The Town Matters meeting started with a welcome from the Chair, Cllr Andy Palmer and moved swiftly on to a presentation from the Chair of Fair Housing for Frome (FHfF), Andy Jones.
Andy explained that the goal of FHfF is to work with the people of Frome and the surrounding areas, particularly those on low incomes, to enable them to live in a genuinely affordable and decent quality home that promotes their health and wellbeing. They have 3 main aims: to encourage better use of existing housing, to enable the creation of new homes to meet local needs and to prevent and address homelessness. Andy continued with many of the projects that FHfF are working on, including their work with Frome Area Community Land Trust and their upcoming housing survey. You can read all about their great work on their website or catch their weekly show on Frome FM.
Next on the agenda, Kate Hellard and Hannah Stopford gave an update on Community Development work that had taken place over the last 12 months. Kate explained that FTC try to engage and enable the community to participate in the decision-making processes within the town and have a developed a philosophy of enabling, facilitating, and supporting rather than doing for. The work the team has carried out has gone from town wide projects to street level projects.
Hannah detailed out the importance of Frome’s hyper-local support networks, particularly during lockdown. For the past year Hannah has been helping to run the Neighbourhood Network which is made up of individuals that act as representatives, and at their meetings there is two-way flow of information and ideas from individual street level groups to and from the wider network. There are 69 groups now signed up to the network and Hannah explained that there’s a desire to expand on feelings of self-reliance, of communities being able to do things for themselves, whether it’s to take care of their vulnerable neighbours, keep the street tidy or improve a green space.
Hannah also provided an overview on the Grow on your Street, Neighbourhood Toolkit, Wild about Trees, Restorative Conversation, and other street level activities. Looking ahead the team will continue to support and develop these projects and, as lockdown eases, be out and about in the community, talking to people and supporting streets and helping them to develop their own networks and uncover assets to build upon.
You can read the full report here.
Kate followed with the next agenda item, the Major Grant Fund. FTC have previously managed Multi Year Agreements and more recently a Major Project Fund, it was felt that neither of these two fully met the needs of local organisations and following detailed discussions of the Grants Advisory Panel it was agreed to embark on a co design process facilitated by the Democratic Society to create a grant that best suited the needs of local organisations.
The proposed fund will be distributed through two grant rounds each year with £27,500 available at each round. It is expected that grant allocations will average £5k-£6k per organisation and decisions will be made by a panel of Cllrs with up to 3 members of the public invited to sit on a Grants Advisory Panel. Applicants will be invited to attend a public meeting where further questions maybe asked of the applicants and applications will be discussed. Final decision making will take place in a closed meeting of the Grants Advisory Panel which will also include 2 or 3 members of the public with Cllrs, all with an equal vote, agreeing recommendations to the Town Clerk for final approval.
Cllrs unanimously agreed the new scheme and the first round of the Major Grants will open at the start of May. You can read the full report here.
Finally, Cllrs ratified the decision of the Town Clerk to make the community grant payment to Black Swan Arts instead of Rook Lane Arts for the project ‘The View from Here’, and unanimously voted to apply to Mendip District Council to designate Keyford Community Garden as an asset of value, further details can be found here.
The agenda and details of everything mentioned above can be found on the meeting page. 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.