“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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A Credit to our Community

The Somerset Community Credit Union was formed in 2017 from the merger of Taunton Credit Union (established in 1996) and the Bridgwater Credit Union (established in 1998). It covers the whole of Somerset including North Somerset. But what exactly is a ‘Credit Union’?

A credit union is simply a community savings and loans provider. Traditionally, credit unions have been small, non-profit financial organizations set up by members with something in common, such as living in the same town, working in the same industry or belonging to a particular trade union.

They are controlled by an elected Board of Directors at the Annual General Meeting and all members are eligible to stand as nominees for the Board after their first 6 months of membership regardless of the value of their savings. By saving regularly with a credit union you also become eligible for a low cost loan (1.5% interest a month on the reducing balance, APR 19.6%) and all savings are eligible for an annual dividend which is usually about 1.5% so currently considerably higher than that offered by high street banks. Continue reading “A Credit to our Community”

Czechs Win First Bridgwater International Petanque Tournament

Petanque’s coming home (to Prague)

It was 103 years of hurt finally put to rest as the Czech Republic won it’s first ever International Petanque tournament since becoming an independent nation in 1918. In a gripping final, the Czechs – none of whom were Czech -triumphed 12- 9 over Italy (none of whom were Italian) and the coveted ‘Plate of Petanquiness’ was raised aloft by Slavic hands. None of which were Slavic. But, this was no ordinary international fixture. Organised by  Michael Wheatley of the Bridgwater La Ciotat Link Group as part of Twinning week and the Quayside festival, due to Covid and a total lack of international travel, only one of the 16 players was actually from a partner nation (Ana Luisa was 50% of the Portuguese team). The winners -representing the Czech Republic, were Town Council Leader Brian ‘on top form’ Smedley and Tim ‘wasn’t too bad’ Mander, both stalwarts of the Bridgwater-Uherske Hradiste link, Britain’s first post Velvet Revolution twinning link with the Czechs & Slovaks.

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International Petanque Tournament in Bridgwater 9th July

The names are drawn from the chapeau….

As Euro fever sweeps the nation and Clean Surroundings sweep the nearby roads, the final draw for the Bridgwater International Pétanque Tournament has caught the  nations, towns, people playing’s,  imagination. Organiser Michael Wheatley from Pétanque International’s Headquarters (not far from Bridgwater Docks) drew the names out of a hat as eager teams gripped the sides of their chairs to find out who they would finally be playing. The tournament will be held on Friday 9th July from 12 noon to 3 pm at Victoria Park, Bridgwater and teams will be drawn from Bridgwater’s many international partnership towns. Pétanque was invented in Bridgwater’s French twin town of La Ciotat in 1907. Or 1910.

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Bridgwater Twinning Day 2021 Will be Saturday 24th July

From the Art Centre stage Saturday 24th July

For several years now Bridgwater has hosted a special event to celebrate our international links. Always held at the Bridgwater Arts Centre and often featuring touring musicians and guests from our partner countries we are once again hosting an event and the date has been set for Saturday 24th July to coincide with the many other cultural events of the Quayside Festival. In 2020, due to the pandemic, we held the event online, but this year we are going to do a hybrid version which will see the Art Centre converted into a TV studio for the evening with local musicians on stage playing live and film links to our partner countries. The event will start at 8pm and finish at 11, onstage at the Bridgwater Arts Centre, and at the same time live streamed via You Tube. There will be a live audience and the bar will be open-but tickets will be limited due to covid distancing precautions. Tickets are on sale now from the Bridgwater Arts Centre.

Bridgwater has 6 official Twin towns – La Ciotat in France, Homberg in Germany, Uherske Hradiste in the Czech Republic, Marsa in Malta, Priverno in Italy and Camacha in Madeira. We also have special links with Bridgewater Massachusetts in the USA.

Students, musicians, sports teams and general tourists frequently visit these places, although tours have all but dried up during the pandemic.

Brian Smedley & and Yvette Staelens will be fronting the music for the evening

As a preliminary taster to the event we held an ‘International Petanque Tournament’ between the Twinning Clubs  at Victoria Park from 12-3pm on the Friday 9th July. The Czech Team won and you can read how here.

The Art Centre event on the 24th July will feature live musicians including Yvette Staelens, Elaine Di Campo, Brian Smedley, Allan Gadd, Andy Burston, the talented Polish singer songwriter Mariusz, Cat’n’Uke plus the Bridgwater Ukelele Strummers Club (BUSC).

For more about Bridgwater’s twinning links click here.


From the Art Centre stage Saturday 24th July

Monitoring the Northgate Project:- July 2021

Northgate -an historical hole emerges

It’s now Month 3 of the Northgate project and ward councillors continue to meet with Sedgemoor officers and Wilmott Dixon staff to pass on concerns by residents. At the latest meeting we look towards July when the Construction phase is due to start, residents concerns about ASB, lighting, litter and disturbance need addressing and a new development arises with a major discovery underground – a hole with bricks in it which no-one expected -so we got the Historians in.

Following reports that a cellar had been discovered over the weekend near the Mount Street entrance to the main site we spoke with site manager Jonathan Owen who told us they had uncovered a cellar which they believed belonged to a registry office. He assumed this as an older worker had said he had been married there. He also said they had found a concrete floor some 20 feet below surface and a fuel store on the site of the actual brewery.  There was also a whole granite cobbled yard and flagstones under the tarmac. We asked him to make sure he had photographic and graphic recorded evidence of this and we asked SDC if the County Archaeologist could be brought in.

The Brewery

We also consulted local Historians Miles Kerr-Peterson and Tony Woolrich who were interested in the site as it could be early Victorian and certainly was likely to be related to the Union Workhouse nearby as after the Poor Law of 1836 registrations were introduced. There was also the possibility of an earlier house on the site. Miles said “There looks to be a building on the site in the 1730s. See Stratchey’s Map, then the 1819 map (here). This looks like a Victorian villa, later incorporated into the Brewery. However, 1810s Town Plan suggest a building on the site, so could be older. There were also some Medieval suburbs in the area too, but unlikely to be  them if west of Angel Crescent. If 1730s, even if reused for the Victorian villa, its certainly a feature of note and the county archaeologist should be notified” Continue reading “Monitoring the Northgate Project:- July 2021”