Category Archives: Wisbech Town Council
Rock Festival Wash Up
I know, I know. Every year I write up the Rock Festival and talk about how hard work it was but how well it went. That’s because it is always hard work and it does always seem to go pretty well. And when a small group of people work so hard to put something great on for our town its worth talking about, I think, even if its a bit repetitive.
Wisbech Town Council aspire to do our events a little bit better each year. We watch what works and build on it. We watch what doesn’t work so well and enact plans to prevent or reduce that problem the following year. This means that each year things run a little more smoothly. But there’s no getting around the sheer volume of the work.
The whole thing takes several months of meetings, planning and organisation to get set. Then the actual setup of the event begins on the Saturday night, when Councillors and volunteers meet up to get some of the early work done in time for the morning; getting dozens of safety barriers to the park, moving the gazebos ready to be set up in the morning (harder work than you might think, these things are heavy and they have weights to hold them down that are heavier.)
Then people arrive early in the morning on the Sunday to begin putting everything in place. There’s a lot to organise. Barriers, first aid tent, stage, traders area, litter bins, portaloos and toilets. All the volunteer stewards are briefed on safety procedures and “what to do’s” in the event of various possible issues.
Once the event begins, stewards (who have already been working for four hours at that point) then have to spend some nine hours keeping on top of things. Constantly picking up litter (otherwise it accumulates in a grim way and the place looks like a bomb has hit it), helping reunite lost children with worried parents, unblocking toilets, diffusing any potential disputes between individuals, handing out free water to people if there is a worry that the heat might be a problem, directing people to things, dealing with first aid issues and generally keeping the event running safety and smoothly. The park is split into three “stages” and so stewards are walking all around the park all day, which was in blistering heat this year.
At all times stewards must be upbeat, friendly and happy – because grumpy, hot, tired angry stewards do not add to a successful party atmosphere. Often, as the day wears on and feet start to ache and sunburn gets sore and you’ve just taken your twenty-ninth binbag of rubbish to the skip, remaining positive and smiley can be a little challenging, but our stewards manage it because it really is fun to know you are delivering fun for others.
When the day ends for everybody else, stewards still have three more hours “clearing up” to do. Putting back all those metal barriers and gazebos and weights, clearing all the rest of the litter, loading it all into vans and getting it back into storage. Everybody is shattered by the end.
I think most people know this but I do think its worth stressing that every single one of our stewards, whether they are Councillors or friends, are all volunteers. Nobody gets paid a penny. It is not part of anybody’s “job.” They turn up and give their time and energy for free, to deliver this event to people who love it.
In my opinion, this year was probably the best ever Rock Festival. It’s true that there was a fight at the Dance Stage, brought about by some inter-family drama and (I suspect) the use of alcohol and substances some of them brought with them. But it was handled smoothly by stewards and the Police and did not detract from the overall event – in fact most people didn’t know it had happened at all. It is not possible for any event to have zero incidents, the mark of good organisation is the correct handling of the situation. David Oliver’s team and the stewards went precisely by the book and the scuffle was contained and diffused.
Councillors David and Jess Oliver handle safety for the whole event and were brilliant.
Cllr Garry Tibbs, who compered the whole event, has pretty much secured the role forever. He just has a Rock n’ Roll voice :) But despite his new celebrity, he was still litter picking and loading with the rest of us lowly steward minions. :) :)
Gary Read and his sound team are always awesome and this was particularly true this year – I don’t think I’ve ever heard Rock Festival sound so good.
All the many Councillors and volunteers worked their socks off. I wont name them all because I will forget some but I would like to mention Trevor Ketteringham (always tireless and hard-working) and Cllr. Andrew Lynn and most particularly David Gutteridge (The Viking) whose new First Aid qualification was put to good use and who worked so hard at the Dance Stage for most of the day.
Obviously – huge thanks to all the acts on all three stages who entertained so many people for so long.
The stalls and fair were great.
The Mayor, Cllr Peter Human, and his family were absolute troopers. Despite having to make a long, hot Mayoral appearance, he was still there in the dark at the end loading things into vans.
My Mum and Stepdad and my Son Joe were just great.
Our Town Clerk Terry, and Susanah Farmer, were also there for the entire event working above and beyond the call of duty.
But most of all my hat goes off to Cllr. Sam Hoy who is the lead person and main organiser of the event and who, once again, with the help of all the people I have named and probably quite a few I forgot to name (sorry!) delivered an incredible success.
JOB VACANCY, Wisbech Town Council
Assets Supervisor – vacancy posted 3 August 2018 – closing date 17 August 2018
Closing date for applications 5pm 17 August 2018.
- Friendly? Customer-focussed?
- Interested in your local community?
- Outdoorsy? Practical?
- Able to use a computer and social media?
If so, we may have just the job for you –
Assets Supervisor at Wisbech Town Council
MAIN PURPOSE OF JOB:
- Responsible for the day-to-day operational delivery of Wisbech Town Council market and allotment facilities by managing and delivering cost-effective, customer-focused provision.
- Ensuring that effective mechanisms are in place so that these services are delivered in a safe and efficient manner.
- Oversee the fabric of council assets.
- Develop high-quality relationships with traders, allotment tenants and service users and act as ambassador for Wisbech Town Council.
20 hours/week (job share considered) £17,681-£18,672 (pro-rata)
For a full job description and person specification please see the Wisbech Town Council website or contact the council office.
Closing date for applications 5pm 17 August 2018.
Please see below for full job description, person specification and application form.
Completed application forms can be submitted by post or email –
Wisbech Town Council, 1 North Brink, Wisbech PE13 1JR
Introducing Councillor Ben Prest
After a month or more of hard campaigning, the Conservative candidate Ben Prest was elected tonight to represent the Kirkgate Ward on Wisbech Town Council. At Nineteen years of age, I believe that makes him quite possibly the youngest Town Councillor ever elected in Wisbech?
Ben is a bright, eloquent and charming young man and I think he will be a fantastic Councillor.
The victory belongs to Ben, but he was helped by the local Conservative team who worked hard to make sure this young man had every chance.
Ben won with enough votes to beat both the other candidates put together, which, for a young man in his first ever election, is quite a feat. Somebody said it was “youth versus experience”, which I don’t think was quite right (some sorts of experience are not particularly welcome). I think that being a fresh face, an earnest and genuine young man, and being a true local candidate were probably the deciding factors. People seem to prefer candidates who live where they live, or at least very close. But whatever it was, Ben won very clearly. Congratulations to him.
WisBEACH Day 2018
Incredible day. Incredible weather. Huge crowds. Awesome atmosphere.
Couldn’t have asked for more, really.
Well done all my colleagues at Wisbech Town Council and all the brilliant volunteers. Another one knocked out of the park!
Wisbech Castle Project – 12th May
I was at the Castle this morning for 8AM to let the guys bring the trailer/skip into the rear gate. The thing was huge and it took some care to get it through even that wide entrance. There was about half inch clearance either side and the tractor driver who brought it was an amazing driver to make it work
After that I got a sausage sandwich and a cuppa and sat on the balcony in the peace and quiet. What a beautiful mornng..
Volunteers arrived for 9AM and we all pitched in to the next batch of work. Some folk worked at the front entrance, jet washing, weeding and cleaning. Others were on the Ground Floor clearing out cupboards, and doing more cleaning and scrubbing. Yet more volunteers were putting the rubbish we’ve already accumulated into the trailer at the rear of the garden.
We have had a local plumber offer to installing some of the bits we need for free, which was very generous and welcome.
We have got to the point now where we’re ready to begin some light decorating and painting. We also need to start clearing out the vaults. So next week that’s where we’ll be at – preparing wood, painting and clearing out the vault.
Tomorrow the gardening team are back, working their magic on the grounds.
It’s all coming on!
Some random pictures of interesting stuff in the Castle:
Wisbech Castle Project – 10th May 2018
A team of Working Party and other volunteers spent several hours at Wisbech Castle today. We had determined to work on the ground floor and since we had a good turnout we were able to work on several rooms at once.
The Old Kitchen, which was absolutely full to the brim of furniture and stored stuff was the focus of much activity. Everything was removed from the room so that it could be given a very thorough clean. Items of value and interest were put in safe storage and other stuff removed to the waste area. The fireplace was also cleared and all the antique implements cleaned and displayed. Piles of chairs and other things that had been just dumped in there for storage were organised and stored in an accessible and tidy way in a more suitable location.
The Utility / Room was also completely emptied and deep cleaned – which is really, really needed. Cupboards and drawers were cleared of rubbish and made ready for new use.
Furniture that needed repair or refurbishment was identified and kept separate for the work to take place at a later date.
The downstairs storage room, which was so full of junk that you couldn’t even open the door, was completely emptied and the contents evaluated and stored / reused / removed depending on its nature. We were pleased to find a jet washer buried under the pile of fold-up tables in there, which is great as it was one of the things we had thought we would need to buy.
While the team were working we had visits from the Fire Safety Officer (to check the building was safe and to make any recommendations). We also had a plumber who has offered the Castle Project a discount service, to quote on some of the things we would like to see done. And a local electrician who had offered to check the electrics for us for safety (and whose report is broadly that all is well!) and who kindly fixed some broken electrics while he was there.
All in all a really good few hours work. There’s a lot to do, but focusing on the building a room at a time, and with a large team of volunteers, means that things get done quickly. It is really useful that our volunteers have a range of skills and knowledge.
I’d like to thank the many volunteers who came today. The Wisbech Castle Project is coming on really well and it can only happen because you are giving your time and talent to help it.
Photos (c) Roger Rawson
Word reaches me that the usual fellows have been grumbling (incorrectly) that the plans for improvements to Spider Park in Kirkgate Ward have been something that was only mentioned as there is an election. Apparently, one of the tiny group has even promised to “go back through Town Council minutes.”
In order to save them some time, the minutes they are looking for can be found on the Wisbech Town Council website here from the November meeting of the Policy & Resources Committee.
I am quite used to a certain local newspaper regularly using inaccuracy and lies to attack me. It is with a sense of resignation that they have chosen to do it once again.
You will notice that the newspaper has chosen a “headline” for Mr Smith’s letter which suggests that I have not responded to Mr. Smith. Now if I were being generous I would say that this is a mistake brought about by them not being bothered to read the content of Mr. Smiths’s letter. But I have no generosity left for the Wisbech Standard and so I can only presume that it’s purpose is to once again try and have a pop at my reputation by suggesting I have not responded to Mr. Smith in a timely fashion.
In fact, this is completely false. The issue that concerns Mr Smith is actually not something I am directly responsible for – it is a matter for the Assets Committee, which I do not sit on. But nevertheless I have responded to Mr Smith on multiple occasions; by email, on social media, and on this very blog. I did so as soon as he asked about the issue, back in January, and on several occasions since. Mr Smith has also received a response from Susanah Farmer, the Operations Manager at Wisbech Town Council, back in January.
Mr Smith may not be happy with the answers he has been given and that is his prerogative, but it is false for the newspaper to suggest that he has not had a response. In fact, Mr Smith does not claim that I have not responded to him. The content of his letter makes clear that he is waiting for a response from the Chairman of the Assets Committee. My suggestion that he write to the Chairman was only made a couple of weeks ago and I am sure he will get a response in due course. Wisbech Town Councillors are volunteers, many of whom have full time jobs, and so cannot respond in 24 hours. I would expect that the Chairman will give an answer, as Mr Smith has already been given answers, and that he will still not be happy with the answer.