A charity that supports 21,000 carers in Swindon has raised more than £2,000 from a sponsored walk after receiving support from a car dealership.

Every year, Swindon Carers supporters take part in Walk A Mile, a fundraising walk around the town – and every year Pebley Beach pledges to match their fundraising efforts up to £1,000.

Lockdown restrictions stopped the charity from holding the event this year so fundraisers were instead asked to walk a mile wherever they could - indoors, in back gardens, school playgrounds, and parks with family members or as part of their social bubble.

Daily activities ran throughout Carers Week, including musical performances, fancy dress, and tea parties – all held in a socially-distanced way and shared with their community via social media.

In total, they raised £1,040, which Pebley Beach added a grand to, bringing their fundraising total to £2,040.

Deputy CEO of Swindon Carers Fiona Prinzi said: “The current coronavirus pandemic continues to present a huge challenge for unpaid carers of all ages in Swindon.

“Many are feeling the impact of taking on a full-time caring role for family members and friends during this time. Our staff are busy responding to an increased need for practical and emotional support as a result.

“That’s why we’re incredibly grateful to Pebley Beach for continuing to generously match-fund donations for Carers Week and Walk A Mile. We know this will make a real difference directly to carers lives at a vital time.”

The dealership's managing director Dominic Threlfall said: “We’re delighted to be able to support Swindon Carers again this year. Well done to everyone who helped raise so much money in extremely challenging circumstances.”

During the coronavirus pandemic the number of unpaid carers has rocketed from 200,000 to nearly 700,000 nationally. Enquiries to Swindon Carers increased by 170 percent during the crisis.

The charity has been busy phoning carers, and keeping morale up, running virtual activities and counselling sessions, starting fortnightly newsletters full of recipes and ideas, visiting carers and delivering birthday cakes donated by Morrisons and Waitrose, and helping carers with the benefits and welfare system.