THE town’s leading volunteer network has been given a special present to celebrate its 10th birthday.

Involve Swindon was presented with the Big Society Award which recognises the work it has done to help the community.

The organisation works with local employers to get their staff to give up some of their time to help work on local projects.

On Tuesday, the Minister for Civil Society Brooks Newmark presented them with the award for all their efforts, which has seen more than 3,500 local workers carry out work for Swindon and Wiltshire charities.

Mr Newmark said: “Involve Swindon have been strengthening their local community for 10 years, through connecting local businesses with voluntary organisations. I am delighted to present Involve Swindon with their Big Society Award today on behalf of the Prime Minister.”

The award was set up by the Prime Minister David Cameron as part of a scheme to reward groups who contribute to the community.

Involve Swindon has worked with more than 120 organisations since it was first set up in 2004. Workers from local businesses spend several hours of their day carrying out a variety of activities for good causes.

This can range from painting community halls to clearing land near the canal. The organisation was set up by Tony Martin, who is the UK volunteer manager for the Zurich Community Trust.

It is run by the Volunteer Centre and Voluntary Action Swindon and receives funding from Zurich, Intel and Nationwide.

In 2013 alone 762 employee volunteers donated 4,474 hours either as teams or individuals on projects supporting 52 charitable organisations and 14 schools.

Tony, who is also the chairman of Involve Swindon, said: “I am delighted that Involve Swindon celebrated 10 years this year and we are proud to be recognised in this way by the Prime Minister and a Big Society Award. “The effective collaboration of Involve Swindon members is ensuring that skills from the private sector are being leveraged for the benefit of the local voluntary sector and Swindon communities”

Pam Webb, head of the Zurich Community Trust, said: “We are proud to have funded the initial set up of this vibrant network in Swindon and now its continued development in collaboration with Intel and Nationwide. “With the funding challenges voluntary organisations are facing in these difficult economic times, the need for the sharing of business skills has never been greater.

"Often the voluntary sector organisations don’t have the time to ask and the private sector isn’t sure how to offer help.

“Involve Swindon is bridging that gap and performing a vital brokerage role and I’m delighted to see all the hard work recognised by this award.”

To find out more about Involve Swindon call 01793 420557 or email