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Community Matters Newsletter


Community News
Big Community Energy Switch – Autumn Auction deadline looming

If you want to save money on your energy bills switching suppliers may well help and it’s easier than you probably think.  Last year residents who switched saved an average of £190 a year.  If you would like to see how much you can save register now for the autumn action or after 3 April for the spring auction.  All you need is your annual or recent bill and see website or call the Council customer contact team T: 01643 703704.

Dulverton Community Employment Hub
The latest hub called ‘The Valley’ is being hosted by Dulverton Library. It will be operating on the first Thursday of the month starting in March.
West Somerset now has a ‘Community Employment Hub network’ which consists of five hubs which operate out of Williton, Stogursey, Watchet, Minehead and now Dulverton.
Valued volunteers have been recruited to support the running of these hubs which are for anyone whether employed, unemployed, transferring jobs, self-employment, a business start-ups or about to start work
There will be a range of FREE support available including access to the internet, how to search and apply for work, CV writing or updating, interview preparation, and support with English, Maths and IT.
The hub are working in partnership with West Somerset Advice Service to provide this service.  There’s no need for an appointment, just drop in and if you wish to volunteer at the hub please get in touch. For further information contact Colleen Blake, E: cblake@westsomerset.gov.uk  T: 07932316158.

Prince of Wales Award - Entries close Monday 26 March 2018
This Award is open to community organisations, schools, colleges and groups which have, through their own initiative, brought about improvements to the lives of the rural population via projects with long term viability. The Award is intended to embrace a wide range of schemes where there has been a genuine attempt to move forward in a resourceful and inventive way to the benefit of a rural community. For more information see website

Support West Somerset National Trust Association – Saturday 10 March 2018

Held at Methodist Hall, The Avenue, Minehead 10.00am to 12.00 noon.  Drop in for a variety of coffees, teas, fruit teas and delicious home made cakes. Only £3 all welcome. Raising funds towards a new National Trust Children's Wild Play Area at Bossington.

New Foodbank Information Evenings - Williton 14 March & Watchet 21 March
Williton - Wednesday 14 March at Meeting Room, Priest Street (next to new vicarage), 7pm. 
Watchet - Wednesday 21 March, Salvation Army, 7pm. 
Everyone welcome to attend.

Haddon Hill Big Adventure Day – 4 April
Enjoy a fantastic free day out with the Exmoor National Park Rangers, for more information see website.

Exmoor Society walks and events
Various events and walks for more information T: 01398 323335 or see Exmoor Society events webpage.  

For Events in the Area
Please see
Visit Exmoor, Watchet Events, Minehead Events and Quantock Hills Walking Events websites.

Public Health Activities Being Promoted This Month
For National Awareness days, weeks or months please visit the National Awareness Days website.

Council Meetings
Minehead Area Panel - 8 March, 6.30pm
For further information see website

Exmoor Area Panel - 8 March, 7pm
For further information see website

Licensing - 14 March 4.30pm
For further information see website

Audit Committee - 26 March 2018, 2pm
For further information see website

Watchet, Williton & Quantocks Area Panel - 20 March 2018, 7pm
For further information see website

Full Council - 21 March 2018, 4.30pm
For further information see website.   

Future Council Meetings
For future meetings please see website

Council News
For the latest news releases see link

Training, Jobs and Volunteering
Court Peer Mentoring Volunteers needed

Mind in Taunton and West Somerset are looking for volunteers who have previously been before a magistrate and have experienced mental ill health, to join their Court Peer Mentoring Service. The Peer Mentoring Service gives people the opportunity to meet with others who have similar difficulties, which helps reduce the stress of a court appearance and dealings with the criminal justice system. Volunteers will have experience of arrest and court appearance(s), which they associate in some way with mental ill health. They will support others who are going before, or have been before magistrates in Yeovil or Taunton Courts. Please E: davidtopham@mindtws.org.uk, T: 01823 334906 or T: 07821 462096 if you would like to get involved.  

Exmoor’s Ambition 
A transformative proposal for sustaining and enhancing Exmoor’s farmed landscapes and communities after Brexit

This has been prepared jointly by the National Park Authority and Hill Farming Network.  This proposes a new approach to enhancing the internationally important landscapes and the many public benefits that good farming businesses can provide, see website. If you would like to give feedback on the Exmoor Ambition document or contribute to discussion about the future of Exmoor’s farmed landscapes and rural communities, please email:ExmoorsAmbition@exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk or visit the website.  

Grant and Funding Opportunities
#iwill grants now available for youth social action – Deadline Friday 11 May
Groups working with young people that may be eligible to apply for grants from the #iwill Fund are encouraged to submit their applications to Somerset Community Foundation.
The #iwill Fund aims to encourage youth social action among for those aged between 10 and 20 years, and up to 25 for disabled young people.
Social action - such as volunteering, fundraising and campaigning - can develop the skills and knowledge of young people, boosting access to further education, higher education and employment and the #iwill Fund is open for grant applications of £1,000 - £5,000. Projects can last up to one year or be one-off events, and repeat funding is a possibility for those who were awarded a grant last year, see website.    

The Returners Fund - Expression of Interest deadlines 30 March & 16 August
The Returners Fund in a new Government Equalities Office (GEO) scheme that offers grants to projects which help people return to work in the private sector. The new £1.5 million fund offers grants of up to £300,000 to support people back into work after time spent caring
The GEO defines a ‘returner’ as a person who left paid employment for at least a year to take on a caring responsibility and would like to return to paid work at a level commensurate with their skills and experience.
All types of organisations that can demonstrate they can support returners are eligible to apply to the fund. This includes voluntary and community sector organisations, local training providers, local enterprise partnerships (LEPs), academic institutions, local authorities and private sector organisations. It is anticipated that most of the grant recipients under the Returners Fund will be voluntary and community sector organisations, social enterprises and training providers.
It is expected that the majority of awards will be between £50,000 and £150,000 and funding can only be used for the start-up costs of new projects, training, and related support for returners.
There will be two funding rounds.  To apply for funding, applicants must register on the programme website, where further information can also be found.  

Arts Council National Lottery Project Grants – Apply at any time  
Grants up to £100,000 for arts, museums and libraries projects in England that engage people with arts and culture.  Individuals and organisations may apply for a grant of between £1,000 and £100,000 and for projects lasting up to 3 years. There is a match funding requirement for this programme. Applications will be accepted from organisations working as a consortium, partnership, network or group.   Applications may be made at any time with the following commitment from the Arts Council for the turnaround of applications:
o Applications for £15,000 or under will receive a decision in six weeks;
o Applications for more than £15,000 will receive a decision in 12 weeks.
Further information and details about how to apply can be found on the Arts Council website.

The Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry
The Foundation aims to be a leading philanthropic investor, effectively using its time and resources to create lasting change in targeted areas and geographies, based on need, and in line with the interests of the patrons. The Royal Foundation seeks to invest in, or partner with, organisations with proven impact, using its profile and leverage to create a multiplier effect in resources, outcomes and knowledge.  The Foundation also supports initiatives to counter and raise awareness about cyberbullying.  Further information about the interests and work of the Foundation is available on its website.   

Calor launches £50k rural grant scheme – Apply from 20 March to 30 April
Rural communities throughout the UK could be eligible for funding from the Calor Rural Community Fund.  The fund from energy provider Calor aims to give off-grid communities the chance to gain funding for projects that will improve local life, see website.

SINePost Newsletter
Provides helpful statistics for our district, which can be invaluable for producing funding bids, see website.

My Community Web Site
For information, inspiration, resources, grants, community network and advice, please see

Other places to look for possible sources of funding include Engage, Funding Central, Community Council for Somerset, Turn 2 Us, GRIN and Just Act websites.

In this newsletter we are pleased to be able to offer information about funding opportunities, support services and training. However please note that by including this information West Somerset Council is not recommending or endorsing the products / facilities / services, simply providing a sign-posting function.  

Community Matters Contact:
Please email your news, events and other opportunities to:

Cllr Dave Westcott - Lead Member for Community & Customer, please see our website for details. 

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