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Annual reports from local organisations. 2017/18

Clayhidon Parish Council

Annual Parish Meeting

 30th April 2018

Reports from Clubs & Organisations

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Clayhidon Parish Hall
Clayhidon Friends
Clayhidon Art Group
Rosemary Lane Chapel
Clayhidon Local History Group
Blackdown Support Group
Violet Chapman Trust



Clayhidon Parish Hall – Report and Accounts for 2017/18


The hall committee and helpers have worked hard to organise live events and film shows, while laying the ground work for a major programme of building improvements.

HALL IMPROVEMENTS:  In a change of priorities, we decided that it was more important to fix the roof than build our planned extension. We applied to Viridor Credits for a grant of £25,800 and heard in January that we had been successful and would be receiving the money. We are very grateful to Viridor Credits, as well as to the parish council and Richard Drew for donating the 10 per cent third-party contribution required as part of the application.

Our contractor, Courtney Bowden & Son, of Wellington, will begin re-roofing work shortly, but will not finish until September, so that we minimize disruption to the swifts that nest in the roof every summer. The work will involve inserting extra insulation and replacing the worn original 1893 Welsh slates and asbestos tiles from the 1960s extension with new Spanish slates. RSPB-approved nesting boxes will be fitted inside the roof for the swifts and we will also be providing special tiles to encourage bats to roost there.

By the end of the summer we hope Western Power will have completed work on increasing the electricity supply to the hall. This will cost around £5,000 and will also require a new sub-mains system to be installed, but once complete will help us keep the building warmer.

Our new car park now has an embryonic hedge after a planting session by members of the parish council and the hall committee. The extra space has proved extremely useful and we have had no difficulties since it was installed. Our heartfelt thanks go to Russell and Caroline Bendle for donating this land and to the parish council for paying for the materials.

A BUSY PROGRAMME OF EVENTS:  We committed ourselves to where possible booking the highest quality performers we could afford. The entertainment and artistic results were spectacular, even if the financial benefits were modest. Anyone who saw the Three Daft Monkeys, the Red Dirt Stringers, A Christmas Carol, the Neil Maya Quartet and the Opera Dudes will have noticed this quality shift. Overall, live events made a surplus of £2,023.

Film Nights continued to be popular, attracting audiences of between 30 and 60 people. A programme of seven films across the autumn, winter and spring was chosen by a small sub-committee and screened by the Dorset based charity Moviola, using their equipment and projectionist. Using Moviola is expensive but over the entire season we more than covered costs. In the future, we may seek funding to buy our own equipment and thus reduce costs.

PLANS FOR 2018/19

We now need to start raising funds for the next stage of the hall’s development – about another £70,000, we think. We will be applying to trust funds and launching a local fund raising campaign with a midsummer party and barn dance on Saturday 30 June.






Clayhidon Parish Council grant


Bank interest


Movie nights








Car boot



Donations and grants










Less expenses



Total income











Extension costs

















Deposit account


Current account





Chairman, Clayhidon Village Hall Committee, May 2018.





P3 Footpaths Report

The Clayhidon footpaths are overall in good condition. Many are wet under foot, especially in winter, but this is generally a reflection of the soil type in the area. 

The boardwalk that we built, last year, across a particularly boggy stretch of path in Wiltown Turbary has been very successful. 

The County Footpath Contractors have been working on the newly incorporated routes to make them passable. These are Routy Lane, Nick Read's Lane and the section of path from Denshayes to Shackles Cross. 

The County Footpath Officer has also provided several new gates and replaced rotten gate posts to help improve access. 

Missing signs are replaced when required. 

If you are aware of any problems with the Parish Paths please report them to Sue Hay on

If you walk the Parish Paths at any time a report of the Paths walked and their condition is always welcome as this helps with the regular monitoring of the Paths and helps Sue to plan her walks to cover the less frequently used Paths. 





Report for Clayhidon Parish Council Annual Meeting on Monday, 30th April 2018


Clayhidon Friends is a group which welcomes women for friendship, and this year it has maintained a membership of 24, with members coming from as far as Wellington and Taunton.


The group has now entered its 10th year and has an interesting programme to entertain members through 2018.  Subjects include a history of English garden flowers, a craft evening making a pocket photo album, a Somerset Heritage talk on crime and punishment, and a visit to a Payhembury Farm


Some of the topics covered at meetings in 2017 were the work with disabled people carried out by the Conquest Centre who provide horseriding,  WatSan, a Ugandan sanitation charity, a film at David Parker’s Mackham cinema and the history of the milk bottle. We also enjoyed a summer outing to Burrough Farm Gardens in July.


Meetings are held on the 2nd Tuesday in each month, from 7.15pm at Clayhidon Parish Hall, and new members are always welcome.






Clayhidon Art Group

Report for Clayhidon Parish Council

April 2018

The Art Group meets on Tuesday mornings at the village hall from 1000 to 1200hrs. Membership is open to all, regardless of their artistic ability. We have a mix of accomplished artists and novices in our group.

The group is very informal. Usually everyone works on their own projects, at their own pace, with their own materials. We do not run art classes but from time to time we have had input from professional tutors. We rely on one another for advice, support and encouragement. For those who might like a little more structure, we have of a theme for each month which members can follow if they wish. The themes focus attention on a specific artist.  Everyone brings along materials such as books and prints relating to the featured artist. We then try to produce something in that style.  Recently our featured artists have been John Singer Sergeant, Canaletto and Georgia O’Keefe

We spend most of the year working in the village hall.  However, we do venture outside during the summer when we have suitable weather. Last summer, that wasn’t very often! These outside sessions are at local venues. From time to time, we have held small exhibitions to support local events and raise funds for charities.

During the last year we have lost two of our founding members. We were all saddened by the death of Patrick Meredith. Subsequently, his widow Tricia moved away to be close to her family in Surrey.  We will miss them both greatly, especially for their talent and their humour.

We would love to welcome new members. Membership costs just £8 per month which is largely used to cover hall rental fees If you are interested please contact me on 01823 421200.

Whatever your level of ability, come along and join us.

Bill Smith.

On behalf of The Clayhidon Art Group
















Rosemary Lane Chapel

Clayhidon Parish Council - Annual Report


Rosemary Lane Chapel:

We are a free evangelical church with a strong emphasis on Bible teaching. We meet twice on Sundays and throughout the week for various events with the intention of meeting with God, following Jesus together and sharing His love with one another and the wider community in which we serve.


Sunday Services:

RML continues to have Services each Sunday at 11.00 and 18.30. These will include Family Services, Bible Teaching and Open Worship. Sunday classes for the children and young people are held rooms upstairs with the exception of the Family Service, when all remain together. The evening service on the final Sunday of each month has become a celebration service during which time there is opportunity for people to share a testimony of how God has been at work in their lives. This has been a great encouragement as we strengthen our trust in God and deepen our relationships with one another. We also have a time of contemporary acoustic worship led by several members of the fellowship.


Mid-Week Activities

Home Groups:

RML currently maintains two Home Groups who meet to study the Bible and pray together on a Tuesday evening. Recent topics of study have included a study of Kings and Daniel. Additionally, we have been looking at the promises of God and how they are all fulfilled in Jesus.



Taking place on Friday mornings (10am-12pm), Toddlers continues to be well attended and has had upwards of 20 toddlers, along with parents, grand parents or carers most weeks. This remains a vital service for toddlers and their carers, and we are grateful to the team of volunteers who make this group possible.


Ignite and Ventures:

Our Youth Programme on Friday evenings alternates between our Ventures group for Primary School age children and our Ignite group (formerly TeenScene) that caters for secondary school age children. These programmes provide entertainment during the evening followed by a short Bible/faith based talk by one of the volunteers or visiting speaker. Both groups had several outings during the course of the year. Ventures enjoyed a walk and treasure hunt around Wellington Monument, whilst Ignite took a group of young people to the beach in Exmouth for fish and chips followed by games in the summer and a Christmas outing to ‘Flip Out’ trampoline park in Wellington.


Luncheon Club and Tea Club:

RML has continued its’ long association with the Blackdown Support Group in the running of the Luncheon Club which takes place on the 2nd Wednesday each month, 12-3pm. Numbers have remained consistent from last year with 30-40 attending each luncheon club, many of whom stay on beyond the meal to listen to the visiting speaker or musician. Highlights have included our annual visit from pupils from Hemyock Primary School who sang a modern Christmas medley. More recently, Brenda Percy came out to play many a song that caused cheerful voices to join in. Looking ahead, the BSG Luncheon Club at RML will celebrate 25 years in October.


The Tea Club is run in a similar format, once more in partnership with the Blackdown Hills Support Group. Whilst numbers are lower than those attending the Luncheon Club, nonetheless a good group of regular attendees enjoy the time together. After a break over the winter months, the tea club is now up and running again.


Ladies Prayer Group

Several ladies from the church maintain a Ladies Prayer group and welcome all who wish to attend. This is held in one of the member’s homes. The group provide a good time of fellowship, support and prayer for issues within the church, the community and further afield.



On the 24th June 2017 the British weather, though unpredictable, provided sufficient sunshine for us to enjoy a ‘Community Fun Day’ in the chapel field. A BBQ, several bouncy castles, games and a wealth of cakes were enjoyed by members of the church and the surrounding community. We would like to extend a welcome to all when we host our Community Fun Day this year on Saturday 30th June 2018 (2-6pm) with similar activities on offer.


On the 3rd November 2017, RML held their annual bonfire night for the members of Ignite and Ventures as well as the wider community of Clayhidon and the surrounding area. This event, which included a bonfire, fireworks and hot food, was enjoyed by the many who attended. The event concluded with a short Bible reflection shared by Daniel Mason.

Every Wednesday, throughout the months of October and November people met at Rosemary Lane Chapel as we worked through the ‘Christianity Explored’ course. Whether new to church, never attended, or a regular for many years, this proved to be an informal and relaxed environment to consider, discuss and discover some of the basics of the Christian faith… often accompanied by cake. The Chapel will be running the same course during the summer of 2018 with a warm welcome to all – Please contact Jonathan Hillman for further information.

RML continues to be part of the Blackdown Hills Christians (BHC) network and enjoyed meeting with members of others churches through the regular Barn Praise events at Kerswell on the Second Sunday in May and September. Things are changing a little this year with Spring Praise due to take place in May and Autumn Praise in September, both at Uffculme School’s new multi purpose facility – ‘The Venue’. On the 2nd of June 2018 the BHC looks forward to welcoming Steve Brady (Principal of Moorlands Bible College) to share a word of encouragement to the ‘Rural Church’ – this takes place at Throgmorton Hall, Dunkeswell.


Closer to home, we continue to enjoy strong connections to our brothers and sisters at St. Andrews, Clayhidon meeting together at combined services three times throughout the year and at the recent Easter morning sunrise service at Gray’s Quarry.


Rosemary Lane in the wider community

Members of the fellowship continue to support the wider community in both the Parish of Clayhidon and further afield. These activities include: Open The Book at Hemyock Primary School, Torch Fellowship Meetings (Wellington), volunteering on the County Hall Chaplaincy Team, Street Pastors (Wellington), Gideons and football coaching at Churchstanton Primary School.


Overseas Mission

Within the fellowship several members have at one time or another had involvement in the overseas mission field. Currently, Chris Menzfeld is the South West and South representative for the Slavic Gospel Association (SGA), which involves deputation meetings in this country as well as Bible Teaching visits in Eastern Europe.


Our SGA meeting in March saw RML welcome Pastor Onisim Mladen who provided us with an insight into their work in Romania and how SGA supports them.


Rosemary Lane also supports the work of several other overseas missionaries, which include:


Israel, Charlene and Miles (The Neale Family) are serving with the Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF). They are involved in work amongst the Yolngu indegenous people in Arnhem Land, Northern Australia.


Jonathan and Jingle Bradford have a Bible Teaching programme for young potential church workers in the Phillipines, Asia, where floods and health problems regularly affect them. There have been several floods this year and Jonathan has suffered ill-health but with the Lord’s help the work continues and flourishes.


Chrissie and Jano Mulindabigwe have a unique role in Rwanda, Africa, seeking to help in refugee camps, with orphans and others affected by HIV/Aids and as well as supporting vocational training centres. They are currently residing in the UK with visits to Rwanda to keep abreast of the work.


Esther and Gjergji Renja have a very demanding work in a very poor area of Albania, Europe, with the Roma people.


As well as supporting these missionaries, we have continued contact with Mission Aviation Fellowship with a Sunday set aside to the reviewing of their work – We look forward to a visit from Luc Van Damme on Sunday 8th July to tell us more about this expansive and vital work. In November we welcomed Harish Patel from Hounslow, London, to talk about the work of London City Mission.


Easter Celebrations

Our Easter celebrations began on Good Friday with our annual Bible Teaching Meeting. We welcomed Ian Coffey (Vice Principal Moorlands Bible College) who spoke at both our afternoon and evening service bringing to light the magnificence of the cross before concluding the evening with significance of the cross upon our lives today – living for Jesus and in particular, maintaining unity. We were also grateful to have the support of several members of the DCYC worship team who helped lead worship in the evening. On Easter Sunday the church was packed out and together we remembered the most amazing news of all – That Jesus is the risen, death-conquering saviour.


A great deal has happened at Rosemary Lane Chapel over the last 12 months – two weddings, a dedication and a baptism – amongst all the aforementioned. None of it happens apart from the servant-heartedness of so many people who come together be an authentic believing community that practice the kind of love that Jesus calls us to live out as we follow him.


We pray that God, who reveals his expansive love through Christ his Son, would continue to work within us and these hills; that we would be a people who love because he first loved us.


This is how God showed his love among us:


He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.


 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear


friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 


1 John 4:9-11







            This was another interesting year with some additional members.

The year started with our annual dinner and the following month included our AGM. At this meeting, members bring an item to speak about for a few minutes. This year there was a mystery to one of the objects – an embroidered cloth titled ‘Clayhidon Village Hall, 1958.’ It took several months to solve the mystery.


            We had some very interesting speakers from among the group’s members and from outsiders. In the summer months we made visits to events or buildings of interest, including Troakes Farm which was still unoccupied.

August was when we held our annual exhibition in the church for three days. This year one of our members had gathered together from our enormous collection of Clayhidon photographs all of which have been given captions and improved where necessary. Many of these were on display together with memorabilia of several who have emigrated from here in the nineteenth century.


            Monthly meetings continued in autumn until the Christmas party and quiz in December.


P.R.  Chair.




 The Blackdown Support Group 


01823 681 036


OFFICE OPENING HOURS:                           Monday to Friday    9.00am - 11.00am


The Blackdown Support Group is a local charity set up by and for local people. We aim to relieve sickness, loneliness and isolation in the Blackdowns by connecting people in need with volunteers who can offer them practical support.

Our services include:


  • Community transport - to health appointments, shopping, to social and well-being events, generally enabling greater independence
  • Befriending - visiting those who may be unable to leave their own home or have limited social contact with other people, relieving feelings of loneliness and isolation
  • Social events - lunch clubs, coffee mornings, carers groups, providing opportunities to meet friends, share experiences and enjoy a meal or drink together
  • Mentoring - trained volunteers provide  a structured support programme for those who are struggling to re-integrate back into the community, perhaps after bereavement, an accident or long period of ill health
  • Advocacy - providing support with filling in forms and paperwork to ensure people have access to the services or financial support they need
  • Footcare - clinic at the Blackdown Healthy Living Centre
  • Short term wheelchair loan - 4 wheelchairs available
  • Disabled access vehicle hire - capable of carrying one wheelchair-bound passenger and one other plus driver


We are always looking for new volunteer drivers, befrienders and social club helpers. We cannot provide these services without our volunteers so please get in touch, however much or little time you have. You can also help us by becoming a Friend of the BSG. An £8 per year subscription helps us fund volunteer drivers’ expenses, supports social activities and can make a huge difference to someone who is feeling lonely or struggling to get out.

Please contact Elizabeth McNabb for more information on 01823 681 036

A Caring Community

The Blackdown Healthy Living Centre at Riverside was established in 2010 to provide care and support to older, isolated and vulnerable people in the Blackdown Hills and Culm Valley Area.

We currently host the following services:

CAMEO Club Day Care Centre: providing warmth, companionship, gentle activities and a hot lunch twice a week.

BRIGHTSIDE Club: activities, fun and friend-ship with a hot lunch once per month.

MEMORY CAFÉ: friendship, support and activities for those affected by memory loss and their carers.

Wellbeing and Fitness groups: including Keep Fit, Pilates, Yoga, Step into Silence, Mindfulness, Toddler group, Baby weigh

Complementary Therapists: including, Osteopath, Chiropractic, Massage, Beauty Therapy, Reflexology, Acupuncture, Counselling, Hypnosis and more.


Details can be found on our website or our Facebook page


The cost of caring...

The centre is self-funded; we receive no support from the government or local authority. Funding for day care is increasingly difficult to come by, only 2 of our clients are paid for by the Council. We strive to keep our services affordable for our local privately funded clients. This means that the centre is running with a large deficit. To secure our future we are asking for the support of the local community.

How you can help us…

For information about becoming a sponsor of the centre or volunteering with us please contact the Centre Manager






The Violet Chapman Trust



The Violet Chapman Charity (Charity registration number 299996) was established in 1986 after Mrs Violet Chapman, who was a patient of the Blackdown Practice, gave a substantial gift to the doctors, which was intended to provide patients with services and help that were not available under the NHS.


The original Trustees were Dr Jonathan Meads, Mrs Chapman and Sir Christopher Palmer who, at that time, was senior partner with Ashfords Solicitors and one time president of the Law Society. The Trustees were, at this time, all volunteers not drawing any salary or expenses, and this remains the case to date.


The Trust has discretion to give grants for medical equipment and treatments as well as giving financial assistance to patients of the Blackdown Practice for numerous purposes.


All grants are given for the physical and mental wellbeing of the patients, and many will gain support by the help the Trust gives in supplying counselling where the NHS is unable to supply.


There are many examples that we could give of the patients we have helped recently and would cite one that required their bathroom to be modernised to enable them to continue to live at home; another patient who needed a chair that would help them in getting in and out without assistance. Another example is a patient who had severe back pain and a grant was given for them to have remedial massage.


If you feel the Trust can help you we would suggest you talk to your GP or any person who gives you support and submit an Application form which can be found online or pick one up from any of the Blackdown Practice surgeries.  The Trustees are only too happy to consider any applications. Alternatively for more details please contact the secretary, Mrs Judy Barton on 01823 680975 or


The Trustees are proud of the speed with which they are able to help patients and in many cases are able to provide financial assistance within two weeks.


The current Trustees are Mrs Shirley Wyatt (Chairman), Mr Stephen Walker (Legal representative - Ashfords), Mrs Judy Barton (Secretary), Dr Susan Brocklesby, Mrs Doreen Pike and Mr Tom Baker.