17 March was not only St Patrick’s Day, but also People’s Budget Event Voting Day. Over 70 Frome residents casting their votes on 6 local events, each organised by Frome groups hoping for a slice of the £25,000 budget. Despite the heavy snow, voters arrived safe and sound at Frome Football Club ready to hear all about the events from the people who would be making them happen.
Black Swan Arts wanted to create a bigger and better Window Wanderland in Frome for February 2019, Frome Town Rotary presented their big plans for a Frome Firework display, The Frukes pitched their Ukulele Festival, Home in Frome asked for funding for the Christmas Lantern Procession, Rare Species explained their “bonkers and interactive” fitness sessions, and Show of Strength talked about Trading Local – theatre in Frome shops.
Each project came with a one-minute video, followed by careful questioning from the audience. They were then scored by the residents, enjoying lunch while the votes were counted. Earlier this month, year 8 students from Selwood and Oakfield also cast their votes at the Make it Happen youth conference, accounting for 30% of the final numbers.
Councillor Toby Eliot said “I am delighted that we are to be able to put the decision into the hands of the people who live here. We learnt lessons from last year to make it easy for people to participate and so thank you to those who braced the stormy weather to have their say.”
And the winners were…
Light the Night Lantern Procession came in pole position, followed by Frome Fireworks, Window Wanderland and finally Free Fitness for All. These 4 projects will get the funding they asked for, and the events will take place in Frome within 12 months.
Mayor Shiela Gore said “We couldn’t do this at all without local organisations putting their ideas forward, most of which have been working hard to create a stronger community in Frome for years. Some of these events have happened before in Frome, and people were obviously keen to see them repeated. Others are completely new, so it’s exciting that the town saw the potential in those too.”
Watch this space, lots more information will be available about each event closer to the time.