News and useful stuff

Whenever we find something interesting or useful we will post it in this section.

If you have something you want to share with our members, please let us know.

Collective news

Occasional postings about what we are up to!


We went to check we could still find our reptile refugia, prior to our May citizen science evening, as the grass has grown so much recently. We didn't lift them on this occasion, but we were delightly to see they are being used as a warm, dry bed base! Presumably by muntjac deer.



We are absolutely delighted with the two benches made by the very talented Brian. They are designed to support a sunshade and trellises. They helped us enjoy a rare rain-free day on the allotment.



Rethink Mental Illness have organised 'Football for Better Mental Health' - a weekly men's group (18+) on Mondays 5.30-6.30pm at Stanley Park. Cost £4 per session.

For more information, contact or ring David on 07483 913159


A big thank you to Elaine and Alexander at Chippenham Museum who provided Collective members with a guided tour of the museum. It really brought it alive!

In future

Help shape our future by becoming a member of Chippenham Collective. How would you like us to develop?

Improve your brain with us!

There is plenty of evidence that being outdoors in nature is associated with reduced stress and anxiety, as well as improved mood. 

Now there is also evidence that exposure to nature also benefits cognitive function – all the processes involved in gaining knowledge and understanding, including perception, memory, reasoning, judgment, imagination and problem-solving. See this article in The Guardian for more details.

Useful links

A list that will grow.

Chippenham Community Hub - advice on fraud and information about local community groups and all things Chippenham. Advice on identifying and reporting scams can be found here.

One Chippenham - local website for information about community groups and related events.

Wiltshire Together - for information on volunteer opportunities and more.

Clic - an online community providing mutual support for adults experiencing mental health difficulties. Content is moderated, so safer than most similar sites.

Mental Health and Money Advice - practical advice and support for people experiencing issues with mental health and money.

Money and debt advice for all - Christians against Poverty (you don't have to be a Christian to get their help).

Managing water bills - Wessex Water have lots of schemes to help people with this. For example, flexible payment plans, payment breaks or paying directly from your benefits. Ask the Collective for more info or look at Wessex Water's website.

Health passports (also known as hospital or wellbeing passports) - if communication isn't your strong point, especially when you are ill, consider completing a health passport to give to healthcare professionals when you are unable to explain your needs. Templates are available from organisations like the National Autistic Society or Mencap.

Tony Attwood -  a leading international expert on autism who provides lots of insight and practical advice in books and online. For example, he has posted an article on autistic burnout on Linked In.

Medicines and therapies for mental health issues - Mind provide lots of accessible information to help people understand and get the best out of any medicine or therapy likely to be prescribed for a mental health condition.

Responding to unusual behaviour (linked to mental illness) - Rethink Mental Illness have a useful fact sheet.

Mental health crisis line (Wiltshire) -  people who are experiencing a mental health crisis or supporting someone in crisis, can call the Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust crisis line: 0800 953 1919. In an emergency, when someone is at immediate risk of harm, dial 999.

Access Community Mental Health (Wiltshire) - a recovery and peer support service for adults in need of support (but not in a crisis).

Apps - NHS Dorset has a useful list of recommended apps to support the mental health and wellbeing of (mainly) teenagers. Our local Integrated Care Board also has an app library, covering a range of conditions, such as mental health, cancer and diabetes. These apps have been subjected to testing by the NHS, some apps on sites like Google Play may contain risky information or hidden costs.

Tiimo app - an app designed to help neurodivergent people manage their time 'in a way that suits them', according to their website.

Apps for young people - the Youth Adventure Trust have recommended the following apps to us:

  • Clear Fear - a free app to help children and young people manage the symptoms of anxiety
  • Kooth  - an online mental wellbeing community
  • Move Mood - a free app to help teenagers manage low mood and depression 
  • Tellmi - a free app where young people can share their worries and support each other (moderated bby professionals)

Beat - the website for support for people with eating disorders. The Orri website is also helpful. Peace Pathway is especially for autistic people.

Mental Health and welfare benefits - CPAG have produced a comprehensive handbook. We can help you find the bits relevant to you if need be.

Claiming PIP (Personal Independence Payment) - the National Austistic Society has information on this for autistic people. It may also be helpful for anyone who is not making a claim solely for a physical disability.

Constipation - this condition can be a killer if not addressed. It is particularly a risk for people with learning disabilities who go to the toilet independently and may not report any changes in their toilet habits. Some mental health and other medicines increase the risk of constipation. Here is a fun educational video on a subject that is not frequently discussed by most people!

Just can't wait card - a widely recognised card and/or app to help you discreetly ask for help to access a toilet in an emergency. For anyone with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or any other problem which means they don't get much warning before a trip to the loo is needed. There is a small fee for the card but the app is free.

Nature and mental health - a guide from Mind.

Campaign against living miserably or CALM - offer information and support to help prevent suicide. This includes a helpline on 0800 58 58 58 from 5pm to midnight 365 days a year and a web chat (there is a link from their website's home page).

Samaritans - if you are feeling hopeless and helpless, please contact the Samaritans by phone on 116 123 for the quickest response - 24 hours a day. They also offer other contact options if you are not in crisis.

Gambling - our local mental health NHS trust runs a service for people affected by gambling addiction. See ARA Recovery 4 All too.

The National Centre for Gaming Disorders (NHS) - provides treatment for people in England, aged 13 years and over, who have severe difficulty controlling their video game use and the impact it has on their lives. The centre is experiencing overwhelming demand, so its referral routes have been reduced, but you can ask your GP to consider referring you.

Help with reading - Read Easy North and West Wiltshire  teL: 07367 100 936

Help to get online in Wiltshire can be found here - don't get left behind!

Cinema tickets - if you have a disability and get certain benefits as a result of this, you can apply for a CEA card. This enables you to get a free ticket for the carer / friend / relation who accompanies you - two for the price of one! There is a small admin charge when you first apply for the card. It is valid at the Reel cinema in Chippenham and many other cinemas.

Essential companions pass for National Trust properties - if you can show proof of disability (like a PIP award letter) when you buy a NT entrance ticket, you can bring a companion in for free. The essential companions pass makes it even easier - just show the card instead. There are several NT properties near Chippenham, such as Laycock Abbey.

Making phone calls if you have hearing or speech difficulties - sometimes, you cannot avoid making a phone call, e.g. to your bank. If you are able to read and type using an app, Relay UK offer a free text relay service to help with this and they are committed to confidentiality. You can also use it to contact a person who is hearing or speech impaired, so long as they have the app. It is free, apart from normal phone charges.

NHS dentists - access to NHS dental services is extremely limited. Click here to check if there are any local dentists that will accept adult NHS patients in the Chippenham area (some offer NHS appointments to children). At the time of uploading this information, none were providing an NHS service for new adult patients. If you have severe learning disabilities or a few other conditions, you may be able to use the NHS's community dental services, but you usually need to be referred by your own dentist. You can check this with NHS England on 0300 311 2233 if need be.

Contact your MP - Chippenham's MP can be contacted by email: or phone her constituency office in New Road: 01249 704465.

Video game - if you like a complex sci-fi video game, Warframe is available on multiple platforms. It has a particularly welcoming online community and one of the heros in the game is autistic.

Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) - an aspect of some people's autism (although the debate around this is ongoing). Alternative names are emerging too, e.g. Extreme Demand Avoidance Syndrome (EDA) and Pervasive or Persistent Drive for Autonomy. Find out more from the PDA Society which also suggests some helpful approaches and self-help.

Preventing exhaustion and burnout - if you are prone to extreme fatigue, you may want to explore the concept of energy accounting which can help to reduce the risk. Developed for autistic people but may be useful to others too.

Free courses for carers - online courses and resources for carers provided by the NHS via MindEd. Free education and support is also available for carers of autistic people via the South West Autism Hub.

Widgit - free access to some basic signs and symbols to support those with communication difficulties. There is a fee to access their other resources.

Bereavement - a good source of information is The Good Grief Trust, which pulls together info from a wide range of organisations involved in supporting and advising bereaved people. The government provides guidance on all the admin associated with a death here.




Nature and wildlife blog

Observations in and around Chippenham. Coming soon!

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