Community blog: Introduction!

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Hi, I am Fiona Bass and have been with the Town Council since July 2012.  In a previous working life, I have experience of working at the Alzheimer’s Society, Crown Prosecution Service, Identity & Passport Office, BT and British Gas, and more besides!  So, I have plenty of experience.

Since starting in my role as Deputy Clerk (Committees & Events) things have changed considerably. In my original role one of my duties was to assist the then Town Clerk Steven Ford, with the preparation of council papers for all the various meetings each week. Many a Wednesday we would spend all day photocopying the agendas and relevant papers and post them to all 16 Councillors… a long job. Made more difficult by a temperamental printer! I would attend meetings with the Town Clerk and take the minutes which I then typed up. Having never taken “official” minutes before this was quite a task for me…

Alongside of this was to assist with the newsletter and our Events. In those days we had St Georges Day, a Summer Event and Christmas lights. My colleague Jeanine (our Responsible Finance Officer) and I introduced the Teddy Bears Picnic along with the summer event, which in those days included a vintage car show. This proved very popular, but like most things a disaster in poor weather. I don’t know how but we used to arrange events really quickly then, whereas now we start almost straight after the last one! Now, we have St Georges Day, a great Fireworks night, and Christmas lights.

The newsletter used to be outsourced and was send off for layout design and printing. Now with the help of Finch Designs, most of this is done in-house (reducing costs) and we have a regular printing firm on hand.

So, now more up to date, we have Dr Thomas Foreman as Town Clerk, following Steven’s retirement in 2015. My role has moved on again and in 2017 we introduced the Dementia Café (with Hayley Howes from Andrew Fredrick Adult Support) followed by Dementia Drop-in, Afternoon Teas (with Nanny’s Cakes) and then Singing with Brenda Binns, who has her own choir in Taverham. I am hoping to become more involved with the Luncheon club which is run by Buddies (which are also from the Andrew Fredrick Support) with the Town Council, when it starts again later in the year…Phew busy, busy!  As a result of all these activities my role will change to ‘Community Officer’ later this year. This will give me more time to concentrate on my activities and hopefully developing them and looking at more…

This change was supposed to take place from 1st April 2020, but because of the current lockdown we have cancelled community groups! So, I am continuing my existing role, but am working as part of the Town Council response to the coronavirus. This involves me using my experience with volunteers, assisting vulnerable people, getting financial support where needed, and (hopefully) anticipating future needs. I will continue to blog about the Councils work on the coronavirus, and then about my work as Community Officer.