Monday 24th April
Well here we are again, another Monday and a packed week ahead.
I was up early this morning and buzzing because there is so much going on within the community of Chippenham at the moment that there are times when the Hub can't keep up.
And to be quite honest this certainly is an issue that we need to address this week!
There are many advantages of being a totally independent organisation, not least because usually it enables community to be first and foremost thing on our minds, but in practical terms there are times when that old evil issue of money pops-up causing us extra work and a rethink!
Of course with the services of our great volunteers, together with community help and fellow trustees, we can keep everything very tight, but we have now got to face it that the funding from Chippenham Borough Lands, who contributed towards our fantastic managers wages for the first two years, has dried up, and this combined with the increase in community demands means that there is both the need for a new part-time person to help carry the load, and some additional income to finance the extra hours that Donna has agreed to do.
This makes applying for funding from various pots of money essential - and if you ask anyone in this sector for one job they find particularly difficult, I can guarantee that the answer they give will inevitably be the sourcing and submission of grant applications at the top of their list!
The Crafty Chainers were at the Hub in great spirit and this along with a revolving door of people left little time for anything else which meant that the afternoon was busy with admin.
A calming concentration saw everything progressing well, that is until the phone rang with a call from BBC Wiltshire Radio asking for Vox Pop to play during the next days early morning news because they were covering the start of the 'Chippenham One Plan' consultation.
Now, not many people know this, but I am an extremely nervous person where public speaking is concerned and at that moment turning my head from form filling on to the intense subject of the planned town wide consultation (that had been been worked on by brighter brains than me) was a difficult in the extreme.
Little did I know that a reporter had also been at the Hub during the afternoon recording our wonderful volunteers views on the consultation for the very same reason.
It had already been a busy day and an early evening virtual 'Teams' meeting with several members of the Town Partnership Board and Wiltshire Council officers to make sure that all would go well with the consultation process capped all....so, you would imaging that I would sleep well, but of course that was not the case. As usual I both dreaded and looked forward to catching-up with my old friend Ben Prater on his show the next day, and so the restless night was really inevitable!
Tuesday 25th April
As it was the interview with Ben we well - he is one of those individuals who can really make anyone forget that others are listening to the chat you are having with him live-on-air!
A while later the Hub day began with a 'diary catch-up' with Donna to ensure that we are on the same page for the rest of the week. Of course this then flowed into a conversation about new plans for the Hub - which then progressed toward plans to celebrate volunteering for the King's Coronation celebrations.
It really is lovely that our manager and her crew have been busy filling up 'Volunteers Thank You Bags' (similar to the bags they are doing for the Food and Drink Festival only on a regal theme rather than food) to award to those nominated by several organisations in our town, backed up by contributions from the crochet/knitting groups and our own volunteers.
At noon there was then a Town Development Team meeting - a mix of traders, community, and company representatives who have been working together now for almost two years to assist in the regeneration of our town centre.
And it didn't finish there.... to complete a very, very full and busy day there was the first official meeting of the 'Learning and Leisure Quarter' at the History Centre from 6pm.
This is the last of the Quarters to get together and covers the area from the Bridge Centre up through to the Brunel Arches and on to Station Hill and the History Centre in Cocklebury Road.
Chippenham can now boast a huge number of people working in their own areas quietly behind the scenes which should result in improvements that will be enjoyed by both present and future generations.
Wednesday 26th April
Wednesday already and the Hub in full swing early with Ray's Room host to the 'Wiltshire Weight Management Course' and the day ahead due to welcome both the Twinning Society and the wonderful new 'Talk Big C' group.
While this was the working agenda for Ian, Pauline, and Donna, I was totally committed to another virtual Teams meeting - this time the subject was applying for grants from the Police Commissioners Fund, the money for which is accumulated from the sale at auction of lost property items that are not claimed after a period of time.
For the past 18 months we have been hosting the superb Fraud Prevention officer for Wiltshire once a month at the Hub and during that time have seen some great work to solve problems that people have experienced in the this area.
It was not surprising to learn that 45% of all crime in Wiltshire is in this genre, but it is shocking to hear that 80% of that is preventable - and so the questions we have asked ourselves is why? and how can the Hub help in this area?
Needless to say, we have plans....but more details of that later!
Early afternoon then saw a really well-attended meeting of the Chippenham Health and Wellbeing Team, a meeting that gets together a hugely diverse range of people from the town and the surrounding villages to discuss areas that affect our lives - from Link transport, to mental health, to the future of our hospital, as well as access to services and local/national issues that affect our community during this difficult 'cost of living' era we live in.
I came away from this feeling that it is very humbling to see what a wonderful area we live in with kindness and actions belying the negativity that is so rife in certain parts of society/social media.
Early evening I watched the Annual meeting of our Town Council on YouTube and with the weeks events still freshly swirling around my mind, I slept with a renewed feeling that all really going in the right direction.
Thursday 27th April
As I left behind a very busy and happy Seniors Group at the Hub this morning to attend the 'One Plan Stakeholders' meeting at the Town Hall I did so with a smile, deep in the knowledge that this is another area where positive people have made a positive contribution to life in our town.
Hub trustee Ian runs this group, with John from Ivy Court setting the quiz questions, volunteer Mike helping out with the Bingo, a member bringing along superb artefacts that he has found over the years, and others contributing their own uniqueness to the group.
It really was a contrast with the more formal setting of the consultation meeting at our lovely Town Hall!!
Later, Mayor, Cllr Liz Alstrom, came in to the Hub to pick up the wall of flowers that the community members had made for her Mayoral Ball on Saturday.
To compete the feel good theme of the week I closed the day with the news that our volunteer, Ann, is now fully qualified to become the Hub's LGBTQ+ representative.
Friday 28th April
As we say at the Hub - if its Friday it must be those lovely ladies from the Knattie Knitters...... and they did not disappoint. However, I was not there to greet them for a change as I was in desperate need of some space and time to catch-up on all the administration that I am committed to; not least the application for funding from the Police Commissioners Fund.
While I had several calls with Donna to see how things were progressing at the Hub the application took every minute of the day, and by the time I finished and pressed the 'send button' it was gone 5pm and my head was frazzled!
The Spring Bank Holiday Weekend....
Ok, so this was a holiday weekend, but as the list in front of me had not reduced sufficiently for a complete rest the days were also filled with the production of several poster (see above); minutes for the Artisan Quarter (and agenda for next), the same for the Leisure/Learning Quarter and the Town Team; purchasing a new computer for the reception at the Hub (not an easy ask at PC World Chippenham!); another grant application....and of course correcting all the mistakes and finishing this diary.