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The Mayor’s Christmas Message Frome’s amazing community spirit

“Frome has changed again in the last year, with new shops and businesses, more houses and a major new school popping up very recently.

“This puts pressure on the roads and parking, open spaces, sports facilities and everything we need to share as a community.  Combine this with decreased funding from central and local government, and we could easily start to see things fall apart.

“But Frome is rising above that threat because at our core is a solid foundation of community – or more correctly communities.  This is most obvious when new needs arise. The emergence of Fair Frome to address real poverty at the local level demonstrates this perfectly and operates alongside what the Carnival and other community groups have done for years, raising and distributing funds for those most in need, while creating the ‘community glue’ that is so important in defining what makes Frome so unique and special.

“It has been a real pleasure as Mayor to engage with groups from Lego Club to Leg Club – which I didn’t know existed even after more than 25 years as a Frome resident.  I have been consistently amazed by the depth of community spirit and the amount of time people give to good causes.

“We, as Frome people, will need to step up again next year to make the most of important land and buildings which have come back to Frome’s ownership and management during 2014 – the Dippy, Showground, all of Rodden Meadow and the council buildings on Park Street.  I’m incredibly proud to chair a council which has not been afraid to take big decisions in order to achieve this.

“Perhaps because we are stuck in the corner of Somerset and Mendip, there is a fierce independent streak and an attractive bolshiness that remains to the fore – some rough edges that seem to ensure the town retains its own identity and desire to do it ourselves.

“So, while thousands of people pour into the town every month for the Independent Market, that too has developed its own Frome identity, with the vast majority of stalls run by local people, selling local produce, which is surely why it has developed such a unique buzz.

“I am delighted this is the year Frome has stepped more clearly into a ‘green identity’– officially recognised in a major regional award last week.  This is about looking to the future, creating real jobs for Frome and saving money – while also ensuring this is an increasingly pleasant place in which to live.

”Annabelle and I will be at the Big Christmas Lunch on Christmas Day as we have been since it started – yet another example of ordinary people spotting a need and doing something about it, supported by an outpouring of generosity in volunteers and gifts.

“Wherever you are on the 25th, I hope you enjoy Christmas and wish you a very happy 2015.”

Peter Macfadyen, Mayor of Frome