Council of the Week: Thatcham Town Council
This week we would like to celebrate the work of Thatcham Town Council in West Berkshire.
Thatcham Town Council is an extremely professional, efficient and well run council, reflecte in its excellent communication and website. The website is informative, simple to use, easy to navigate and regularly updated with news stories. There have been seven stories added just since Christmas!
This is clearly a council that takes its role and responsibility to best serve and represent its electorates seriously and we are pleased to hold it up as an example for others to follow.
In particular, the Berkshire Association of Local Councils and the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) would like to highlight the positive work that Thatcham does in the community – from electing a young mayor and councillor and setting up a flood forum to redeveloping a listed building in the town and for the annual Thatcham Festival, which is so good it has grown into a two-week long event.
The festival is a celebration of the talents of local artists, crafts people, musicians and performers and is a key part of the council’s agenda.
In 2001, the town council put on a weekend Festival of Arts and within three years it had become an annual week-long event. The Festival is held in October and since 2013 has been a two week event to cater for the 60 plus activities on offer, the majority of which are free entry. It’s an inclusive event, with something for all ages and all tastes.
The council’s main role is to co-ordinate the event, working with local groups and individuals to put on concerts, talks, walks, dance shows and exhibitions, but enthusiastic staff also take on organising activities as well. The festivities commence on a Saturday with a classic car show, craft fair, stamp fair, sport and leisure activities and on the final evening there is a concert. Various competitions are organised and schools and pre-schools take part in a variety of ways. The town council’s mascot, Cyril The Squirrel, joins in the fun to the delight of children. Apple Day has formed part of the event for the past three years and highlights the more traditional crafts and customs such as wassailing alongside modern family entertainment.
The town is fortunate enough to have professional singers, artists and authors who are happy to give their time free of charge to take part in this special community event. Some of the activities give residents an opportunity to try their hand at something new – perhaps hand bell ringing, spinning, line dancing or singing in a choir.
Each year the council introduces new activities to keep the Festival live and fresh as well as retain the popular events. The festival provides a fantastic opportunity to bring all sections of the community together – strengthening local ties but also acting as a catalyst for new ventures. A very successful photographic club and art group are just two groups that were formed as a result of the Festival.
NALC would like to congratulate Thatcham Town Council for its innovation, efficiency and exemplary work in the community.