Updated: May 1
I just love Monday mornings because they promise so much in the week to come -alongside of course the challenge to make that pledge a reality.
By the time I arrived at the Hub at just after 9am both Donna and our marvellous volunteer Ian were in full swing getting the rooms up and ready for whatever was to come in the day ahead - no least was the urn heating up to offer the hospitality and sustenance that is needed by us all in the course of a Hub day.
Our new volunteer Bob arrived spot on time after completing his initial training last week and fitted in like a well worn glove, and it wasn't long before the Hub was buzzing with people popping in and much catching-up after the weekend at 'rest'.
As usual my Saturday had became a day of admin - not least having several attempts to ensure that our new blog was correct before pressing that Twitter/Facebook/Instagram button.
Alongside this there was also a rather exciting new project for me to focus on producing an infogram sheet for the Town Team next week in order to let people know of the latest business vacancies stats for April. These are important as they are used as an indication that we are going in the right direction for regenerating the town centre.
As neither of those tasks had been fully mastered that full day, it was then the task that filled the afternoon hours until I was pulled away from the computer at 5pm for some r&r!
This was a day without remorse.....where the business in hand demanded deep concentration, and the flow through the Hub's ever revolving doors meaning that come midday I had made little progress to be ready for the 4pm Artisan Quarter meeting being held in Foundry road at the marvellous local printers premises, Octoprint.
The morning saw a visit by a Chippenham Borough Lands officer who brought in a lady who needed advice, help and guidance, and this saw Donna working the network of amazing support we have at our disposal. However, this work extending to a two hour job that precluded her from other activities - which is where our lovely volunteers and trustees really did come into their own.
As it was, I finished the PowerPoint for the meeting just in time and was pleasantly surprised by the number of councillor, council officers, business owners and traders who turned up to continue the work that is going on in the Upper New Road/Hathaway Park area of the town.
It truly does amaze me just how enthusiastic our community is spending time and effort in making visions of improvements into a reality. Little did we think a year ago that there would be so much activity, and that Chippenham in general would begin to progress in the way it is doing.
As if the day had not been demanding enough Donna was back in the evening to ensure that the group meeting in Rays Room were able to conduct business safely - with the help once again of super volunteer, Ian S.
The morning began with a 'wash-up' meeting of the events from yesterday. This is essential when we deal with any delicate situations and every time we do this we learn through our own harsh analysis of 'what we did well' and 'what we can improve on'. The day that we think there is nothing to learn will be the day that we should close the doors for good!!
An excellent morning Trustees Meeting was followed by a meeting of the Historic Quarter at the Chippenham Museum with a full house of people in the same vain as those around the table in the Artisan Quarter. This was led by chairman, Fred, who has generated enthusiasm to such an extent the there was more than enough offers of help to conduct a thorough photo documentation of the whole area to highlight the things that are in need of tender loving care (and investment).
While all of this was going on there was a full house of activity at the Hub involving Wiltshire Council and Wiltshire College.
These truly are happy full days......
An unusually quiet day which allowed Donna and trustee Ian to visit Doorway and ensure that we are working well in the 'triangle of activity' that exists between them, Chippenham Borough Lands and ourselves. By doing this we can give the maximum service to our community without duplicating the help on offer.
Volunteers Mike and Bob managed to put the gazebo up for the first time in many months - ensuring that we know it is ready for the busy season ahead whenwe will be out and about.
It was great to touch base again with our new sponsors, Wessex Water, and put dates in the diary for progressing this exciting Community Connect project which will join up our work with that of other organisation they sponsor such as Christians Against Poverty and CAB.
Once again there was a sensitive evening meeting that required the reassuring presence of our Trustee/volunteer Ian. We really are very luck in Chippenham to have so many wonderfully kind people who are willing to give up their time..
Well, how did that week disappear so quickly, it seems that within a moment we went from greeting the days ahead to having the morning debrief about the events of the week and the necessity of time for our own families in the coming days.
There was an unusual call on my time in the morning - while the Knattie Knitters and Wiltshire Council Walking Group filled the Hub I was at a press call in the Council offices to promote the start of the six week consultation about plans for projects to improve Chippenham.
To get to this stage there has been a huge amount of work behind the scenes which have enabled us to ensure that from now on our town centre will be defined as the area from the Causeway through to Hathaway Park. This ensures that all of the 333 businesses in this extended area will be considered when applications go forward for projects to improve our beleaguered town centre.
This will benefit all of our community, as from a mental and physical point of view, an accessible and pleasant town centre that is free at the point of contact is both a worthy and equitable aim - just ask those residents in the centre of Swindon what price they would put on a park and river running though their centre or how they would rate a town that is a safe and friendly....I am sure that there answer would persuade even the most sceptical resident that the work we are doing is on the right track!!
So now I really am signing off for the weekend.....or so I say!
I do wonder if the diary pressures from next week will make that yet another promise I am unable to fulfil!!!