In a packed meeting last night (Wednesday 22 February), Frome Town Council along with 30 members of the public, heard that more than 100 people in Frome have signed up to form a panel that will decide what events are to be funded in Frome in the year ahead. In a radical departure from the way Councils across the country spend public money, Frome Town Council will be asking taxpayers how they want to allocate the £30,000 events budget for 2017/18. The panel will meet on 11th March at Frome Football Club, listen to the proposals from 17 organisations who want to stage an event, and vote on the events they, the panel members, want to see. While the Town Council is organising this initiative, it will not have any influence over which events go forward.
Cllr Peter Macfadyen who was chairing the meeting said, “We are moving towards a more participatory democracy in Frome, which means that locally elected Cllrs encourage and enable other local people to decide what the Council spends its money on. We make no apology to those who believe that Cllrs are elected to make decisions and they don’t need to work with the rest of the community to do so. Having over 100 people voluntarily wanting to influence how their Council Tax is spent shows that we are moving in the right direction.”
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The meeting was also addressed by Karen Deverill from YMCA Mendip who provided an illuminating presentation on the superb work that the YMCA does in Frome and the rest of Mendip. Karen noted that, despite the vitality and exciting town that most people see, there remains a group of very vulnerable young people in Frome who need food to eat and a place to sleep. The safety net that used to be provided by Social Services is no longer there and the Frome Foyer and the Routes café are increasingly the only alternative to life on the streets. Karen thanked the support that FTC’s fundraiser has provided over the past year and also the £7k pa grant for three years towards the urgent repairs to the roof and boiler at the Frome Youth and Community Centre.
Frome Town Council agreed to join Norton St Philip, Rode and Beckington Parish Councils and Somerset County Council in providing a one-off subsidy to retain the 267 weekday evening service between Bath and Frome until September. Between now and then, these Councils and public transport campaigners will explore alternatives to the current financially non-viable service run by First Bus.
For more information about last night’s meeting, please click here for all the reports or go to: https://www.frometowncouncil.gov.uk/meeting/town-matters-4/