It is always the greatest honour to lay the town council wreath on Remembrance Sunday on behalf of Shepton residents to express our collective gratitude for the fallen from all wars and conflicts to whom we owe so much.

It is also sad to remember that most people at the time thought the “Great War” of 1914-18 was the war to end all wars. Yet the peace treaty signed in Versailles just months after the Armistice sowed the seeds for another world war just two decades later. The cruel lesson of the 20th Century was that Britain, France and Germany needed to be actively working together. Whenever they failed to do so, terrible consequences followed.

Shepton is particularly fortunate to have many good and active local organisations and charities. The town council’s Policy and Resources Committee recently considered a number of community grant applications. The now well-established Snowdrop Festival requested funding for a marquee for next year’s event in February. Again their volunteers have planted thousands more snowdrops to add to the many already planted. Shepton will be looking especially lovely when all these little harbingers of Spring start to poke through the soil throughout the town.

The South West Eating Disorder Association applied for a grant to help identify and offer advice to young people on the complex issues that relate to this challenging and increasingly common problem. It is the first time that we have supported this organisation. The council believes that with all the pressures of modern living, offering advice and support for those in need can have a significant impact on tackling this intractable problem.

The Shepton Rubbish Art Project has also applied for financial help to stage an event for next Easter. Their thriving Art Bank in the old HSBC building has been a centre for invention and creativity for the past year. We want all this hive of activity to continue, as they use a lot of the stuff we throw away to make arresting and startling art. The Art Bank has also recently been a showcase for other community groups to highlight many of the great things that happen in Shepton.

We want to help our community and voluntary sector to grow to offer new opportunities for our townspeople. The town council still has some finance to allow us to show our support for innovative and important projects that contribute to the welfare of our citizens. We are keen to help all local groups grow and thrive, not least because the voluntary sector has become much more important while services shrink or are withdrawn by the higher tiers of government.

Chris Inchley, Chair, Shepton Mallet Town Council