Me again with another chance to stand in for our freshly domesticated Mayor, who’s moving into his new flat, so we’re wishing him the best for his new home!
I’ve seen a couple of brilliant films this week at our lovely Westway cinema – Respect, the life story of the incredible Aretha Franklyn, and of course James Bond No Time to Die, which can’t have escaped your notice! It got me thinking about how this town certainly punches above its weight when it comes to access to the arts. Not only the lovely and extremely reasonably priced cinema, but two theatres and a plethora of smaller performance places. At four pounds a ticket, the cinema really gives enormous value for money. Along with other venues, the pandemic has brought them close to the edge, but it seems now the tide is turning and things look a lot more positive. But it really brings home the importance of making the most of our local assets if we don’t want to lose them.
In the same vein, the post office has reopened its branch in the Westway Co-op, which has been a lifesaver for so many people. Please do share this information widely as it doesn’t seem to be well known yet, and if we don’t use it, we may find it has to close again.
Great Big Green Week was a brilliant success for the town, with the weather onside for some fascinating walks, talks, exhibitions and street events. The newly utilised area down by the station is proving to be very popular with its gallery, places to eat and drink and general atmosphere of conviviality; a welcome regeneration of an underused part of town.
Also welcome is the news that we will be putting on a drone show instead of fireworks this year, which will be music to the ears of wildlife lovers and owners of nervous animals (or people!). It’s now so well known that wildlife suffers terribly from the effects of fireworks, especially nocturnal creatures like bats and owls, and we need to do all we can to protect them. It may not be everyone’s ideal, but we do need to think extra carefully about how our behaviour affects our already at risk wildlife populations, and change the things we can.
Finally, I made a visit to Roots Connections at Manor Farm near Radstock this weekend to find out about their work with rural homeless people. Their dairy house has been renovated and now houses up to 7 homeless people who have the opportunity to get involved in the gardens and farm, growing flowers and vegetables, keeping bees, and generally working with nature and the land. It was the first rural homeless hostel in Mendip, and has had great success in helping people find a different way to live.
Next week, Andy will be back to fill you in on all his latest adventures.