A SOCIAL group is seeking for help from the public as it looks to secure its future after lockdown.

Alice Bennett moved to Swindon in 2014 on a short-term employment contract before landing a job as a junior project manager at Nationwide.

The 27-year-old was struggling to meet people of a similar age and decided to launch the Swindon 18-30 Professionals group in 2015.

It has gone from strength to strength over the years and now boasts almost 400 active members.

But the ongoing coronavirus crisis means Alice is at risk of losing her only source of funding.

She said: “If we don’t get the money there’s a real chance we’ll have to shut down, denying an important community organisation to the young residents who need it most.

“When this all ends Swindon will desperately need this type of community to combat mental illness and support wellbeing. I also want people to be made aware of this organisation.”

The group has been organising various events at the Royal Oak in Old Town, including the first Swindon speed friending in July.

“We have a leadership team organising events from casual drinks to trips out and even black-tie balls.

“The aim being to encourage people to make meaningful connections beyond digital screens.

“We’ve seen multiple engagements and even several marriages as a result of the interactions made at events and we have developed a strong ethos of inclusivity for young people.”

Alice needs to raise £260 to cover basic operational costs, including the maintenance fee for the website.

“Anything over this, we will keep in reserve as there are concerns that we might lose our current sponsor entirely if they can’t open up or, due to social distancing, they have to limit the number of patrons,” she said.

“It will also either go towards covering the cost of the next website subscription charge or into an event celebrating Swindon’s young professional community.”

Alice added: “We have looked into online and Zoom calls. But the challenge we face is that our traditional events tend to be all around human interactions.

“We’ve found video calls do not receive the same level of engagement and those suffering with mental health conditions, such as anxiety, find the calls intimidating. “

The group has raised nearly £400 so far.

To donate and support the group visit gogetfunding.com/protect-swindon-18-30-professionals/

The group can be found on Meetup or at facebook.com/swindonprofessionals