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The ‘Connecting Communities’ programme is designed to help public service providers listen to, and meet the needs of, all the diverse people and communities who live in the area.  The approach has been built around five key principles: ‘listen, prioritise, join-up, work with you and share ideas’.  This initiative has come at the right time - getting the input of local people in order to design the right services is seen as increasingly important and, as there is now much less public funding available, local people and neighbourhoods are being asked to help run services too.  Each area is supported by a local ‘Forum’ that works together to improve local engagement between public services and local communities and encourages local people to talk to each other, share their skills and ideas.  You are able to view the area profile for the Somer Valley on this page.  All the Connecting Communities Forum meetings are open to the public.

The Somer Valley Area Forum meeting dates

Dates for forthcoming meeting are:

Thursday 20th September 2018, 6pm (Swallow Community Cafe, St Nicholas Church Tea Rooms, Church Road, Radstock BA3 3QQ)

Thursday 29th November 2018, 6pm (Town Hall, The Island, Midsomer Norton BA3 2HQ)

Key Positions and People involved with Somer Valley Area Forum

B&NES Sponsor B&NES Vice Sponsor B&NES Lead Officers Forum Chair Forum Vice Chairs
Andrew Pate Richard Baldwin Sara Dixon and Alison Wells Lynda Robertson Karen Walker  

Somer Valley Forum Meetings

Tuesday 24th July 2018, 6pm, Camerton Community Hall, Meadgate, Camerton BA2 0NL

The main theme of this meeting was Rural Transport Issues - a topic requested by Timsbury Parish Council.  Cllr David Collett from the Parish gave an introduction which touched on the difficulties faced by residents of all ages living in rural communities with limited access to public transport.  The Forum then heard from Chris Head, Executive Director of the West of England Rural Network (WERN) and Chair of the Chew Valley Forum.  Chris gave a strategic overview of rural transport and the role played by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA).  The Forum then had presentations from four, local, community transport providers.  SWAN Community Transport's talk also featured a video highlighting the work of their volunteer drivers.  This can be found hereMidsomer Norton and Radstock Dial-a-Ride's presentation can be found on the right hand side.  Wellow Community Mini-Bus also gave a talk on their formation and how the service is used by residents.  The Midsomer Norton and Radstock Community Service Vehicle also gave a talk on the service they offer.  As a result of the meeting's discussion, a working group of parishes will be established to discuss the issue in more detail.

The Forum heard from the Police with an update on local crime statistics and also from the Council's Community Safety team on the Joint Community Safety Plan - a draft copy for consultation can be found on the right hand side.

There was also information given about the Cycle Tour of Britain which will pass through the Somer Valley on 4th September.  A presentation with useful links can be found on the right hand side.

Wednesday 20th March, 6pm, The Somer Centre, Gullock Tyning, Midsomer Norton BA3 2UH

This meeting featured an extended Community Showcase where the Forum heard from the Council on 1 Big Database; Rainbow Resource; Wellbeing Options and the Fit for Life Strategy.  The Forum also heard from Ketyn Jepson of Age UK B&NES on the services they offer and noted that the range of these had not been fully appreciated.  Mike Strathdee from DHI  (Developing Health and Independence) spoke about their Hub at Midsomer Norton and the Forum heard directly from a service user with their moving, personal story.  The main topic was an update from the Council on the Somer Valley Enterprise Zone and Broadband.  The presentations from the meeting can be found on the right-hand side.

Wednesday 21st February 2018 (AGM), 7pm, Centurion Hotel, Charlton Lane, Midsomer Norton BA3 4BD.

At the AGM, the Forum welcomed the Council's Emergency Planning team to talk about their work and Community Places of Safety.  They also welcomed back Nick Hall, Chair of Somerset Coalfield Life at Radstock Museum  for an update on their activities over the past year.  Cllr John Bull also gave an update on this year's Somer Valley Walking Festival.  Lynda Robertson was voted as Chair of the Forum and Cllr Karen Walker as Vice Chair.  The Chair's Annual Report gives an overview of 2017 and a look ahead to 2018.

Wednesday 29th November at 6pm, Midsomer Norton Town Hall, The Island, Midsomer Norton BA3 2HQ

The main topic of the meeting was the Council's Budget.  The presentation given at the meeting can be downloaded here.

Tuesday 19th September at 6pm, Swallow Cafe, St Nicholas Church Centre, Church Street, Radstock BA3 3QG

We were delighted to be welcomed to Swallow Community Cafe for this meeting.  This is staffed by local people with learning disabilities, both in the kitchen and front of house, allowing them to gain useful work skills and experience whilst participating in meaningful work that benefits the local community.  The main theme of the meeting was Housing and we were pleased to hear from Chief Executive of Swallow, Bev Craney and some of the service users on their supported housing in the area.  To achieve this, they have worked in partnership with the Council's Housing Service and Gary Ward, Senior Enabling and Development Officer, spoke about how they work with local organisations and developers to secure affordable housing.  Another partner is Julian House and the Forum heard from their Assertive Outreach Worker, Jamie Tutton, on their work with the homeless in Bath and the Somer Valley.  He also spoke about sofa-surfing amongst young people, which was raised by the Forum as a concern.  The meeting also included an update on the Somer Valley Transport Strategy and Somer Valley Enterprise Zone.  A copy of the presentations can be downloaded from the links on the right.

Annual report 2017-18

During the year the Forum had a varied programme of presentations and discussions,including the Modern Libraries programme; changes to Waste Services and Electoral Arrangements.  Also, Community Resiliance, Health & Wellbeing and Local Housing Needs.   The Annual Report provides an update on the Forum’s achievements to date and planned actions for 2018.

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