Community First, a leading charity, has appointed Jo Proctor as its new community engagement coordinator.

This strategy aims to increase support for volunteer groups in Eastleigh Borough.

Proctor, along with a team, will work closely with Eastleigh Borough Council to help groups access more external funding, attract volunteers and aid with business planning and governance.

The newly launched service led by Proctor expands across all of Eastleigh Borough, from Hiltingbury and Chandler’s Ford to Hamble and Netley.

With over a decade's experience in community development, inclusive of a lottery-funded project to empower Southampton neighbourhoods, Proctor also volunteers and has had a 13-year role as a school governor.

For a minimal membership fee of £10/year, Community First is set to engage local groups and charities to support Eastleigh Borough's thriving community.

Membership benefits include support in establishing or developing a community group, assistance with payroll services, help sourcing funding and grant application, aid with volunteer recruitment and more.

Jo said: "I’ve had a great start at Community First and look forward to getting to know more people and groups in the area.

"Strong local voluntary organisations and charities are needed more than ever as we look to support and complement our local authorities and we will do all we can to help groups access the funding they need and work together to deliver support for those who need it most.

"The team and I would love to hear from any groups that need support with governance, are seeking funding or need more volunteers."

Tim Houghton, chief executive of Community First, said: "We’re delighted to have Jo lead our team in Eastleigh Borough. Her experience supporting the setup and running of voluntary organisations and expertise will be valued by groups delivering vital services to people in the area.

"In partnership with Eastleigh Borough Council, we also hope to encourage more volunteering by helping local residents realise the benefits it can bring to their own health and wellbeing and their local community."