The project intends to extend the network services of the Somerset Market Towns Forum to all market towns and larger villages in Somerset and at the same time to extend the range of services provided by the Forum to members and to groups and individuals involved in community led regeneration of market towns. It will also support collaboration between market towns on specific projects; develop and implement a sustainable funding strategy for the Forum and build on good practice from elsewhere for the benefit of Somerset’s market towns.
ABOUT THE PROJECT
Here are some of the initiatives developed through this project:
A new website – www.somersetmarkettowns.co.uk – has been designed to showcase communities’ efforts at improving rural towns and large villages across Somerset, allowing them to learn from other’s experiences.
The site has been developed by Somerset Market Towns Forum (SMTF), a network of community regeneration partnerships from across the County. It currently has 14 Member towns and large villages, including Burnham & Highbridge Regeneration Partnership, the Wiveliscombe Area Partnership and the Langport Area Development Trust, but is looking to welcome new member towns and large villages.
The site features project details, news, events, launches and relevant funding news. It allows a ‘conversation’ between the towns on good regeneration practice, will give towns their own page for information, news & events.
Funded by the Market & Coastal Town Association, the site has been designed by Project Cosmic, a social enterprise with much experience of delivering websites and IT training.
The website goes live on 11th July 2007, and will grow over the following months into a substantial ‘hub’ of information.
Community Ventures Training – June 26th 2007
Community Ventures training is for community groups who are taking on more responsibilities. On June 26th 38 individuals from 28 community groups attended a training event at Bridgwater Exchange.
Three two hour training sessions covered
• Start up guidance
Specialist trainers from the Development Trusts Association, Community Enterprise Unit and Community Ventures consultants provided the training.
The event was held in conjunction with the Community Council for Somerset’s Funding Advice and Guidance Conference which meant that attendees were also able to visit the funding fair and attend other specialist workshops.
The two events combined were attended by 206 people.
Somerset Market Towns Forum who organised the Community Ventures event were very pleased with the take up from community groups many of whom came from market towns who were members of the Forum or who had contacted the Forum for the first time. Others came from a wide range of community groups providing services in rural areas.
The event was publicised through the Market Towns Forum’s own networks, through the Community Council for Somerset, and also through Somerset County Council Rural Project Officers and the Forum’s other partner organisations.
Somerset Market Towns Forum is grateful to DEFRA, Somerset Rural Renaissance Partnership and Somerset County Council who provided funding towards the Forum and the training event.
Following the success of this event a second Community Ventures training day is planned to the north east of the County in the Autumn.