Sitting in for Mayor of Frome, Cllr Sara Butler chaired June’s Council meeting and extended a warm welcome to attendees.
The meeting kicked off with a presentation from Cllr Ben Still who introduced the Keep it Frome project that has launched recently. Ben gave an overview of how the project was conceived in November last year, and stated that Frome is full of people fixing, repairing, growing food and sharing stuff – known as the circular economy, and this keeps materials flowing around the town instead of going to landfill. Keep It Frome shows how a circular economy is growing fast in our town and it’s all about people helping each other, saving money and looking after nature all at the same time. The project is a collaboration between Loop:Frome and Glimpse and funded by Be the Earth. The team have created a new directory which lists organisations and community groups who are part of this circular economy so far. You can find out more here.
Cllr Lisa Merryweather presented the first report which was to agree the new process for Community Grants for 23/24. The Grants Advisory Group has considered in detail how best to meet the needs of local community organisations; providing funding for new and or innovative projects, which meet the needs of local residents and are able to become financially resilient over time. It was agreed to create a new Grants Committee and Mayor Philip Campagna will Chair. The first round opened on 15th June and will run until 21st August 2023. You can read the report here.
Next there was an update on the Poverty Area of the Council Plan and associated work programme. Cllr Anne Hills introduced the report, and she highlighted the progress taken to date and the next steps. It was explained that the Community Team have continued to build on the asset-based approach to community development on a street level basis. Their objective is to stem the flow of residents reaching crisis through the development of place-based community services. The full report lays out the anticipated activity to fulfil the team’s objectives and details out progress.
Project Office Hannah Stopford provided an update on the work carried out so far with the St Johns area. She has been working with the community there, getting to know them via different engagement options, e.g., door knocking, coffee mornings, litter picks, speaking with local businesses etc. She’s had some valuable conversations with lots of residents and shop owners and gathered so far that there’s a lack of community/social space and that the centralised support for the rest of Frome isn’t always suitable for St Johns. Having said that, there is a rich and diverse community and there is a desire to increase connection in the neighbourhood. Hannah said that the next steps will be to continue to build relationships and follow up on some of their ideas such as a jumble trail, community garden, noticeboard, summer party and so on.
The report also provided an update on the work supporting refugees. The Frome Welcome Hub is funded by Somerset Council through Charis who manage the contract that supports refugees. It provides a safe space with a range of services to support all displaced people that reside in the Frome Community. Whilst the Hub offers a physical space for support, signposting, language lessons, welfare checks and interviews, the Hub is a collaborative community project that is not confined by physical space, and as such, is responsive to the specific requirements of Refugees and People seeking Asylum in our locality. Cllrs agreed to the ongoing delivery of the Frome Refugee Welcome Hub, funded externally.
Cllr Butler rounded off the meeting giving thanks to Mike Bishop, Frome’s Town Crier, who has recently resigned from his position. He will stand down in November and the meeting gave a round of applause to thank him for all he has done for the town over the 17 years in position.
The film of the 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 updated on everything we’re up to.