Agenda item

Area Board Priorities Update

To receive any updates on the following local Area Board priorities:


·       Supporting low-income individuals and families – Cllr Antonio Piazza

·       Youth engagement, employment and positive activity opportunities – Cllr Jo Trigg

·       Supporting positive mental health and wellbeing – Cllr Stewart Palmen

·       Supporting the local economy – Cllr Daniel Cave

·       Addressing climate change & Protecting Green Spaces – Cllr Mel Jacob


The Area Board received updates from Lead Councillors in relation to the following local Area Board Priorities:


Supporting low-income individuals and families – Cllr Antonio Piazza

·       Before the last Area Board, Cllr Piazza visited Trowbridge Future and found it very hard hitting to see people queuing up for the community fridge. Appreciation was shown for Trowbridge Future, however Cllr Piazza also noted it was negative as this shouldn’t need to happen.

·       Cllr Piazza would be meeting the Debt Advice Centre Manager for Trowbridge soon.

·       Cllr Trigg stated that a positive aspect had been created from the community fridge, with people often forming friendships and a community feel. Often these people would also attend cookery classes and kindness cafes, which were creating resilience.


Youth engagement, employment and positive activity opportunities – Cllr Jo Trigg

·       Better relationships were looking to be built with local schools and colleges, with the hope that a Youth Forum event could take place in 2025 as part of a national initiative, which would involve young ambassadors taking forward youth action and activity.

·       Reference was made to careers fairs which had taken place.

·       Cllr Trigg had chaired a Children’s Select Committee task group which had looked at how funding and youth provision takes place through Area Boards. A report had been produced before Christmas, with a Cabinet report in response provided after Christmas which had accepted some of the recommendations. Key points of this included that currently Area Board funding came under community services, however it should really come under Children’s Services. Work was also being completed to look at the Education Act for youth provisions and what this means for the Council. Previously there had been push back on the use of funding for repeat projects, however this had been taken away for consideration of how Area Boards could support such projects without them having to attend multiple separate Area Boards.

·       Work had also started with the Wiltshire Youth Partnership regarding how issues could be resolved, how better practice and sustainable provision could be achieved.


Supporting positive mental health and wellbeing – Cllr Stewart Palmen

·       A Wiltshire Parent Carers Council meeting recently took place at the Civic Centre.

·       It was positive to hear from the grant recipients as in their own forms they were providing mental health support for residents in Trowbridge; particularly the Rural Music Group on Gloucester Road who were helping isolated people.

·       During a recent Corporate Parenting Panel meeting, reference was made to a phone application which enables children to journal how their day had been, with the app able to detect warning signs of decreasing mental health and possible need for intervention.


Supporting the local economy – Cllr Daniel Cave (Cllr Palmen provided an update in Cllr Cave’s absence)

·       A lot of positive things are happening in the town with new businesses and empty units being filled as well as a lot of building works.

·       Castle Place now has a new owner who has discussed options other than retail for the facility.

·       The Weaver’s Market is starting again, a month earlier in April. An external company who runs markets for other towns is going to come in and run the April market under the Weavers brand, with the potential for them to continue to run it if successful. This would be a positive step to have the market ran by someone with a good system in place. There is also the intention that the market won’t take a grant from the Town Council this year.

·       Wetherspoons has been undergoing a £2million upgrade with BeeTees recently having reopened and the owners also taking over the Courthouse public house.

·       The Town Hall is looking fantastic with the ballroom reopened and old lifts taken out.


Addressing climate change & Protecting Green Spaces – Cllr Mel Jacob

·       Cllr Jacob recently attended an Area Board Environment Leads event, which had been good and interesting.

·       It was positive to have seen grants awarded to groups protecting green spaces in Trowbridge as one of the areas mentioned in the Leads event was that other Area Boards had targeted grants through their priorities. This had therefore prompted the question as to whether grants and priorities can be balanced more.

·       There has been success in getting a grant from Great Western Community Forests, with over £140K funding secured for tree planting in Trowbridge.

·       There is a desire to identify more areas to plant trees however it is difficult to plant trees without the correct permissions.

·       The importance of planting trees for wellbeing and the investment of the town was stated.

·       A tree warden and parish training event was set to take place in April 2024.

·       Officers Caroline Rea and Emma Glover were thanked for their efforts and support in the grant application process.