Here is the full text of Mel Usher’s inspiring speech at our conference in Bridgwater on June 28th.
“What am I doing here amongst all of these big hitters…the County Council, Public Health Somerset and national government? After all we are a parish council…and we all know about them…….. trumpton mayors, dog poo, allotments and spats in the local paper on how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.
We had an inspiring afternoon hearing about successful community transport and information hub projects, and a tour of the disused Town Hall that is a major renovation project.
STF Members Wiveliscombe Area Partnership (WAP) were our hosts. WAP established the successful WiveyLink community transport scheme around 13 years ago, and now run four vehicles using 36 volunteer drivers, with a turnover of £100K pa. They also run the town’s Community Office, a valued hub for information and agency surgeries.
Our event in Martock attracted 20 people to hear about the Our Place programme, a Government scheme run by Locality. It gives communities the opportunity to address a particular local issue – for instance in Martock this was social isolation and health inequality at a time of cuts to local health & social care services.