“Communities are doing a Great Job” Says CCS Exec

The Village Agents

CCS Village, Community and Carers Agents are working extremely closely with both the health services and social care to broker a range of support, phoning people to check on their welfare and connecting residents with local support groups.On the 23rd of March, the start of the lockdown, CCS launched a county-wide universal referral link which within four weeks received over 32,000 enquiries. As Village Agent Julie says: “The past four weeks have been absolutely MANIC!”

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CLASHMOB: What’s THAT all about??

Do you play guitar or bass? We have a fun new project for you!

Saturday 5th February is ‘International Clash Day’ as started by KEXP, a radio station in Seattle USA. In celebration of the cultural contribution of former local resident Joe Strummer and the connection between his band’s ethos and Bridgwater’s identity including being ‘a rebel town’, Seed is holding a local event on this day. It will be a ‘Flash mob’ style public performance at the CornHill, Bridgwater where every guitarist of any standard in Sedgemoor can join a backing band in playing the seminal Clash song ‘Should I stay or should I go’. The event will be live streamed worldwide, including via KEXP as an official event of the day.

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Clash Day 2016. Cllr Smedley reads the proclamation in the Engine Room

Seed is providing, creating and delivering effective learning materials (written and video) with Your Guitar Academy and leading up to the event we will hold a workshop (in Bridgwater), enabling even beginner guitarists who only know one or two chords to participate. At the workshop, intending participants will have a group lesson and practice playing the song together. On the day, John D Revelator will also perform and will provide the foundation for the performance for participants to join in with.

If you’d like to join the fun, sign up here.

The Clash Proclamation

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The Proclamation.. Enforceable from Dunwear to Durleigh

Cllr Brian Smedley (Westover) said “Bridgwater has 7 twin towns. One of them is Seattle. If you check out the signposts on the Cornhill you’ll see one finger points directly west to the Pacific Seaboard of the USA. The link was started because of the Strummer link. Strummer came to Bridgwater said ‘this is a Clash town’ and he was right. So he stayed here. Each year on Clash Day we’ve done a link up with Seattle whether it’s from the Engine Room -which was founded in part due to funds raised by Joe Strummer on his last ever Bridgwater gig at the Palace in November 2002 or from other of our partner towns around Europe in the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia. This initiative by the SEED project is a great opportunity to promote Bridgwater, Strummer and  Bridgwater Strummers. “

The  Seattle Twinning

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Northgate: January 2022

Sedgemoor Councillors ‘topping out’ at Northgate

Just before Christmas Westover Councillors attended the ‘topping out’ ceremony at the Northgater development. This ancient Scandinavian tradition probably going back to the Vikings involves putting something green and growing on top of the highest point of your building. They did this with a shrub and then got us all to cover said plant in oil, salt and, oh I don’t know, ‘Myrrh’ maybe. This means the buildings reached it’s highest height and we’re now heading towards a Spring of intense works ready for a summer of loveliness on the blossoming Brewery Field and an autumn of a fully functioning and open leisure complex and town centre park. That said, at the moment we have a mighty morass of mud and an open ditch to stare at plus a concern that the height of the actual field, never mind the building, seems to be somewhat nearer the rooftops than originally thought. So the main plan for January will be to organise a site visit for residents to inspect the operation and see for themselves. If you’d like to come on a visit write to us at westoverward@gmail.com.

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Bridgwater Town Hall Boost for Vaccination Campaign

Town Clerk David Mears and Town Council Deputy Leader Kathy Pearce with NHS staff at the Town Hall drop-in centre

Bridgwater has the lowest take up in Somerset for the Covid vaccination and so to address this Bridgwater Town Council has provided space for the NHS  to open up a walk in and get vaxxed drop in centre at the Town Hall . Leaders of Bridgwater Town Council were at the Town Hall this morning to spread the message.  “Take up remains poor and we have to urgently address this.” Says Town Council Leader Brian Smedley (Westover)  “To this end, Town Council has offered this space for free and we encourage everyone to simply walk up and get vaxxed at the Town Hall Drop in Centre. ” The Town Hall will be providing this service every Friday from 9 to 5pm and are negotiating more dates.

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Town Development Forum Scrutinises ‘Town Deal Fund’

Keith Thomas, lead consultant on the Town Deal Fund

On Tuesday 23rd November Bridgwater Town Council’s Town Development Forum met to scrutinise the long awaited Town Deal Fund.  The meeting was held in  Bridgwater Town Hall and featured  KEITH THOMAS the lead consultant for PER Consultants alongside the Town Council’s Economy Portfolio Holder  Cllr Mick Lerry. Bridgwater Town Deal includes some £22.6 million for some 11 projects. This amounts to 94% of what was requested. This was added to by the ‘Levelling Up’ fund which added a further £10 million, thereby allowed 2 of these projects to be funded by this and more money to be allocated around the other 9 projects. The next phase involves increased public consultation, hence the appearance at the Town Development Forum.

 

Town Council Leader Brian Smedley looking slightly more cheerful than usual

Chairing the meeting, Town Council Leader Cllr Brian Smedley (Westover) said “The Town Deal initiative was introduced by this Government a couple of months before the 2019 General Election. It’s stated purpose was to regenerate town centres to boost businesses, improve infrastructure and bring communities together. As one of 101 towns named by the Government as eligible, Bridgwater was able to bid for up to £25 million from a national £3.6 billion Towns Fund pot. However, Bridgwater Town Council is NOT in the driving seat here – that’s Sedgemoor District Council, which in fact only now has 2 years of life left in it. “

Cllr Mick Lerry, the Town Council’s sole rep on the Town Deal board

Bridgwater Town Council-despite being the potential chief benefactor, was allowed just one rep on the board and that’s Cllr Mick Lerry, our Economy portfolio holder.  Mick has done a great job in ensuring that the projects included go some way to matching the towns aspirations. That said we need to be clear that this money is clearly not adequate to address all the issues the town faces and people would be wrong to suggest or assume that it is. In fact it doesn’t even amount to a 1/4 of the cost of the by-pass that people said was the towns priority when EDF asked what we wanted and then said we couldn’t have it. But this is money offered and we will take it. The whole process comes at a very strange time when we are going through a totally unnecessary and unwanted major re-haul of local government. Somerset will become even more all-powerful (they’re not here tonight and don’t engage at the best of times), Sedgemoor are the key authority-but will be abolished within 2 years and so it’s down to Bridgwater Town Council -the smallest of the councils with the least powers at our disposal, to pick up the pieces. This will hopefully change after Unitary and we will regain the powers that we lost back in the 1970s. This meeting tonight was the start of a wider community engagement to ensure that we make the best use of the money that is there. For this reason we are releasing the minutes of the meeting publicly.” 

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Town Calendar for 2022 Now Out

Now Out!

The new Bridgwater Town Calendar is now out and available from the Town Hall office for only £5.  The calendar features photographs from local contributors  following Bridgwater through the seasons. “The calendar has ALL the dates in it. I know, I’ve checked” said Council Leader Mr September “It’s out well in time for Christmas, for which it’ll be the perfect Christmas present, for people who like calendars for Christmas presents, and it’ll be doubtless selling like Hot Cakes-which we will also consider selling-although I should warn you that you need to get it by January because by July it’ll only be half as useful”