Mayor’s column 23 July 2020

Last week I was invited to join Active & In Touch up at the bandstand in Victoria Park. Active and In Touch do a wonderful job of working with anyone who feels isolated or lonely by organising regular meet ups and arranging for volunteers to contact those who are experiencing the effects of feeling lonely or afraid. Their services are going to be even more important as we start to see the consequences of the pandemic that’s leaving people feeling even more isolated and, in many cases, even afraid to leave the house. Declining mental health is an issue that is affecting so many of us and at a time when funding for these social services is at its lowest, so it’s even more crucial that we support organisations like Active and In Touch.

Mindline Somerset is another organisation that offers support for anyone going through mental difficulties caused by the crisis, and help is available via their 24hr helpline on 01823 276892. They will listen, understand and talk you through your options to get you the support you need.

I enjoyed another walkabout this week in the town centre talking to retailers and shoppers about how it feels from both sides of the counter. My first port of call was a visit to Hunting Raven for the launch of a new book called The Compassion Project. This book tells the story of how Frome is leading the way in reducing loneliness and isolation. Dr. Helen Kingston , Senior Partner at the Frome Medical Practice, and Jenny Hartnoll, Mendip Health Connectors Lead, joined forces to present Compassionate Frome which encourages community connection to alleviate loneliness, by creating group activities, putting people in touch with others who can help, and using volunteers to contact those in need. It’s a wonderful project and has already attracted national and international acclaim, with Dr. Kingston already having been given an award by the Queen for her achievement, make sure

I will be continuing my walkabouts for the foreseeable future and will be in the town again next week, so please stop for a chat if you spot me. Until then, as always, I trust you have a happy and healthy week.  Take care.

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