Frome’s Annual Town meeting on 3 April was night of festivities. It all kicked off in celebratory style with live music from the Frukes featuring Mayor, Rich Ackroyd, on his ukulele. The Frukes were followed by a short and sweet workout from the well-know and much-loved Cheryl from Mojo Moves one of the successful projects funded by the People’s Budget 2018.
Rich then welcomed everyone to the meeting which began with just a few questions from the community, two about Mendip District Council owned Cork Street bus stop and one about the old allotment gardens tucked away behind Broadway. Frome Town Council explained that Mendip District Councillor Des Harris is working with Mendip to install a bus shelter and an up to date timetable. Kate Hellard, Community Development Manager had met with residents about the allotments, who have unanimously decided they want to keep it as a green space and have been meeting with various District and County Councillors.
Next, Rich to give a whistle stop tour of his year as Mayor, including his highlights which were standing on the George Balcony with record breaker and local fundraiser Sergeant Rachel Clark and watching the lantern procession for Light the Night and, most importantly, having the opportunity to feel really connected to the community. And his top tip for future Mayors – you’ll be photographed a lot so, make sure not to wear the same outfit too often!
Leader of the Council, Cllr Kate Bielby shared her reflections on a busy year for the Town Council in a difficult climate with local government funding cuts and many huge global and national issues. Frome Town Council’s response has been to continue to be ambitious for Frome: acquiring, improving and managing green open spaces, continuing to invest in the town and taking action by declaring a climate emergency and setting a target to become carbon neutral by 2030.
Helping others to succeed has also been key, achieved by grant aiding just under £154,000 to local organisations through the community grant scheme, the Mayor’s small grants and through the People’s Budget, offering training, one-to-one support and fundraising advice. FTC continues to work hard to engage the community on key issues such as car parking, litter and crime, consultations to hear what people want to see in their town, as well as events to bring everyone together. Frome has also been an inspiration to others, such as Manchester City Council with the School Active Travel Challenge and the community fridge encouraging another 50 fridges to get started around the country.
It was then time for the Mayor’s Civic Awards, given to local people who have made a positive difference in the community. Rich chose five fantastic individuals who he felt have provided inspiration to Frome in many different ways. Eleven-year-old Isla Stockdale Coates for her anti-bullying campaign, which resulted in a march by over 400 pupils from 11 local schools helping to raise awareness and take a stand. She received her award at school.
Ron Stone, who turns 100 this year, served in the 44th Royal Marines Commando before returning to Frome and working for many years at Butler and Tanner. He is featured in the Working Memories Frome project and treated the room to a song he and made up when he was based in Burma during the war about missing Frome. Karen Stewart received her award for being such an active member of the Frome community. She is chair of Trinity Community Group, a trustee of Fair Frome, lead on the Access for All campaign, and a presenter on Frome FM’ s On-Air Book Group.
Bob Morris is chairman of the Frome Festival, now in its 19th year. A much-anticipated highlight for the town, each year the Festival showcases talent across the arts alongside global superstars, as well as bringing new visitors to Frome. Marjorie Morris is the leader of the Society of Disabled Artists’ Frome branch, a member of Frome Save the Children and the sponsorship team for the Frome Festival.
The meeting ended with refreshments and a chance to see videos from Frome Fireworks, Frome Window Wanderland and Frome Light the Night, all winners of the People’s Budget 2018 which showed the real impact each project had on the community.
The details of everything mentioned above can be found at www.frometowncouncil.gov.uk and the next meeting is Town Matters meeting on 24 April. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep updated on everything we’re up to.