We are all winding down towards the end of another busy year, (busy decade in fact) we thought we would take some time to reflect back on the highlights from 2019.
Although January was a pretty quiet month, the Wedding Fair at the Neeld Community & Arts Centre brightened up the month, with a selection of stands including photographers, cakes, dresses and transport options. At Stanley Park Sports Ground they were busy hosting the Wiltshire FA Youth Tournament and County Primary Schools Final.
Chippenham Town Council hosted South West in Bloom Spring Seminar at the Neeld Community & Arts Centre. The seminar was the perfect opportunity for competition entrants to get together and show their support for one another, showing community spirit. In the meantime the Neeld welcomed 60’s legend Marty Wilde in concert, which went down a treat.
March saw us celebrate Commonwealth Day, with soldiers from 9 Regiment RLC and the local primary schools in Chippenham come together to learn about each country within the Commonwealth. The Fijian choir also performed throughout the spectacular morning. Although the weather wasn’t on our side the Pancake Race, in partnership with Chippenham BID was still an event to remember. Jazz musician and food critic Jay Rayner wowed and entertained guests at the Neeld.
The Annual Town Meeting took place in April, this saw all Councilors come together alongside the leader of Wiltshire Council, Wiltshire Police and the CEO of Alzheimer’s Support for an evening of presentations and questions from the public. At the Museum, they received an award from the Civic Society for developments on the museum frontage, shop and new gallery.
May proved to be an extremely busy month for all of us. At the Town Hall, Cllr Desna Allen was sworn in as the new Mayor of Chippenham after Cllr Andy Phillips. The Bandstand concerts in John Coles Park started up again for the summer period and the extremely popular Splash Pad re-opened for the warmer seasons. Stanley Park Sports Ground hosted mental health workshops for community club coaches within Chippenham, whilst at the Museum, Artspace-@-Chippenham Museum launched, an inclusive exhibition celebrating local artists, designers and makers work.
June brought the start of Devolution, with the transfer of services and assets from Wiltshire Council over to Chippenham Town Council. In other news, the Family Fun Day at John Coles Park, where we were joined by a selection of charities, organisations and businesses including: 8th Chippenham Guides, Places for People and Early Rise Excellence Centre. The Chippenham Games at Stanley Park proved a massive hit, as it helps bring together primary school children that are preparing for the step up to secondary school.
July was a busy month filled with joy. It was the 180th anniversary of Wiltshire Police. The Museum helped mark and celebrate this achievement through their Crime and Punishment exhibition, which officially opened in August. At Stanley Park, Forest Green Rovers signed a new 3 year deal for the site to be their official training ground, whilst the Neeld had 250 people dancing their night away to the sounds of the 90’s.
We also had our annual Civic Sunday event at St Andrews Church, followed by the awards for this year’s Civic Award winners. Each year, Chippenham Town Council presents Civic Awards to individuals, organisations and groups who have made a material contribution to the advancement, wellbeing and welfare of the people of Chippenham or demonstrated outstanding citizenship. This year’s winners included: Chippenham Gateway Club, Food Box and Open Table, volunteers for RISE, Natasha Savage and Kathryn Brown and finally Nigel Linacre, a volunteer for the local Wellboring charity.
During the summer holidays in August, children were able to learn circus skills and take part in crafts at the Neeld every Tuesday. Up at Stanley Park Sports Ground a study regarding the future feasibility of the site was carried out and Stanley Park was classified as a world class facility, a proud moment for the Town Council.
September flew past with Chippenham Town Council being the first within our sector to take part in a Peer Review from the Local Government Association & National Association of Local Councils, which is a milestone for us here at Chippenham Town Council. We also helped raise money for Macmillian by taking part in the coffee morning, where we raised £279.35.
Merchant Navy Day took place in September, the flag raising ceremony was attended by several guests including a Deputy Lieutenant, Mrs Victoria Nye, DL, a serving Merchant Navy officer, Mr George Belcher & Navy Veteran, Mr Paul Mitchell.
October marked the third year of Chippenham being accredited with the Purple Flag status. Purple Flag is the recognition of an excellent night time economy, specifically between the hours of 5pm – 5am. We are extremely proud to have a safe night time environment and economy.
The Peacock Arts Trail started on October 5, which saw local artists and makers from a vast variety of media types come together and display their work around Wiltshire, including at Chippenham Museum. One of the devolved services from Wiltshire Council was sweeping. As a result of this we invested in our own road sweeper, so it only seemed right we launched our name the road sweeper competition, which proved popular on social media. ‘Sweep Caroline’ came out on top after weeks of suggestions and voting.
Chippenham came together on Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day, in partnership with Royal British Legion to celebrate those who lost the lives fighting for our country between the years of July 1914 – November 1918.
We also partnered with the BID for the annual Christmas lights switch on. This saw thousands of people come onto the high street to see Chippenhams Enchanted Christmas and Scarlett Moffat, the Gogglebox & Queen of the Jungle, switch the lights on for us.
The Vienna Festival Ballet bought Snow White to the Neeld for some spectacular shows through December, whilst Santa’s Christmas Countdown wowed the children on the run up to Christmas.
It’s been an extremely busy but enjoyable year here at Chippenham Town Council and we are looking forward to the year ahead. On behalf of all staff, councilors and volunteers we wish you all a very Happy New Year!