Last week the residents of Shepton Mallet’s West Ward were able to elect five new councillors to the Town Council. Thank you to everyone who exercised their democratic right and congratulations to all five of the new councillors. In the coming weeks our focus will be to on-board the new councillors and welcome them to the organisation ahead of our first meeting of the municipal year.

Shepton Mallet Town Council recently hosted our ‘Annual Town Meeting’; this is our yearly opportunity to give the community a snapshot of what we have been focusing on over the past 12 months, what our immediate projects are and what our longer-term plans are. Without wanting to repeat everything I said (you can watch the meeting on YouTube, details below), it inevitably focused on how we responded to Covid, our immediate plans for supporting Shepton post-covid and the longer-term plans to embrace and maximise the opportunities coming at us whether through economic, health, housing, climate change and government reorganisation.

We know that a substantial role of a Town Council is not to do everything but to coordinate with the community to ensure that the whole community contributes to a better quality of life. It was really encouraging to therefore hear updates from the following community groups about how they positively contribute to life in our town.

– Mendip Citizen’s Advice explained how Covid had presented them with specific new challenges but also how remote working was enabling them to work more efficiently and provide their service to more people at a much lower cost
– The community interest company – 7 Starlings – who is helping shape the revamp of our library brought us up to date with the latest work. To cut to the chase, 21 June will see our newly refurbished library re-open and remaining pride of place at the heart of our town, literally and metaphorically!
– Windsor Hill Wood and the associated Holly and Hawthorn Forest School gave an update on how they are supporting individuals rehabilitate into society and provide practical forest school lessons to children from Shepton
– YMCA explained how they have pivoted their services to young people in the pandemic and how they plan on engaging with youngsters now things are starting to return to ‘normal’

Next year many Councillors want this forum to be even more celebratory; a fun, vibrant networking opportunity to celebrate success as well as learn who does what! Any excuse for a drink!

To watch this year’s meeting, please go online and search for ‘Shepton Mallet Town Council Annual Town Meeting’.

Until next time.
Matt Harrison, Chairperson