Helping to Make a Difference

Helping to Make a Difference

With local authority budget constraints affecting some of the services provided in our community, Ilfracombe Town Council is working to help make a difference to ensure where possible, these effects are minimised. As a Town Council we do not receive any direct funding from Central Government but rely on a small element of the collected council tax; income from our own generated projects and any funding that we receive if we are successful in applying for specific grants.

These are some of the projects that we are working on.

Ilfracombe Town Council introduces its new Town Maintenance Operative.

ITC 090517Ilfracombe Town Council (ITC) has introduced a new role and new member to their staff; Rob Townsend, Town Maintenance Operative.

Rob joined the Council on 2nd May. His main objective will be to maintain and enhance the Town Council assets and outdoor areas and he is the ideal man for the job with a wealth of experience, knowledge and a passion for Ilfracombe having lived here all his life.

Robs role will complement the existing local authority services and will help to fill in any gaps made by their spending cuts. ITC are looking to be proactive in dealing with issues and areas which would have otherwise been left or dealt sporadically.

He will be kept busy cleaning pavements & keeping them clear of weeds, grass cutting and strimming, pruning and cutting back shrub beds and vegetation, keeping drains clear, repairing minor pot holes and maintaining and repairing street furniture.

A vehicle has been purchased to allow Rob to cover the whole of the town and a site is being leased for storage and where we hope to be able to compost in the future.

Working alongside existing staff members; Kate Romo (Asset Manager), Richard Rodd (Facilities Manager) and Clive Denham (Hygiene Operative), the team will be doing their upmost to ensure Ilfracombe is well tended, clean and safe for residents and visitors.

Ilfracombe Town Mayor Paul Crabb said, “Since Rob started people are already noticing the work that he is doing. We believe this role will be a huge benefit to Ilfracombe and are very pleased to have been able to implement it without impact to the people of Ilfracombe by utilising surplus income from other ITC assets and keeping the Council’s Precept to one of the lowest increases in North Devon.”

From Victorian Parades to Pre-school Gardens, Blooming Baskets to Community Mini-Buses – Ilfracombe Town Council supports more local causes

33626553160_196a0ef945_kIlfracombe Town Council (ITC) is supporting a diverse range of projects from local groups by grant funding in 2017.  Over £18,000 has been awarded under the grants process for the year 2017/18 to local community organisations to help them carry out their work or buy much-needed equipment.

Organisations benefitting from this funding include the Tourist Information Centre, Ilfracombe in Bloom, Citizens Advice, Ilfracombe & District Community Transport Association, 1st Ilfracombe (Holy Trinity) Scout Group and Ilfracombe Victorian Celebration.

Whilst still maintaining a precept lower than other comparable towns in the area, Ilfracombe Town Council has been able to commit £18,000 to around 17 organisations that support the town council’s strategy, by contributing to advice and support services, youth provision or tourism.

Highlighting the importance of recreation opportunities in the town, the town council is supporting groups such as 1st Ilfracombe (Holy Trinity) Scout Group, with £250 towards subsidising camps and transport.  Exmoor Explorers receive £250 towards for parachutes to make a stall to share scouting experiences.  Small Pond Productions receive £350 to go towards storage space and rehearsal time.  Ilfracombe Performance Space receive £350 to improve seating in the auditorium.

Recognising the benefits of a culturally rich community, ITC has given £750 to Sea Ilfracombe Ltd to help towards the costs of Musicians, Children’s entertainers and a sound stage.  Ilfracombe Museum receives £500 to improve displays and presence on the internet.  Ilfracombe Victorian Celebration receives £500 to cover expenses for the Victorian Parades that begin and end the festival.  Essex Dance Theatre receive £250 to contribute towards coach costs for travelling to the area.

Grants to further good causes include £1,000 to Ilfracombe and District Community Transport Association to keep the community mini-buses in top condition on the road.  Tourist Information Centre receives £6,200 towards operating costs.  Greener Ilfracombe receives £899 towards tools, a compost toilet and materials for dresses, whilst North Devon Foodbank receives £500 towards rent, food, storage and stationery.

Ilfracombe Access Group receives £100 to pay for room hire, whilst the Lantern Community Pre-School receives £500 to enhance their outdoor area with flower pots, sensory plants for visually impaired children, a mud kitchen, water wall and other outdoor equipment.  Ilfracombe in Bloom receive £3,000 to maintain the hanging baskets and flower boats, Families in Grief receive £300 to help families affected by bereavement and Citizens Advice receive £2,500 to help provide training for volunteer advisors.

Ilfracombe Town Council said, “We are delighted to support such a wide range of organisations that play an important role within the community. These grants can make a real difference to what many of our volunteer groups can provide.”

“There are many organisations within Ilfracombe that benefit the people of the town in a variety of ways. Many of these are voluntary organisations that rely on donations and volunteers to exist and the town council is pleased to support them.”

m-gardensWar memorial and Gardens

Situated in the grounds of our Holy Trinity Parish Church, the town’s war memorial is surrounded by trees and tranquil planting. It provides a restful space to all those who wish to have some quiet reflection time and the memorial pays tribute to the members of the Armed Forces who have lost their lives in conflict. It includes the names of Ilfracombe men who died serving their country during the First World War (154 names), during the Second World War (60 names) and those who died during other conflicts in the 20th century (4 names)*

Ilfracombe Town Council along with many other organisations in the town pay their respects with members of the Royal British Legion on Remembrance Day.

Why is this included under our Helping to Make a Difference’ section?

For many years the war memorial and garden area were managed by North Devon Council; However since 2014 when budgets were being squeezed, the area was formally handed back to Ilfracombe Town Council who have embraced the area and work hard to keep it ‘special’.

In addition to installing extra seating and replacing the litter bin, we ensure that the grass is cut and the trees and bushes pruned. The volunteers of Ilfracombe in Bloom work with us in weeding the flower beds and planting new shrubs.

At Christmas, the area becomes the focus of the town when the Lighting of the Lights ceremony starts with the Town Christmas tree lights being turned on.

*For a list of these name and further information please visit www.devonheritage.org

Additional Highway Drain Clearing

drainWith drain clearing and cleaning now being completed on a less frequent basis by the County Council, we are aware that some of the drains in and around the town are clogged by debris and overgrown with weeds. This means that when we have a heavy downpour, the excess rain water does not empty down the drains but cascades along the roads and in some of the most severe cases causes flooding to occur.

Ilfracombe Town Council were successful in applying for a grant to commission additional drain cleaning which for the most part can only be completed by specialist contractors who also arrange for the waste to be disposed.

Our councillors and Hygiene Operative highlighted those most badly affected drains prior to arranging for them to be deep cleansed.

Whilst we realise that this is an ongoing problem and we may not be able to arrange for all such gullies to be cleared; we have arranged for part of the grant to be spent on drain cleaning hand-tools. This means that in the months and years to come we will be able to help keep the surface areas free of debris which should hopefully limit the amount of full cleaning work that is required.

Community Planning Scheme

planningWhilst Ilfracombe Town Council does its best to help obtain funding to use in the community, the council members also recognise that there are many instances where grants are not available or funding streams not suitable.

In an effort to ‘help make a difference’ the Town Council has developed its own ‘community planning scheme’. 

This is a process whereby qualifying* community groups could benefit from a  quirk of the national planning process whereby parish and town council’s receive a statutory 50% reduction in planning application fees.

In short, the community group will need to approach the council with a full set of planning documents and fulfil all requirements for a registered planning application. The paperwork will be assessed by the ITC Planning Committee in the first instance to confirm if the application can be processed via its Community Planning Scheme. If it meets the required criteria, then the application can be formally submitted to the Planning Authority with the Town Council as the ‘applicant’. Thus the 50% reduction in the initial fee would be triggered leaving the community group with a substantial saving. The Council will be acting in name only and any associated costs must be met by the community organisation making the proposal.

There will be some administration fees to be paid with regard to this process and of course the applicant must satisfy the council that it meets the qualifying criteria. The Town Council will not be included in any determination of the outcome of the application.

For further information please contact theilfracombcecentre@northdevon.gov.uk

*ITC operates a community planning scheme under the following system.

Is there clear evidence that:

  • The community needs the facility or service being offered
  • The community will use the facility or service being offered
  • The facility or service will add to existing provision.
  • Does the proposed project meet the aims of the council?
  • Is the organisation a registered charity or a legal entity with charitable aims that benefit the local community?
  • Is the community involved in fund raising?
  • Is the community involved with the management of the project?
  • Does the project or service contribute to local sustainability, development and quality of life

Bulb Planting and Grass Cutting

flowersIlfracombe Town Council has a well-established history in supporting local organisations in providing grants to fund the planting and maintenance of shrubs and flowers in the town. In fact, the local ‘Ilfracombe in Bloom’ community group who are all volunteers have won many prestigious awards in the ‘In Bloom’ countrywide competitions.

In addition to this funding, the Town Council decided to commit some of its budget to provide monies to enable it to clear weeds, cut grass and generally clear overgrown areas in and around the town. This has been working well under the Council’s ‘Green Team’ initiative and has seen us purchase a ride-on mower enabling us to cut lengths of grass verges. This is a particularity important task to undertake as; – as with other items included in our ‘Making a Difference’ we have seen the grass cutting service provided by the County Council dwindle to once or twice a year.

In addition to the weeding and grass clearing, we have also tried to make some of the public areas in the town as attractive as possible and to that end with the help of volunteers, we arranged for ten thousand spring bulbs to be planted. This investment will ‘grow and grow’ and will help to welcome visitors to our town and provide a lovely view for locals to enjoy for years to come.

In the process of this work carried out by volunteers of the Green Team, it soon became apparent to council members that a dedicated resource was required to complete this work all year round. Consequently, we are looking to appoint a new member of staff in the new financial year to undertake this work and make up some of the shortfall where other local authorities have scaled down their operations.