Frome Town Council set out both its work programme and budget in January for the year ahead. It reflects our ambition to build an inclusive, resilient, and participative community, a thriving local economy and a clean, happy and healthy town. The work programme includes promoting civic pride and supporting events and projects inclusive of all residents, increases the permanent staff at Frome Town council, allows for flexibility in the face of covid and represents a 9% increase.
As well as looking after sixty-five acres of parks and open spaces, 7 play parks, and the Town Hall, the work programme sees a substantial portion of the budget continue to be spent on supporting local communities and local organisations. This is one of the ways that Frome Town Council supports its communities.
This is largely through Grants and the People’s Budget and sees £178k distributed in this way. Community development projects generally sees a further £69k. These projects enable the community to support themselves. A good example of this work is the Neighbourhood Networks group which sprung up as a result of the pandemic and that now seeks to support community groups through actions that they decide and deliver. The Children and Young People’s area of work has also identified the need for an information service for families and so this year will see the launch of a new family information service designed to address this need.
Mayor Anita Collier says: “As a Town Council we must acknowledge that Frome, as everywhere, has had really a difficult year and this looks set to continue in the short term. There will be more people struggling economically and more people suffering with mental health problems, not to mention the direct impact of covid-19. We need to be proud of our town and the way it has responded to this crisis so far, recognise its strengths and continue to build on that. The relationships and networks that have been forged, in the voluntary, community and business sectors have been amazing, and their success needs to be supported and celebrated in creative and enabling ways.
We will continue to strengthen those connections, through projects and events represented in our work programme, that bring people together, promote civic pride and that add to the rich fabric of our town. This will benefit not only our local economy but our well-being as a community.”
In addition, Frome Town Council has renewed its commitment to fighting the climate emergency which this year will be supported by the National Lottery grant that has been received along with Frome Medical Practice and Edventure Frome. That project will focus on making homes warm for families and reducing fuel poverty through “Healthy Homes by prescription” and a new scheme “Cycling by prescription”. They will also continue to take the lead on mitigating the impacts of the climate change emergency and ensuring Frome is carbon neutral by 2030.
Within the budget there has also been a need this year for two additional budget lines. One which will be used to support further losses or expenses around the covid-19 pandemic; the other which identifies funding for new projects as they arise. This will build flexibility into the budget and enable the Council to react quickly should new opportunities or crisis arise.
Anne Hills, Leader of the Council said: “This work programme is about consolidation and the strategic vision of this work programme is clear: Frome works together to get things done, is a town where people look after each other, where they continue to check in on their five nearest neighbours, where we shop locally to make the best use of the town’s resources. Our work programme represents FTC as part of that community in an enabling role, actively being part of the town we live in.”
The budget increase needed to pay for the ambitious work programme means that over three quarters of council taxpayers in Frome will pay £1.16 extra per month or less.
To see how we will spend the precept please see the full combined work programme and budget.