Last week I performed one of my most enjoyable tasks which was opening the newly refurbished building at Hayesdown school, renamed ‘The Haven’. I was invited to cut the ribbon and as my two oldest grandchildren attend the school, they were invited with their whole class to come into the playground to watch. Thanks to Headteacher Julia Battersby and the children, I was also treated to a cup of tea and a mince pie afterwards – delicious!
As you might imagine, Christmas is a really busy time as Mayor, even during a pandemic! Many organisations are requesting messages and even videos to talk about the year that’s past and the year to come. There’s plenty of Council business to finalise before we take a short break for the holidays, so still lots of Zoom meetings in the diary, and I’ve finally finished writing nearly 600 Christmas cards which go out every year from the Mayor to all those businesses and individuals who do so much to contribute to our town.
I must say how delighted I was to see Santa’s float this week – what a wonderful job those Rotary and Lions Clubs do every year. The float brings a smile to so many faces, and of course is responsible for raising thousands of pounds in donations. Sadly, they can’t walk round with their buckets this year, but you can still donate at https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/santafrome.
Last week I helped to launch a fundraising pop-up show ‘Small and Affordable’ at the Black Swan Arts. All the artwork is all less than 30 x 30 x 30 cm in size and costs less than £300. There’s some beautiful and unique artwork available to buy online including painting, printmaking, sculpture and ceramics or you can buy direct from the art centre’s new creative space on Bridge Street in Frome. The work on sale has been kindly donated by Black Swan Arts’ loyal and talented artists and friends – 100% of the profits will go to support the running of the organisation. Your support is vital too, in enabling this vibrant community arts centre to continue serving the people of Frome. Please visit www.blackswanarts.org.uk
Frome Town Matters met last week, and the agenda was pretty full, discussing the new Grants process which will help businesses to stay afloat and grow until they find their feet, and a lot of talk about traffic too. There was a long conversation about whether or not there should be calming measures for traffic along the Butts, suggesting possible single yellow lines along part of it, and discouraging some of the heavy lorries that currently use the road. We also talked a lot about safety for pedestrians and cyclists, particularly in narrow streets like King St. in the town. There are varied opinions on these matters and of course that leads to much healthy debate. We’re mindful of motorists, mindful of cyclists and pedestrians, and mindful of our commitment to becoming carbon neutral by 2030. It would be good to create a pedestrian only area but in a town like Frome, we also have to be aware of the impact of diverting traffic to other roads in the town. It’s not easy, so more conversation is required!
Anyway, it’s a very busy old time, so I’m going to keep it short this week. Please remember Hands. Face. Space. Take care of yourselves, look after your neighbours, and have a great week!