The meeting started with a welcome from Chair Cllr Andy Wrintmore followed by a minute’s silence as mark of support and empathy to the people of Ukraine and Frome Town Council’s (FTC) twin town of Rabka in Poland who are supporting and helping so many refugees.
First on the agenda, a report from Paul Wynne, Frome Town Council’s Town Clerk. The report outlined the latest developments on the unitary Somerset project. FTC’s Unitary advisors Ian Timms and Martin Woods presented their Devolution of Assets report. The report identifies and analyses the local assets and services that might be offered to the Town Council and to also report on the benefits and downsides of each of these services or assets and their impact on the council and the community. Assets identified in the report included various open spaces, community facilities, educational establishments and commercial/industrial spaces. Specific assets were identified in their report which can be found here.
Kate Hellard, FTC’s Community Manager, continued by highlighting the close work with our neighbouring parishes in the Frome Area Local Community Network (LCN) pilot. Good progress is being made on the given pilot subject of children, young people and families. Kate explained that in order to support the development work of the LCN, FTC would like to facilitate some community development work to map the services, organisations and groups that meet in the wider Frome Area. This will enable FTC to extend the information available on the FIND website to a wider community and also to identify gaps in children and young people’s services. You can read more here.
Next, Peter Wheelhouse, FTC’s Economic Development & Regeneration Manager, presented the following report concerning the decision to acquire the leasehold of the Loop de Loop building in the Cattle Market. Loop de Loop is a converted toilet block and is currently home to the Community Fridge and Larder, it also houses a kitchen hatch, a winter coat rack and a “gallery” space. The building is owned by Mendip District Council (MDC) and was leased to volunteers, which lapsed in 2018. The building is in need of maintenance and a new lease to be put in place to protect the future of the Community Fridge and Larder. Frome Town Council has entered into negotiations with MDC to take on the lease of the building and responsibility for interior and external maintenance. This will make it easier to make repairs when needed which have been estimated at up to £800. Cllrs agreed the recommendations to take on the lease on a peppercorn rent to allow the Community Fridge and Larder to continue to operate. You can read the full report here.
Kate returned with a verbal update on the Community Development work and the aim to move away from the current statutory approach to delivering services, as resources are limited and the demand in increasing. Informed by the work completed over the past couple of years the team have developed a life world approach which is person centred and individuals and families are supported in their community through access to information, advice, support, opportunities and services.
Kate noted that the current strains on families will present itself further in the near future so the team will continue to map and identify gaps in and around Frome while working with partners at a strategic level and local level too. From driving and supporting Neighbourhood Networks, they’re now seeing streets come together and help each other in ways they hadn’t done previously as well as utilising activities such as street parties and Wild Bunch, a new neighbourhood wildlife group.
The Play Strategy for Frome, which includes not only play for children but also for adults, has been created and is beginning to be delivered. There will be further intergenerational activity and the FIND website (Family Information Network Directory), FTC’s digital database which signposts and supports, will continue to be developed and moved onto the next level with potential telephone service. Work will continue supporting street parties, which have evolved to be fundamental in bringing streets together in order to tackle much bigger things collectively and ultimately in shaping place-based services for the future which means Frome will have strong, resilient communities that are able to look after themselves and each other.
Rachel Griffin, FTC’s Marketing and Communications Manager gave a verbal update on the Platinum Jubilee People’s Budget town vote. In January FTC asked Frome for suggestions on how they would like to celebrate the Jubilee and a host of ideas were put forward on the Your Priorities platform. A panel from across the town were invited to discuss all the entries. Some ideas had to be discounted as they didn’t meet the criteria or weren’t feasible. Others were suggestions that couldn’t be completed in time for June 2nd or were above budget or had other limitations such as taking place on land that didn’t belong to FTC. Three final suggestions were then taken to the public vote in February: A picnic in Victoria Park, a commemorative stone in the blossom circle at the Old Showfield or a beacon which would be lit to celebrate the royal occasion. The votes were cast, and the winner was the commemorative stone. The team are now working with local stonemasons and quarry to create a design which will be accessible for all which will be in place by the Jubilee. A Windsor royal oak has been planted in the middle of the blossom circle ready for the stone addition. Further details of the unveiling will be available in due course.
The agenda and details of everything mentioned above can be found at https://www.frometowncouncil.gov.uk/event/council-31/. Dates of future Council and committee meetings can be found here. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep updated on everything we’re up to.