Updated: May 17
TUESDAY 9th May
Yet another Bank Holiday Monday resulted in the week beginning a day late again - but this time the Hub did not reopen ready for the community challenge that every day brings.
This was because a while back we applied to the Chippenham Lions for a grant that would enable most of the 'Hubians' to get up to date First Aid qualifications.
Of course this is not a cheap thing to do, but if we are to ensure that staff, trustees, and volunteers are confident to rise to any challenge that comes at No.23 then needs must, and so the Hub was closed for a whole day to achieve this.
Thanks go to the hard-working Lions who paid for this and to the affable lead for the day, Dave from Wiltshire First Aid, who made the day go by so quickly. I must admit that this was not something that I had looked forward to and to be honest I ran out of the excuses that I had formed in my head to avoid taking part - but in the end there was no way out!
It was not an easy course, especially for someone like me who is not as agile I used to be and blessed with a replacement knee that is not as flexible, but at the end of the six hours the task was completed and certificates earned.
This meant that should the occasion arise, we now have the basic information to use a defibrillator together with being able to at least have confident to step forward and offer the basics that will be needed to control a situation until someone qualified comes along.
With so many people in the area of Borough Parade and a busy flow of traffic going to the service yard, we realised during the course of the day that not only could these skills be called on at any time, but also that there is a good case for a defibrillator to be available at the Hub end of the shopping parade. A request has been made to the landlords, Evolve Estates, for the purchase of one - just watch this space!
WEDNESDAY 10th May
Busy, busy day at the Hub with groups and 'drop-ins' making up for the quiet start to the week!
First thing I had a very interesting ‘Teams’ meeting with a Wiltshire Foundation officer who went through the application we have made for grant funding from the ‘Crime Commissioners Fund’ to assist in dealing with the increase in fraud there is both nationally and affecting the Chippenham community. It is always a very good use of time that I spend with this lady because her experience is invaluable in talking through any plans we have.
This meeting was quickly followed by another - this time with Karen from Wessex Community Connectors to ensure that we know what the expectations are for our involvement in this prototype project. The depth and breadth that Wessex are covering with this innovative approach to community engagement is both admirable and a little worrying . We want to see it succeed, but there are no trench lines to follow and a variety of organisations involved and individuals in the community working together to achieve what could be some tremendous results. Watch this space because as I write the script of this is changing!
While I went to off to 'home work' , Donna had a long day with the excellent 'Not on Your Own' group who are booked in regularly for evening sessions. We are so fortunate to have a great team at the Hub led by our manager who is Chippenham born and bred with a love of the town second to none.
You never really know how things are going to work out when you interview for a new post that also hails the begin of a new untested project, but two years ago while we were still in that initial state of flux, we obviously struck gold!
And the day did not stop there for me either. Another Artisan Quarter meeting saw the good folk of the New Road/Hathaway Park area once again in full voice planning and debating the way forward to make this most interesting part of the town live-up to its full potential. Such a great meeting of local councillors, traders, business owners and good people, who are all really trying to make a difference - you can't help but love Chippenham for its great community spirit...
THURSDAY 11th May
As the sun came up to greet a new day, the prospects that lay ahead had me up early in preparation for the arrival of wonderful folk from the Hub Seniors Group at 10am and the One Chippenham Consultation moving into Borough Parade for a day long session. It was to be one of those rare times when you stand in the street hoping that folk will be kind to you - and then find that the true depth of community camaraderie exceeds all expectations.
There was just one rather sad and 'out of kilter' visitor to the stand area (poor guy), but of everyone else I can only say that the day left me feeling as though I had encountered new friends and renewed acquaintances - with the Environmental Agency man later commenting that he rarely goes anywhere that has a population who are both supportive and informative in equal measures in their critique of the proposals.
Well done Chippenham, proud of you!!
Back at the Hub after the Seniors left for home Mike and Donna did a great job working on the new computer so that the new data gathering system on reception could be up and running. And all the while they also supported a gent who had real problems and was in need of a friendly arm around the shoulder and sanguine advice.
FRIDAY 12th May
Last day of the week and after the early start on Thursday, combined with standing for extensive hours conducting the consultation, I awoke feeling all of my 70 years!!
While the Hub was full to bursting with a meeting in Ray's Room, the Knattie Knitters and a regular stream of 'drop-ins', I was happy to go two doors down to the new Wine Monkey bistro (no wine as not open before you ask!) to the first meeting of the new High Street and River Quarter, where we were able to discuss items that affect the health of our town like the new LEP rules for landlords; Future of our Chamber of Commerce; Shop Front improvements and new data on Vacancy Rates - yes, I know what you are thinking... and I am sure those thoughts are not at all tinged with envy!!
Such a busy four days, with great progress in so many areas and the luxury of breaking for the weekend with the feeling deep inside of a job well done.