Latest from the Chamber – 6th December 2023
Mayor Philip Campagna opened the meeting, thanking everyone in attendance, including three members of the public. Apologies were heard from Cllrs. Sara Butler, Mark Dorrington and Nick Dove.
We were in the presence of greatness this month! First on the agenda was a presentation from internationally renowned director and theatremaker Emma Rice, artistic director of Wise Children and formerly of Kneehigh and Shakespeare’s Globe, who attended with Executive Producer Poppy Keeling and Technical Director/Digital Producer Simon Baker. The company moved into the old Portway Methodist Church in 2022, rechristened as ‘The Lucky Chance’ and refurbished/repurposed it as a rehearsal and workshop space. It’s also used as a place to develop and nurture emerging artists through fully funded internships at The School for Wise Children. As of this week, The Lucky Chance is a performance space: this week saw the opening of The Little Match Girl and Happier Tales.
Emma told the meeting how excited she is to put down roots for Wise Children in Frome, saying that ‘the heart, soul and independent spirit’ of the town ‘chimes so strongly with who I am and what I want to do’, quoting Miró ‘to be truly universal, you have to be truly local’. The company plans to continue to make work that travels around the world, but to be embedded in Frome for the long term.
Cllr Tracey Ashford thanked Emma Rice and Wise Children for their collaborative and considerate approach to moving into The Lucky Chance, both as a councillor and a representative of a local charity. She noted their positive interactions with neighbours and their work with schools, charities and community groups, showing a commitment to accessibility and widening participation.
It’s fairly unusual to have rounds of applause at a council meeting, but this month there were four! Cllr Lisa Merryweather shared the good news that Frome Town Council were awarded the Football Supporters Association’s Non-League Club Award on Monday 4th December, at Nobu in Portman Square, London. This prestigious national award was made in recognition of FTC’s work to save the Badgers Hill stadium, securing the future of football in the town and protecting ‘a community asset that will deliver a lot more than football’. It’s the first time a local government organisation has received the award. Lisa thanked Cllr Mel Usher for all his work getting the project off the ground. The judges were particularly impressed by the breadth of ambition for Badgers Hill, the cooperation between local government, sporting groups and the community.
Peter Wheelhouse spoke to BBC sports commentator John Murray at the ceremony who told him that the Badgers Hill story was the best one of the night, a sentiment echoed by many other people who spoke to them at the ceremony and by the competition judges.
The meeting moved on to plans for the town centre, with Mike the town centre ranger tackling jobs around town, and plans for refurbishing Cockey Lamps, improving street lighting and adding planters. Marketing and Communications Manager Rachel Griffin talked about work with local businesses and the development of Discover Frome as a go-to source of information for residents and visitors. The Discover Frome website is backed up by an active social media channel, 24 community noticeboards around the town and the Discover Frome information point in Frome Library. The project has the support of a team of 16 volunteers.
There were two rounds of applause to come, right at the end of the meeting! Planning and Development Manager Jane Llewellyn told the meeting the good news that the long-awaited project to install finger posts around the centre of Frome is complete. Finally, she shared the news that the new toilets in Victoria Park are almost complete and ready to open to the public.
The film of the 6th December meeting can be found on our YouTube channel. And the agenda and details of everything mentioned above, along with dates for future meetings can be found on the Council Committee and Meetings page. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up-to-date with everything we’re up to.