We donated £3,000 to Penrith Foodbank and helped primary school children who did not have access to stationery at home by purchasing 400 craft bags. We purchased paper, pens, pencils, scissors, rubbers, glue and books with support from grants from The Cumbria Community Action Fund, Cumbria County Council and Barnardos. These bags were delivered by volunteers from the Fell Runner Community Transport Service to school and direct to some families.
The Town Council along with the BID and Chamber of Trade successfully lobbied Eden District Council to allow free parking in off street car parks to help essential workers who had to come into town to work. This support was greatly appreciated.
We were looking forward to proving the community with a large free family event in May to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of VE Day. After so much planning, it was disappointing to have to cancel the event, which we had organised with Brougham Hall Wartime Weekend, Penrith Lions and Penrith Rotary. However, we were able to move The Cry for Peace Around the World and the Nations Toast online by creating a video and we thank them for their enthusiastic involvement.
A sunny Remembrance Day was also very different, as church services were not permitted, however it was important that we marked the day to remember those who lost their lives in conflicts across the world. Representatives Penrith organisations that normally attend the civic service and parade, were invited to lay a wreath. A short but poignant section of the day was live streamed onto our social media when, at 11am the church bell tolled whilst the Last Post played by Chris Form from Penrith Town Band and Rev David Sergeant read out the citation which was followed by Reveille. Trudie Smith, who donated her time to the Royal British Legion and Help for Heroes, took photos of all those laying wreaths uploaded to social media to mark the occasion.
We were pleased to support Eden Valley Artistic Network’s Window Wanderland in Penrith that was part of the national Window Wanderland project. It ran from the start of December and finished at the start of March. Free creative packs were made available for anyone who wanted to take part and a local musician or band could be heard via posters with QR codes in local business windows. We hope that on your walks you enjoyed the sights of windows that had been transformed into magical scenes.
All things blooming
We provided grant funding and/or Officer support to help with projects and initiatives when required. Stomping Ground developed a Nature Trail for us that provided work sheets for families to complete as they did their daily walk during the first lock down. We also commissioned a film to highlight the work of volunteers and others in town to act as a record of 2020 and the efforts to keep Penrith blooming during Covid. The film has captured Penrith’s strong community spirit, volunteer determination and peoples’ genuine love for the town and one another. The film can be found on this website and is an inspiring watch.
Other community projects have been developed during the year such as a Community Garden on a formerly derelict area of common ground at Ullswater Community College. Teachers support the project with local volunteers and the Team from Stomping Ground. The Town Council were delighted to be able to provide support and funding for a tarpaulin that has been used as a shelter in the Community Garden so work and activities could continue during adverse weather.
In response to a community need we now own Thakka Beck Field, which is used for informal recreation, and connects the A686 with Tynefield Drive. Northern Gas Networks are in the process of installing utilities underneath part of the field as part of wider infrastructure improvements across Penrith. When this is completed, we will explore options with the community on the improvements they may wish to see to the field to improve access and informal recreation.
Fairhill Play Area
The Town Council have been liaising with the Fairhill Community Group and are happy to announce the installation of the latest inclusive play equipment in Firhill Recreation ground. The Council helped with fund raising and managed the tender and installation processes. The play equipment was installed in July and August.
Penrith Town Council receives Quality Award
After an in-depth review by the Local Council Award Scheme (LCAS) the Town Council was awarded the ‘Quality Award.’ To achieve this award, a council ‘must demonstrate that it meets all requirements of the Foundation Award and has additional documentation and information in place for good governance, effective community engagement and council improvement. The Quality award criteria includes the eligibility criteria for the general power of competence.’
We are about to start improvements in one of our allotment sites that has been experiencing flooding problems for a number of years. We will be working closely with members from The Penrith Allotment Association to deliver the project.
Partnership working is essential to Penrith’s future growth and success. In 2019, the Penrith Town Working Group was established to bring together local authorities, key stakeholders and partners to identify and deliver projects that are of benefit to the town. From this partnership the outturn from the Penrith Parking and Movement Study, is progressing to develop a timeline of projects, identify funding opportunities, and to create a communication plan that will ensure that residents are consulted and kept up to date with developments.
A group has been established to scope and plan the proposed Cycling and Movement interventions and create a LCWIP (Local Cycling Walking and Movement Infrastructure Plan) for Penrith with workshops and consultation being held in the next few months. A communication, marketing and branding for Penrith group will continue to work with partners to promote and share key messages about recovery and reopening and we are working with partners and stakeholders for the Borderlands Place Programme to create a Place Plan for Penrith. This collaborative approach is bringing together all three levels of local government, key stakeholders and most importantly residents. Our approach is one that is being seen as an example of good practice and is being duplicated within the County.
Penrith in Bloom Video, September 2020
While the global pandemic has affected everyone, the Penrith community has come together once again, albeit at a safe distance, to ensure the town continues to bloom. Below is a short video funded by Penrith Town Council, illustrating what has been achieved in 2020 by the wonderful collective of local people involved in making the town bloom during the pandemic.
The video has been viewed on many social media platforms and the link has been included in the ‘RHS Britain in Bloom’ Magazine, which has UK wide circulation.
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