliver the work we do.

“Anything we get, whether it’s £1 or £10, goes a long way to helping us deliver our support and services.

“I just want to say a big thank you to Swindon Cares for making us one of their charities.”

The High Sheriff of Wiltshire, Lady Gooch, was among the dignitaries in attendance at the launch on Friday lunchtime.

She said: “I have to say I’m very excited about these charities, which Swindon Cares is supporting this year.

“I am always amazed to hear about all the work they do and I’m looking forward to visiting them and finding out more about them.”

For more information about Hop, Skip and Jump, visit For more about DASH, visit

To find out more about Swindon Cares and the work it does and how you can get involved visit