I regularly state that the Town Council is a small organisation made up of 16 volunteer elected Councillors and 5 paid members of staff, some of whom are part time. Supporting a growing town such as Shepton is therefore a huge task and much of the good in our community is carried out by community groups that the Council supports financially.
The Council operates two grant schemes: our Community Donations scheme considers applications twice a year and we award grants up to £2,000 on a one-off basis. Our other scheme, Community Grants is an annual scheme to support organisations either on a one-off basis or for longer-term projects.
Last Tuesday the relevant Council committee considered applications for the latter, Community Grants scheme. I am pleased to say we awarded grants will be awarded in the new financial year to the following organisations:
£800 to SWEDA (Somerset and Wessex Eating Disorders Association) which supports people with eating disorders. They aim to improve health and wellbeing to aid recovery by changing behaviours and this funding will be invested into youth sessions.
£3,000 to the Rubbish Art Project to take forward a new and exciting art project entitled Friends of Dorothy as part of an overarching 3-month art exhibition; The Wizard of Woz. The Rubbish Art Project is a community hub with the principle aim of furthering the arts, wellbeing and connectivity and this project is aimed at embracing the LGBTQ+ community. The funds will be used to pay towards support sessions, materials and exhibition costs as well as to deliver creative writing and photography workshops.
£3,000 to the Wassail Theatre Company to bring a youth theatre and summer school to Shepton for the purpose of creating heath, culturally connected communities. Local young people will be able to participate in a year-long programme which will culminate in theatre performances (pending lockdown restrictions). They are currently operating on Zoom.
£3,200 to Active and Touch which is a body that wishes to introduce a new service to the residents of Shepton, to combat social exclusion and loneliness by offering a variety of activities, newsletters, phone calls and friendship clubs. The funds will assist with set up costs to promote the scheme, recruit volunteers and pay for training and overheads. This is a three-year project that is being developed and the town council has offered its support over the three year period.
The council continues to make an annual grant to the YMCA for youth services to deliver group and individual support to the young people in town. It also gives a grant each year to Citizens Advice Mendip, to provide support and advocacy services for those that need support and advice.
Full details of both grant schemes can be found on the Town Council website (sheptonmallet-tc.gov.uk). We welcome applications from everyone in the community!
Matt Harrison, Chairperson
Shepton Mallet Town Council