Cllr. Gwil Stephenson will be running online drop-in 'Zoom' sessions for one hour each week from the 22nd September usually on a Tuesday 6-7 pm, for more information and a link to the Zoom session please go to: Drop In Zoom Session or scan the QR code with your phone. These session are essentially for anyone in Montgomery and the surrounding area but anyone that has an interest in Montgomery can join. The sessions are open to any topic not just Montgomery itself. This includes trying out Zoom if you are new to teleconferencing. You may come and go as you please ... you can join for a few minutes or the whole hour. You will be asked for your name, postcode and email address in order to obtain the Zoom link the first time you attend a session.
Now we are well into summer, and we are able to get out and about a little more with the easing of the Covid-19 Lockdown, we still have to be aware that this virus has not gone away and is still lurking in the background. Nevertheless, we can start to enjoy some of our beautiful countryside and local hospitality with cafés, pubs and restaurants reopening for us all to enjoy, although with some restrictions. I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank Venice Pugh for her dedication and hard work as Chairperson of the Crier for many years and wish her well in her retirement. Best wishes - Haydn Andrew, Mayor
When Ms Anna Griggs was appointed Headteacher at Montgomery Church in Wales School, she explained to the School Council that she wanted to create more opportunities for outdoor learning, and to build on the work already started at the school and its allotment, by developing an area in the school field. Having secured Awards for All lottery funding, a forest school site was created, with support from Fran, a Montgomery resident who runs the Woodland Pack Company, and Martin and colleagues from Cope Community. With pupils having created plans and contributed ideas, the different activity zones created included a secure pond, mud kitchens, a seating/cooking area, a stage area, a bug hotel, stepping stones and some den building areas. Over recent weeks, work has taken place to create a growing area, including recycled plastic raised beds, and to begin a sensory herb garden - all with materials and labour donated by friends of the school, parents and local businesses. During lockdown, the school Eco Committee has been working on identifying which crops to grow. Russell and Ade from Russell Francis kindly donated and delivered three bags of excellent topsoil, and Derwen Garden Centre and Morrisons Welshpool, have provided plants and seeds. Headteacher Anna Griggs said, “I have a real passion for outdoor learning. It is an essential part of the new curriculum, but it is even more important during the COVID19 crisis. We are using the outdoors to help safeguard children whilst providing health and wellbeing opportunities alongside rich learning opportunities.” The next phase includes erecting a metal shed for storage. Whilst the components are already on site, the school needs to work out how to complete the construction whilst maintaining social distancing. The outdoor learning site will be available for pre-school children to use as well as learners from the school, and there may be opportunities for some community use in the future. Once the site is complete, the school plans to run a competition to name the area, which will then have a grand opening. Ms Griggs said, “We look forward to inviting the people who have enabled this project to happen so that the children can say a huge thank you.”
Montgomery Energy Group (MEG) held its June meeting online and discussed the future of bike use in and around Montgomery. Across the UK, as well as in Montgomery, people have been walking and using their bikes more during lockdown. There is a free bike scheme in Montgomery, passing on bikes from people that have finished using them, to people that want a bike; and far more people have been asking for a bike during this time from the scheme, with over 150 having been safely given out during the lockdown period. Jeremy Thorp from MEG said, “This is great to see and good for our health and the environment, but how can we make sure it continues after lockdown ends?” At the meeting, members learned that in the UK, our cycling infrastructure is far worse than on the continent, but the government is promising to put more resources into cycling. They then discussed, if funds could be found, what should be the priority in Montgomery? The result is that MEG has set up a survey to find out what would make it easier to walk and cycle in Montgomery so that they know what to concentrate their efforts on. Jeremy said, “Please take our short survey (it is only 10 questions) to help keep this cycling and walking momentum going.” You can find the questionnaire at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/T59PT85 or email your thoughts to Jeremy.email@example.com
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
Monty Lit Fest would have taken place during the weekend 12-13th June this year, so the team went virtual instead! For the online launch party of Burning Issue on Friday 12th, author Myfanwy Alexander was joined by panel host and Chair of Monty Lit Fest, Sarah Morris, and the award-winning comedian Tudur Owen. In addition to entertaining discussions, centred loosely around Myfanwy's new book with questions from the online audience, there was also a quiz with the prize of a bottle of Montgomery Vineyard sparkling wine for the winner (congratulations, Gareth Jones!) with the runners up receiving signed copies of Burning Issue. On Saturday 13th June, Monty Lit Fest hosted the online discussion “Monty Lockdown Reads”. The fantastic panel – comedy producer Steve Doherty and local authors Julia Forster, Alix Nathan, and Mike Parker, chaired by Sarah Morris, created the ultimate lockdown reading and listening list, based on their own recommendations combined with suggestions from a very engaged and active audience. The full list is posted on the Monty Lit Fest website to help you find your next great read or audio entertainment. https://montylitfest.com/monty-lockdown-reads/ Keep an eye on Monty Lit Fest’s social media as they will be offering a chance to vote for your favourites from this list, resulting in a Top Ten Lockdown Reads to be revisited at Monty Lit Fest 2021 in Montgomery! Image: The Monty Lockdown reads Lit Fest panel
Jenny Bailey-Beech from Montgomery, who is only 9 years old, has been creating beautiful origami cards for sale under the brand Okami Makes. The cards, each one of which is unique, are available from a number of shops in Montgomery, and the Okami Makes facebook page, which her parents help run. From the beginning of her venture, Jenny determined to donate some of the proceeds from her cards to charity, and she has now been able to hand a cheque for £100 to her favourite charity, Havenmore Hedgehog Rescue. Rose Lambert from the charity said, “Thank you so much Jenny, we’ve bought three boxes of puppy milk for the hoglets so far.” Jenny is planning to donate the proceeds from her Fathers’ Day cards to the Twin a Tap charity, which works with Tearfund in Africa, and which Montgomery Children’s Church have chosen as their charity to support during lockdown.
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.
Since lockdown, Montgomery Church children have been meeting online weekly on a Sunday morning. They wanted to show that their faith makes a difference, so decided that they would raise money for Tearfund’s ‘Twin a Tap’ scheme. The idea of this scheme is to twin a tap in Montgomery Church with one in a community affected by poverty. The donations give training and a means of making a simple tap, so that communities affected by poverty can understand good hygiene and easily wash their hands to help protect themselves from the effects of Covid-19. Each child has decided how they will raise money and is aiming to complete their own fundraising by the end of June. Sponsored events include hula hooping, piano scales and a sponsored walk on crutches. Keri, age 11, will be completing a hoopathon challenge aiming for 5000 spins in one session. Keri attended hula hoop classes with Nula Hula in Montgomery Town Hall and Nula says, “I’m very proud that Keri is taking her hooping to the next level and I wish her all the best of luck in her big challenge!” Jenny, age 9, who makes and sells greetings cards as ‘Okami Makes’, will be donating the proceeds from direct sales of her Fathers’ Day cards to the ‘Twin a Tap’ fundraising. Okami Makes can be found on facebook. Lucy, age 5, says of Children’s Church, “I enjoy seeing the people and listening to the bible stories.” She is the youngest of the church children taking part in the fundraising project, and has been doing jobs for her family as her way to raise money. Lucy says she is pleased to be able to help make sure people can wash their hands with clean water.
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.