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Issue 338 – Benefactor gives £250,000 to support “impressive” Frome

A FROME resident, who has been so impressed with the town since moving here, has anonymously pledged £250,000 to encourage its economic growth.

The money, which will be given in segments of £50,000 for the next five years, will be distributed by a new group – the Frome Development Community Interest Company. The group want to develop Frome as “a place where creative, vibrant, and interesting things happen” and will offer funding to individuals, groups and organisations who carry out projects and initiatives.
Mary Phillips, chair of FDCIC explained that like most people, the benefactor was impressed with Frome and the refreshing approach of key individuals and groups. Initially, the new group hopes to support projects in the areas of sustainable economic development, particularly that involving small and medium, local and independent businesses; the development and improvement of social cohesion and a sense of community; and work which contributes to the ‘social health’ of Frome.
Support will be directed towards projects which involve as many local people as possible. Examples of the kind of work that FDCIC might wish to engage with include:
• The revival of the Wednesday and Saturday markets, combining their promotion with the Artisans Market, the Frome Flea and a series of new innovative markets
• Assistance in promoting the town and the independent retail sector
• Negotiating to purchase land on the edge of Frome for a new allotment site.
FDCIC wishes to encourage and fund the initiatives of others, rather than carry out activities itself and recognises it does not have a monopoly on exciting ideas! Early discussions will be held with the town council and other key organisations. However, FDCIC is also actively seeking input from Frome organisations and individuals. Initial approaches about potential projects should be made to FromeDevelopmentCIC@
FDCIC will be pursuing further funding from the public and private sector to establish a sustainable fund capable of investing in the long term future of Frome.
Frome Development’s first directors are five local people: Richard Brindle, Lorray Harrison, Peter Macfadyen, Mary Phillips and Matt Wellsted. It is chaired by Dr. Mary Phillips who is a Frome resident and a senior lecturer in management at the University of Bristol, where she is also director of graduate studies for economics, finance and management.
FDCIC is keen to quickly appoint two further directors drawing from local residents and independent traders. In this, FDCIC is looking to expand the range of ideas and potential and would welcome enquiries from people who have not held such a position before. For further information on being a director, contact
Mary Phillips, chair of the group said,, “I am proud to be chair of Frome Development Community Interest Company. We want to make the organisation a permanent beneficial feature in the landscape of the town. Based on previous consultations undertaken by, for example, Vision for Frome we already have some indicators about where we can make a difference, but we will always be open to new schemes and innovative ideas.”
Mel Usher, convenor of the IfF Group on Frome Town Council said, “Whilst the town council has not yet had a chance to consider this new development, I am very keen to support FDCIC. In the time we have had the majority on the council we have discovered that there are some schemes that are difficult to fit into the rule bound local government process, and of course money is tight for all new schemes. The establishment of FDCIC will enable greater flexibility and innovation.”
Neil Howlett, president of the Chamber of Commerce said, “As president of Frome & District Chamber of Commerce I welcome this generous vote of confidence in Frome. We look forward to working with Frome Development Community Interest Company to support, sustain and develop business and employment in the town.”

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