In the current situation the whole country finds itself in, community is more important than ever.
Somerset Day 365 is a promoter of Somerset-based events. The Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic means we may not be able to physically celebrate our county with many wonderful events this year, particularly in the lead up to Somerset Day on 11th May, as event organisers are understandably cancelling events in light of Government and World Health Organisation advice.
Instead we will be continuing to celebrate Somerset as a community online. Our aim is to lift spirits and create a hub for community conversation.
In order to do this we will be using our social media platforms to share what will be operating in local communities, keeping spirits high with fun and interesting social media posts about our beloved county and sharing stories and news from our followers and supporters.
Nigel Muers-Raby, Somerset Day 365 CEO and Founder said “In our current situation, community is more important than ever. Voluntary activities and diversification of businesses large and small has shown us community spirit and allegiance goes beyond four walls.
“We wish everyone well in the challenging days and weeks ahead, and we look forward to sharing our Somerset Day community spirit online.”
Somerset Day 365 is asking community groups in the county with initiatives and activities they would like to share to contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or send a message on Facebook @SomersetDay365.
The Mayor of Taunton, Cllr Fran Smith, has given a personal thank you on behalf of the town to a local businessman who repaired the iconic Vivary Park gates free of charge.
Jason Bailey of Montaz Engineering Solutions Ltd responded to an emergency call out from SWT’s open spaces team after the cast iron gates were damaged overnight in February.
Several pieces of the historic gates were found scattered on the ground when staff arrived to open them early on the Sunday morning.
Mr Bailey, whose Taunton-based firm carries out work on the Council’s commercial vehicles, arrived to collect the broken pieces and take them to the workshop at Bishop’s Hull.
Experienced welder Rob Brookes-Wait carefully restored them and made a replacement part for one piece that was missing. He then worked on site at Vivary Park to fix the restored section into place. The work was completed within four days.
Mr Bailey wrote to SWT saying that despite being instructed to undertake this work at the usual rate he intended to make no charge and to offer the repair as a gift.
He said: “It was especially important for me to be able to support the Council and restore these gates for the people of Taunton. They are probably one of the most recognisable structures in the town leading the way to one of the best loved, well-used parks. My company has made charity donations to many local good causes over the years. I feel it’s important as a local business to put something back into the community so as soon as we were asked to carry out this work I’d made up my mind to do it for free.”
Mr Bailey and his wife Sharon, who also works for the family company which employs 10 staff, were invited to Deane House for a Civic reception with the Mayor.
Cllr Smith said: “I wanted to personally thank you on behalf of the people of Taunton for your generosity. The craftsmanship is superb and you can see the pride that has been taken in this work. The gesture is very much appreciated. I hope it will help people to recognise the calibre of some of our local businesses, the quality of their work and the pride they have in our community and County town.”
As the Coronavirus developments we wanted to reassure our community about our magazine and door to door deliveries. Public Health England (PHE) has advised that people receiving parcels or direct mail are not at risk of contracting the coronavirus.
Viruses do not survive long on objects, such as letters or parcels. This complements the highly publicised guidance from PHE for people to wash their hands more often than usual using soap and hot water.
We take the health and safety of our community very seriously and are being kept up to date on a daily basis as the virus evolves. All of our delivery team have been briefed on best practice to prevent the spread of any infection, in line with preventative guidance from Public Health England.
Our community magazine brings positive local news and features to your door, but more so as a platform for our wonderful local businesses to reach you to promote their services. In these difficult times, we all need to support our local small businesses and the self-employed more than ever. They rely on your business. Money spent locally stays local.
Be kind and look after each other.
Paul & Clive
“Let’s just stop and remember to live and not just exist” says Charley Elizabeth Torr, Organiser of the Taunton Feel Good Festival.
Not only will this be a great day out with family and friends, but the festival also has a sub-agenda of raising awareness, educating and inspiring people to be mindful of their bodies and wellbeing.
A very special event will be taking place at the Taunton Feel Good Festival this year. The Somerset West and Taunton Council and community groups in Somerset will together step up and sign the Charter For Compassion; declaring Taunton and the surrounding area, a compassionate county. This momentous occasion will be historically significant for Taunton and will take place at Woodlands Castle on Sunday 10th May at 1pm. The signing has been instigated and driven by Andy and Denise Spragg, owners of The Sangha House and festival co-hosts for 2020.
Charley Torr – Director of Charley Elizabeth Events has welcomed this initiative with open arms into the festival. Charley says,
“It is a pleasure to support The Sangha House and their compassion campaign. We are very excited about the signing taking place at our event. This fits well with the ethos of our festival, at the heart of which is compassion. The festival is designed to support, educate and inspire our community with regards to wellbeing, self-care and exploring health as the true wealth in today’s busy world.
We believe that compassion in our communities is essential for us to connect and ensure optimum welfare for all. There are lots of issues that we need to tackle, and Taunton authorities are very much aware of what needs to be done. Signing the Charter really is a proud moment for Taunton, and it is an honour to have this event take place at our Taunton Feel Good Festival.”
The Sangha House will be providing a Health and Wellbeing Zone at this year’s fun festival, offering everything from yoga, tai chi, pilates, dance, meditation and gong baths. Business owners Andy and Denise Spragg are excited to co-host the event this year and state, “It is a pleasure to be involved with the festival and we are excited to bring our team of wellbeing experts and practitioners to our wellbeing workshop zone”. Workshop wrist bands can be purchased on the day and will give access to all workshops that day between 10am and 6pm.
The festival promises to be an action-packed weekend of wellbeing, health, happiness and inspiration and features delicious food, live music and entertainment,;talks, classes and workshops and lots of exciting stalls, treatments and activities.
Festival Organiser Charley Torr states, “The number one aim of the festival is to make festival goers smile. We strongly believe in ‘Feel Good Therapy’ to wash away your worries for a day or two. It’s a weekend of feel good fun, so bring your loved ones, friends or come alone, we have something for everyone. Our festival programme is jam packed with the South West’s leading practitioners, therapists, musicians, entertainers and producers. We come together to bring you the opportunity to experience a weekend of feeling good.”
The festival will host an exciting line-up of exhibitors that includes; Riverford Organic, Nuffield Health and Taunton Kinesiology. These are only a few of the 100 exhibitors expected at the festival!
Everybody needs some time to relax and chill out, and to help you get that well deserved ‘me time’. The festival will be offering treatments from local therapists including massage, reflexology and various holistic therapies. It will also be home to a handful of trusted readers to offer spiritual guidance and life coaching.
The festival will host a selection of inspiring guest speakers who will shine expertise on all kinds of interesting topics including ‘Kicking Your Inner Critic to the Curb, ‘Mindfulness for Busy People, ‘Plant-Based Baking with Healthier Alternatives’, ‘Buddhism It's Roots, History & Place In Our World Today’ and the ‘Strengthening Of Chakras Through Yoga’, and many more. Come and join in and learn something new!
The festival is complete with a great line-up of live music, featuring Rachael Sweeting Acoustic Guitar & Singer, Marnie Blues Band, exciting 60-person Rock Choir, a local Samba drumming band and many more. The festival will be providing an unlimited supply of entertainment!
You won’t be short of a bite to eat either, the festival will host a delicious range of street food including healthy feel good food, vegan and plant-based dishes, Mexican and Italian. Stars of the show also include Exeter Gin’s pop-up Gin Palace, a vintage tearoom and nutritious smoothie bar, also selling authentic crepes courtesy of Lemon Jelli Events – ultimate feel good treats! Visitors will be able to enjoy the feel-good vibes and indulge in a spot of retail therapy, there will be lots of artisan stalls and natural products to peruse.
There will be lots of fun for the children too with face painting, archery on the lawn, arts and crafts, horse and cart rides and much more.
You can follow the event on Facebook, @charleyelizabethevents and Instagram, @tauntonfeelgoodfest. Come and experience a fun day out with your family and friends and try things you wouldn’t normally do. Take the much-needed time for yourself and learn all about looking after your mental and physical health. We all need a little ‘feel good’ therapy!
This wonderful festival weekend will take place on Saturday 9th & Sunday 10th May at Woodlands Castle. Advance tickets are £5 per day or £9 for the weekend online, or £6 on the day. Tickets can be bought online at www.tauntonfeelgoodfest.co.uk. Children go free and well-behaved dogs are permitted as well. Bring your picnic rug and snuggle in for some feel good fun!
An outstanding Police Cadet, call handlers who have helped save lives and Thornbury Community Speedwatch Team were amongst those recognised at a PCC Pride Awards ceremony hosted by Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Sue Mountstevens.
During the ceremony, which took place on Tuesday 10th March at Police and Fire Headquarters in Portishead, the PCC recognised 20 worthy winners with PCC Pride Awards.
Winners and their guests were then invited to have lunch with the PCC and Chief Superintendent Will White before enjoying a tour of the communications centre where ‘999’ and ‘101’ calls are received.
PCC Sue Mountstevens said: “I’ve always considered hosting the PCC Pride Awards one of the best parts of my role as I get to say a big thank you to some truly extraordinary people in our community. I am delighted that over the past eight years so many people have chosen to nominate these ‘silent stars’, who go about their daily business with little or no recognition.
“These awards have highlighted just some of the very special individuals we have living and working amongst us and their exemplary efforts are hugely appreciated across Avon and Somerset. It’s important we pause and take the time to celebrate these inspirational and selfless individuals who work hard to help keep our communities safe and feeling safe.”
During the afternoon lunch the winners told the PCC what they thought of the day:
Call handler Helen Collier has been an exemplary member of the police control centre for 13 years. She was specifically recognised for her empathetic approach that contributed to saving a woman’s life. Helen said: “It’s nice to be recognised for the job that we do.”
Jo Sampson was recognised for her fantastic fundraising skills. She has been named a community champion as she goes above and beyond to support her local community. Jo said: “You do not realise what you actually do until someone says it out loud. You do not do it for the recognition but it’s lovely to be valued.”
Rachel Eveleigh was recognised for her selfless dedication in her role as Volunteer Cadet Leader for the Weston-super-Mare Police Cadets.
Annie Griffin was nominated for her hard work in the probation service, she goes above and beyond to support those released from Horfield Prison. Annie said: “I feel really touched that someone took the time to nominate me to give that recognition for my work. I have worked in probation services for 36 years and I’ve never felt as happy or more fulfilled than I do in my current role. I come in everyday and I actually feel like I make a difference and the people I work with really respond well to someone who cares.”
Jonathan, a call handler, was recognised for the incredible support he provided to a female who called 999 after someone crashed into her and her partner’s car earlier this year. Jonathan said: “I’m happy that I’ve received recognition but I think everyone in the communications centre should be recognised. Everyone works incredibly hard.”
DC Darren Taylor plays an important part in managing offenders across the force. He was recognised for the significant impact he has had on one of the men he has been working with. Darren said: “It was fantastic to see the diversity and breadth of experience at the ceremony, I am proud to serve Avon and Somerset Constabulary especially working in the IRiS team. As IRiS Offender Manger, I work with the highest risk offenders providing them with a consistent structure and encouragement to make positive changes to not only their lives but to their families and the communities that surround them. I am extremely honoured to receive the award as it is great to be recognised for the work that we do.”
PCSO Michael Benfield was recognised for his hard work in supporting local businesses in Worle who had issues with anti-social behaviour last year. Following his support the area now feels much calmer. Michael said: “It’s lovely to be recognised on an individual basis but it’s all a team effort. I joined this organisation many years ago as a handyman but applied to do this role 14 years ago and I have been working in the area since. Everyone works well together and everyone gets stuck in to problem solve and help people with their problems and that’s what I like about it.”
Police Cadet Katie Brueford is recognised for her dedication and commitment to the Cadet unit. Her first aid training equipped her to support one of her peers when they had a fit in school last year. Katie said: “I felt quite shocked that I was going to get an award at such a high profile event. The cadets are great leaders and I feel proud that they had chosen me to be nominated for this award.”
The Thornbury Community Speedwatch Team were recognised for their hard work and dedication in keeping the roads safe in Thornbury, they have a small team but make a significant positive impact. PCSO Sheryl Drewitt, who nominated the Speedwatch Team, said: “For such a small group of people managing a wide area, the Thornbury team do a fantastic job in keeping the roads safe. The reports are very impressive and have made a significant positive impact on the community.”
Call Handlers Emily Chadburn and Samantha Guest were recognised for their fast actions and professionalism when a woman called 999 when her car was stuck in a flood last year, their expertise ensured a life was saved. Emily and Samantha said: “It’s nice to be recognised as individuals but everyone in the communications centre does what we do and works hard.”
Kate Chapman was nominated for her commitment to a pilot scheme in the Police Control Room this year, following her hard work the force have taken on changes to improve ways of working. Kate said: “I’m very proud to be acknowledged for the work. My work is made much easier thanks to being part of an amazing team.”
Somerset West and Taunton Council is working in partnership with the Somerset Wildlife Trust to identify and create a number of species-rich wildflower meadows across the district.
The meadows will initially be created as part of a pilot project on Council owned land in Grange Drive, Leycroft Grove and Moorfields, Taunton; Gay Street, Wellington; and at Seaward Way, and Culvercliffe, Minehead.
The Council will also be setting aside wild areas in its Green Flag accredited parks at Taunton’s Vivary, Victoria, Comeytrowe and French Weir parks, Wellington Park. and Swains Lane Nature Reserve in Wellington.
The initiative is part of the Council’s commitment to protecting and improving biodiversity, identified as a priority in the emerging climate change strategy.
In establishing ‘wilder’ areas on council owned land and within its parks, the wildflower meadow project hopes to help boost biodiversity, supporting pollinator species in particular.
It will also help to connect existing green spaces which will improve the resilience of the district’s landscape as a whole in the face of a warming climate.
The pilot areas are amenity spaces that are traditionally cut every few weeks during the summer months.
Cllr Peter Pilkington, Executive Member for Climate Change, said: “The Council is committed to creating a more sustainable future for everyone, putting climate and environmental responsibility at the heart of everything it does.
We are excited to be developing this project with the Somerset Wildlife Trust who share our belief in the need for ownership and involvement around climate change.
The Council currently cuts an area the size of Belgium in the course of a season, but we are looking to let some of these areas ‘rewild’ by letting the grass grow longer and sowing wildflowers.
This taller grass will allow a range of grass species to develop, increasing the biodiversity in the area. Tall grass is just as important for wildlife as wild flowers, as it gives animals shelter and somewhere to hunt, breed and feed.”
Wild flower meadows provide shelter and food for important pollinators, and in particular, bees. There are over 250 species of bee in the UK and they play a vital part in supporting the ecosystem. The UK has lost 97% of its wildflower meadow since the 1930s.
Jolyon Chesworth, Head of Engagement at the Somerset Wildlife Trust, said: “There are around half a million football pitches worth of gardens in the UK, plus parks, playing fields, road verges and roundabouts. If managed correctly, our towns and cities can act as havens for wildlife, creating Nature Recovery Networks that connect urban and rural areas to help restore wildlife. Insects, including bees and butterflies, are dying out up to eight times faster than larger animals and 41% of insect species face extinction. However, this initiative to help sow wildflower meadows and ‘rewild’ our parks can play a crucial part in stopping declines. Importantly, these areas won’t just provide a rich source of food but will provide habitat throughout the year for animals to shelter.
“It’s not just good for wildlife but for people as well, the sight of a wildflower meadow, teeming with bumblebees and butterflies, enhances our green spaces and our enjoyment of them and all the evidence suggests that towns rich in wild places and wildlife also boost our own wellbeing. We hope this initiative will be just the start of turning Taunton Garden Town into a place where people and wildlife thrive together.”
More information on the Wildflower Meadow Project can be found on our website https://www.somersetwestandtaunton.gov.uk/meadow-pilots/
Comedian Ed Byrne is appearing in Taunton on Friday 27 March 2020. Genius Events are delighted to welcome him on his tour...
Ed Byrne – If I’m Honest….
Join Ed as he takes a long hard look at himself and tries to decide if he has ANY traits that are worth passing on to his children
Ed Byrne presents his brand-new masterclass in observational comedy hot on the heels of his 17/18 Touring hit, Spoiler Alert!
A TV household name, in the past year Ed has appeared on Live At The Apollo (Host, BBC), Mock The Week (BBC), The Pilgrimage (BBC), Top Gear (BBC) and QI (BBC).
See Tickets - http://bit.ly/2Xo8pmG
Ticket Master - http://bit.ly/2tOkYdY
Praise For The Last Tour:
✭✭✭✭✭ “A one-hour tour de force performance from the master comedian” BROADWAYBABY
✭✭✭✭✭ “Hysterical…..a must see show. My face hurts from laughing so much!” The Student Newspaper
✭✭✭✭✭“The hour is self-deprecating, never self-indulgent, and his packed audience are well entertained” SUNDAY EXPRESS
✭✭✭✭✭ “Expert stand up from the brilliant Ed Byrne” FRINGE BISCUIT
✭✭✭✭ “Thoroughly entertaining… he is a total pro and terrific company” THE TIMES
✭✭✭✭ “There is a reason why he has become a household name” ED FEST MAG
Somerset West & Taunton Council is consulting on a proposed new Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) to allow it to deal more effectively with anti-social behaviour.
A PSPO is a power under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, that allows a council to impose restrictions in particular areas to tackle nuisance or problem behaviour.
SWT is reviewing its policy in a bid to make it easier to identify and address issues in Taunton and surrounding open spaces as part of its Streetwise initiative
to ensure a joined up approach to anti-social behaviour.
The revised Public Space Protection Orders will allow the Council to tackle a broader range of anti-social behaviour in conjunction with partners, particularly the Police.
The proposed conditions would set the boundaries of what can be regarded as unacceptable behaviour, and the areas it covers which means the Council and Police can enforce measures decisively and quickly.
The new Orders could result in fixed penalty notices of £100 or fines of up to £1,000 if convicted of breaching the PSPO in court. They are not designed to make money for the Council, however, any money received in penalties is ring-fenced for Streetwise work.
Cllr Chris Booth, Executive Member for Community, said: “PSPOs are designed to ensure the law-abiding majority can use and enjoy public spaces, safe from anti-social behaviour.
We’ve been working with partners including the Police, to identify issues that could have a detrimental impact on people who live, work or visit the town, many of which are linked to alcohol and drug dependency.
Our aim is always to make an early intervention, and to take the opportunity to engage and improve behaviour, but no-one should have to endure behaviour that has a negative impact on them, their environment or the community in which they live or work.
The existing PSPO has been ineffective as it was unfortunately often unenforceable. We are now restarting this process and want public feedback to be a key part of helping to improve our district through enforceable rules.
We hope people will engage with the consultation process to revise the PSPO powers and help to make our county town and associated open spaces safe and welcoming.”
The consultation runs for six weeks from today (2 March) and will give members of the public a chance to put forward comments and suggestions including other locations.
The full consultation document is available to view on our website www.somersetwestandtaunton.gov.uk/pspo
Paper copies are also available at Deane House, Taunton, and West Somerset House, Williton.
Responses can be made using the online consultation portal https://yoursay.somersetwestandtaunton.gov.uk/or by returning the paper questionnaire by freepost.
Genius Events are thrilled to unveil Taunton’s Premier Comedy Club! A new and exciting bi-monthly Stand Up Comedy Evening to be held at CICCIC’s amazing Memorial Hall in Paul St, Taunton. Our opening night is Friday 10 April! CICCIC is the home of Stand Up For Cider. For this exciting new show, it is being transformed into an intimate club with an amazing atmosphere.
We’ve pulled out all the stops to bring you the most exciting acts from across the UK and pop them on stage in Taunton.
You’ll get the chance to see several comedians on the night from up and coming local talent to the cream of the UK Comedy Circuit. We are also planning on bringing some well-known comedians who like to test their material at small clubs like Genius Comedy Club before they take it to the Edinburgh Comedy Festival or out on Tour.
The evening will be unadulterated, full of surprises and have you laughing all the way through the weekend. So why not relax in comfort, enjoy a drink or three, while we take you on a few hours journey of forgetting your worries.
Laughing is good for your health – so come along and exercise your chuckle muscles!
Tickets are limited and booking is advised. See website for full line-up.
Doors open at 7.30pm for an 8.00pm start and tickets costing £10 are available now by calling 01823 337477 or visit CICCIC BOX OFFICE (£12 on the door – if any are left!)
Stay tuned for updates!