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The Parish Council, Volunteers and Projects

25th February 2022 @ 6:06am – by Webteam
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This article is a reminder of how, when, a group of volunteers come together as a team great benefit has been achieved for the community.The article deliberately avoids naming any of the individuals involved, although most Audlem residents will know who they are. Any attempt to name names will inevitably omit others who have contributed just as much over the years.

Audlem 700

In 1996 Audlem laid on a big celebration of the 700th anniversary of the granting of a market to the village in 1296.
The original initiative for this came from the Parish Council at that time, which formed a separate group to coordinate the many activities and events which brought together in total several hundred Audlem residents who played their individual parts. The whole thing was a roaring success and along the way generated several thousand pounds surplus which was used for other village projects.

Parish Plans

Audlem was one of the first villages to produce a Parish Plan in 2005, with a further, updated, edition in 2010. Again these were initiated by the Parish Council, but were carried out by a large Working Group with various sub-committees, all made up of village resident volunteers as well as individual councillors.
The Parish Plans produced a "wish-list" of projects, largely from ideas from residents.

AudlemOnline

One of the spin-offs from the first Parish Plan was AudlemOnline itself. Again initiated by the Parish Council, it was then brought into existence by a group of volunteers, who have run it ever since.

The Public Hall Annexe

The wish to upgrade and expand the facilities at the Public Hall was expressed in the Parish Plan. Several attempts to do something about it came to nothing until an opportunity arose following the closure of Thornton House – this led to the formation of ADCA and made available some "seedcorn" funding to start the Annexe project, which required a Big Lottery Fund grant of over £600,000 to become reality.
The APHAx project was driven through by a group of volunteers within the Public Hall Management Committee, but the point is that it was greatly encouraged and indeed generously funded, by the Parish Council.

Community Projects Group

This was a group of up to a dozen or so volunteers, including a couple of councillors, set up by the Parish Council initially, to try to address some of the issues in the "wish-list". Among other things this led to various tourist-related projects including

  • tourist pamphlets
  • The dioramas and information boards around the village
  • Improvements to the canal towpath
  • Funding to get the Audlem Lass kitted out for passenger services.

Conclusion

Over the past thirty years or so, there have been many projects in Audlem to the benefit of residents and visitors. The common factor in many of these has been a vital original initiative from the Parish Council, followed by the formation of a working group comprising one or two councillors and several volunteers .
The key point is that this Working Group is given a broad objective and then left to get on with it, within some given budgetary constraints.. Such working groups can work much more quickly and more flexibly than the Parish Council itself with its rigid monthly timetable and highly formalised procedures.

This is what we need for the Turnpike Field Car Park project.

John Tilling
Alvar Jones
John Down

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