Well that was a very interesting first year as Mayor, with the last three months spent in Lockdown! Montgomery Town Council have not had any face to face meetings during Lockdown, but have instead held meetings online via Zoom. I appreciate that some services have been reduced and events cancelled, but hopefully we can start to resume some normality soon. I thank Powys County Council for keeping their essential services running during this difficult time. I have accepted the post as your Mayor again for a second year and will endeavour to serve the people of Montgomery to the best of my ability. We are currently looking at ways to celebrate VJ Day in August, while at the same time staying within the Welsh Government guidelines. Details will follow nearer to the time. Take care all and keep safe. Haydn Andrew, Mayor
Here is a graphic to show where Montgomery Town Council spent money during the financial year from April 2019 to March 2020. The accounts are available annually from the Clerk once they have been audited (usually around July each year). All council meetings are open to the public. Town Council costs included the part-time Town Clerk’s salary; office and running costs; insurances and audit costs. Town Hall running costs included, for example, Council Tax, utilities, cleaning and licences. As previously reported, Montgomery Town Hall has been extensively refurbished, and most of the invoices for this work were paid during this year out of the public works loan; the costs are included in the graphic through repayment of this loan. Some scheduled works to the Hall have also been completed during the year. The Town Council is currently finalising with the Montgomery Community Buildings Preservation Trust (MCBPT) the transfer of the Town Hall over to the charity to be managed for the benefit of the community. Amenity and recreation costs during this period included regular costs, such as grass cutting and floral displays, alongside maintenance of the defibrillators, refurbishment of benches, and necessary repair work to the two children’s playgrounds in the town. Communications includes, for example, the website and providing wi-fi at the Town Hall and Broad Street. The Council also makes a contribution to The Crier newsletter. Projects include events, Destination Montgomery and work to Whitegate Pool. Note that the graphic shows proportional Council expenditure only. The Council’s income included the precept (portion of council tax), grant funding and donations, Town Hall income, event income etc. The Council also holds some ear-marked funds in reserve for particular planned spends.
Montgomery Neighbourhood Angels has been awarded funding of £500, secured through PAVO by their helpful and supportive Community Connector Diane Jones. Cllr Stephen Hayes, one of the co-ordinators of the scheme said: “We are thrilled to receive this money, as we have printed postcards which have gone to every house, and purchased a contactless cash machine to assist the Shopping Angels with cash free transactions when they have been shopping for people who are isolating themselves.” He added, “We have been working closely with PAVO and Diane, and have been happy to share our learning and ideas with other communities. We are delighted that the Angels concept has been adopted elsewhere in Powys.” The money will be used to cover costs incurred by the scheme, as the angels themselves are all unpaid volunteers. As part of the accounting process, the scheme is drawing together the statistics of contacts established and households helped by Montgomery Neighbourhood Angels, and the picture which is emerging shows the real worth of the scheme over the last twelve weeks, alongside all the good neighbourliness and family support there is in Montgomery.
A group of Montgomery parents with a plan to develop an exciting new playpark area by the recreation field are working with the Town Council on taking this forward. The group would like to hear from families who would use a Montgomery play area, whether as residents or visitors to the town. The group said, "We want to hear from families how you may use such an area and your ideas on how it should be designed and equipped.” They have had a fantastic response so far to an initial survey to find out how local residents and visitors to Montgomery feel about the town’s current play parks as well as considerations around a new one. With almost 70 responses in the first few weeks, they are hopeful they might have a couple of hundred by the end of June. They explained, “The information from the responses will directly inform the next steps for the parent group and Town Council to work on an outline design brief, sourcing quotes from providers and writing funding applications.” If you haven’t already completed the survey, please spend 5 minutes giving us your thoughts and share with friends, family and neighbours. http://play.montgomery.cloud/survey
It is good to see residents of Montgomery keeping to the rules of the Welsh Government guide lines regarding the Covid-19 virus. Many of us have been busy with various projects during this time, with lawns and gardens getting a lot of attention in the good weather we have been having. Now the restrictions have been eased a little, we can exercise more each day. It was a pity VE Day could not have been celebrated in the way we all had wished, but I think we all did our best under the circumstances. We are very lucky to be living in a neighbourhood that ‘looks out’ for each other. Take care all and keep safe. Haydn Andrew, Mayor
I would like to praise and thank the warm-hearted residents for their help and kindness shown to others during these very trying times. The help they are giving towards the vulnerable and self-isolating in the community is outstanding, but this is only to be expected in our friendly little town. I also thank the NHS staff and key workers for their dedicated service and putting themselves at risk to help others. The shops and businesses that are still able to trade are doing their best to provide essentials and some also provide a local delivery service which we are all grateful for. If you find yourself in need of anything that friends and family can't help with, please contact your designated Neighbourhood Angel who will help or put you in touch with someone who can. We must all help each other in these difficult times and remember to follow government guidelines regarding social distancing and unnecessary journeys. It is good to see we are getting regular visits from the police regarding enforcement of these guidelines. In these challenging times, maybe a phone call to family members, friends and neighbours will work wonders for morale; there is nothing like a chat, or maybe a text, WhatsApp or Facebook message for those that use them. Our hope is that this pandemic will soon be over and everything will be back to normal. We look forward to being able live our lives as before. - Councillor Haydn Andrew