Participants at the Axminster Today needs mapping event

Needs of Axminster residents identified and discussed with a view to finding workable solutions

Representatives from across Axminster’s community, including town and district councillors, Devon County Council and East Devon District Council officers, police officers, local businesses and charity organisations, met earlier last month (8 September 2017) at a special needs mapping event focussing on discussing the priority needs of the townspeople and how these needs could be addressed.

The one day Axminster Together event, brought together 24 members of the community in Axminster’s Guildhall who suggested a wide range of key issues, such as: social isolation, providing safe spaces for our young people and how the town council could better support local organisations. The topics were discussed by the guests and then voted on as to which items should be prioritised in terms of taking action.

Participants are said to have found the event an interesting, enjoyable and positive experience.

The Axminster Together project is based on a similar idea carried out with great success in Honiton. A committee has been formed, consisting of Cllr Andrew Moulding (East Devon District Council), Mayor Jeremy Walden (Axminster Town Council), Steve Robinson (Devon County Council) and Victoria Robinson (East Devon District Council) and a series of events to bring stakeholders together to look at the priority needs of the people of Axminster has been planned.

Guests were free to chat with each other in the morning, prior to focussing on the identified topics in the afternoon discussion session, which was introduced by Axminster Mayor, Jeremy Walden.

The results of the meeting have been on display in the Millwey Community Centre and were discussed at a feedback evening on 27 September 2017.

Two further discussion sessions will be taking place shortly.

Councillor Andrew Moulding, Chairman of East Devon District Council, said:

Axminster is producing a Neighbourhood Plan, which will shape the town in terms of housing, transport and infrastructure. Axminster Together will address the needs of people and communities and will sit alongside the Neighbourhood Plan.

In September, Axminster Together held its first session, which looked at the needs of our community. The session was well attended by a number of stakeholders in the town and identified a number of key priorities, which included social isolation, engaging and supporting young people and the way in which we can improve communications.

I hope that the discussions will reach a wider range of local people and enable the production and delivery of a Community Plan for Axminster and lead the town into the future.

Cllr Jeremy Walden, Axminster Town Mayor, said:

The successful distillation of ways we may enable a Community Plan marks a significant point on the journey to improve the lives of the people of Axminster.  Alongside the Neighbourhood and Local Plans we need to ensure that solutions are available to the challenges which the population meet on a personal level.

Devon County Council’s local member for Axminster, Cllr Ian Hall, said:

The event has helped identify key themes that are a priority for the town, and that will help focus on ways to address them.  This is a great example of agencies and community groups working together to provide a stronger and sustainable future for all, and to achieve a healthy and happy community.