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Melksham Seniors group has produced their report for July, looking back at many successful meetings and events, and looking forward to events planned ahead.
Chair of the Seniors, Brian Warwick reports, “Way back in April we started the new quarter with the Senior Forums Community Day at the Assembly Hall.
“The Community Day held on Saturday 22nd April at the Assembly Hall provided us with a great opportunity for all our citizens young and old to see and talk to a wide range of local organisations who do a fantastic job in helping to improve the quality of life for so many people in our community. It was a remarkable success with in excess of 600 people attending and involved an incredible range of local organisations that regularly support older people in our community, and to whom we are most grateful.
“Our aim was to demonstrate the depth of support in Melksham provided by the voluntary sector for activities for the health and well-being of older people and to strengthen that sense of community spirit by demonstrating different ways of improving
“The Film Club has had several great successes in the last quarter with several fantastic humorous and thought-provoking films. The Monday activity club is going from strength to strength, with many new members from Bowerhilll and the parishes.
“We also much appreciate kind support of the Melksham Area Board and in particular Melksham Town Council, along with those businesses that continue to support us in our aims to reduce loneliness and social isolation in our community.
“We were most surprised to learn however, the lack of knowledge in the community as to the provision of local leisure facilities and amenities and in particular how they are paid for by our community, and how the likes of the Seniors Forum is financed.
“The upkeep and maintenance of the Assembly Hall for instance is paid for by the residents of the town from the rates of Melksham Town Council and the funding generated from the Assembly Hall income. This is the same with funding for many of our local amenities and organisations which are well supported by grants from the Town Council.
“It is surprising how often ratepayers living in Melksham Without write to the Melksham News on issues that require funding by Melksham Town Council rather than their own parish. It is appreciated that it is difficult to understand who pays for what in Melksham, but this is one of the peculiarities of local government funding and why it is often difficult to raise the necessary funding for local infrastructure improvements, that are not paid for by County.
“The parishes such as Melksham Without fund their local Village Halls, and community organisations via their grant scheme, unfortunately, the grants to the seniors have in the past come very low in the parish priorities.
“The parish also meets the expenditure needed for the local built-up environment furnishings and make small contributions towards toilets etc in Melksham.
“Returning to funding, Melksham Seniors have to generate considerable resources by members’ own fund raising, donations and sponsorships for we receive no revenue funding from the Area Board or Wiltshire Council, though we did received a welcome grant of £2,500 from the Town Council in 2016/17 and an additional £150 grant from Melksham Without towards transport cost for their parish disabled and older people; that was of course very quickly used up to meet the average cost for each event of £40.
“We are not sure how we shall be able to continue subsiding the parish membership which is quite considerable. Those shortfalls will be discussed at a forthcoming meeting of members. One suggestion is that the membership in each of the parishes has their own fundraising events to cover the revenue needed.
“In the coming months we have a very busy period with many special events which are mentioned elsewhere in the Melksham News. The International day of Older People is going to be a great day of fantastic entertainment and a high tea. Tickets, which will go very quickly, will be on sale soon from the TIC and the Assembly Hall at a date soon to be announced.
August activity club
“The August activity club meeting on the first Monday in August will start at 1.00pm with a free hot lunch for members at the Forest Community Centre. The September 18th Film Club meeting will start at 12.30pm and will also include a special hot lunch, along with demonstrations by a celebrity chef.
“Then on the 2nd of October we shall be holding the very special International day of Older People at the Assembly Hall with great entertainment including the highly popular Daisy Chain production and their fantastic show.
“More information will be in future editions of the Melksham News and on our website.”