Mayor’s column 16 January

I’m sure most of us will be will now be back into our normal routines after the Christmas and New Year break. For me, that means council meetings and mayoral events but also attending my regular volunteer advisor sessions at the Citizen Advice Bureau in Frome.

I am committed to the work we do there, offering free advice to whoever comes through the door with their problems. These are varied and can include, for example, financial (especially after the cost of Christmas catches up with us), relationship issues and giving help in navigating the benefits system. What motivates me is that the advice we give can make an immediate, positive difference for someone who is despairing that their situation is hopeless.

I am also trying to be a more regular attendee at The Old Showfield Parkrun, which is a 5km run on the pathways around the grounds. You will remember that this started in Frome last August after a lot of effort by the organising committee and the town council; now over 200 runners attend regularly at 9am on Saturdays. Many people who did not used to take exercise are now enjoying a leisurely 5 km run, improving their fitness and overall well-being. Some runners have graduated from the ‘Couch to 5K’ programme offered by the Medical Practice, a great example of their approach to finding alternative ways to improve our residents’ health.

Neither of these can happen without volunteers. CAB cannot open to serve those who need help without volunteer advisors committing to staff the office. Parkrun cannot run without volunteers giving up an hour on a Saturday morning to marshal the course. If you feel you could offer your help, both organisations would be delighted to hear from you. I know you will benefit greatly by helping others : volunteer@citizensadvicemendip.org.uk and theoldshowfieldhelpers@parkrun.com

Finally, I’m sure you are aware that the rescheduled fireworks event, which was planned for the 25th January, has been cancelled. The recent rain has meant the ground at the Old Showfield is very muddy and boggy and in order to preserve the grass areas, Frome Town Council has made the necessary decision to cancel. The event will be honoured though, and an even bigger and better display will take place in November.