Leader of the Council Anne Hills reviewed her year in the Annual Town Meeting praising the town for having come together to meet the challenges of the year.
Anne said: “I am so proud of the way this town has pulled together over the past year. It’s been a challenging year, but my naturally positive attitude means I have to focus on just some of the really wonderful things that have happened in Frome over the last year.
One thing is for sure our community has stood up to the plate: our medical practices, our care homes, our schools, and our shopworkers and all the other people in roles that have kept the town going – from those emptying the bins to those emptying bed pans. Active and in touch, Fair Frome, our community drivers, and all our other amazing charities and of course, our staff have been right there with them.
Frome had over 300 volunteers who came forward to help – whether to shop for a shielding neighbour, collect prescriptions, take someone to a hospital appointment, volunteer with Fair Frome, or phone someone who would otherwise be isolated. And those are just the people we could count – throughout the town there were endless acts of community and kindness.
And we took our place in a role of community leadership and support. As soon as the news of the pandemic, and an impending lockdown hit, our collective thoughts turned to how we would support the most vulnerable members of our community. Leaflets and banners encouraging us to ‘check in on your five nearest neighbours’ started to build neighbourhood networks that have been growing throughout the year.
Our staff were able to adapt to the demands of the situation. Staff changed their role to delivering emergency food parcels. An entire telephone hotline sprung up overnight.
Everyone took their turn on the rota, ensuring residents and businesses were given the time and the support that they needed…
In the summer, our rangers added a playful element to our parks mowing grass mazes in Rodden Meadow and the showfield. And there was chalk in Victoria Park to make social distancing measurements a bit more beautiful.
And our events, our celebrations of community couldn’t happen in the way that we would choose them too: we couldn’t celebrate Halloween, bonfire night or the Christmas light the night in our usual way, but the Halloween Window Wanderland, followed by making lanterns for our windows, were lovely substitutes.
Our community, what can I say? We had a great base to start with. But it is fair to say that during this pandemic, we supported and enabled the scale up of the community feeling and energy we already had here. “
Anne then went on to show a short video that was prepared for the Academy of Urbanists in September last year, when they celebrated Frome as one of the previous winners of the ‘Great Town’ award. To view that and the rest of the meeting please go to https://tinyurl.com/Annual-Town-Meeting