My Cheddar is a volunteer community group supporting the Parish Council – a kind of civic society – working with various local authorities including the police, and also various local landowners including councils, Bristol Water and Longleat. Running since 2011 we are focusing on making Cheddar a better place to live, work, shop and visit. It’s an exercise in building a sustainable community, community led planning and local action that anyone can join in with. It comprises people with a wide variety of skills and experience and includes people who have only lived in Cheddar a few months, right through to those who were born and brought up here over 60 years ago and have seen many changes. We are not separate from the community, we are the community, and our members are simply local residents who have chosen to get involved in doing their bit to improve the area. How would you like to see Cheddar and the Gorge improve? Have you got some workable ideas? Can you lend a hand? Then get stuck in!
Making Cheddar a better place to live
If you care at all about improving Cheddar and getting various community groups to work together towards a common goal, please sign up. Time commitment is as much as you can spare, and even if you can’t help with the more physical aspects such as planting, litterpicking and so on, just being part of the our network will help to keep you in the loop, enable you to share your views, and you never know when you might be the critical connection when we are looking for someone with specific skills or expertise. Who might you know who can help out? And could we reach a membership of 500 (which would be approaching 10% of the village population)?
If you would like to join us and help improve Cheddar through community projects, please read on!
The group is helping to develop Cheddar’s Neighbourhood Plan which will make sure that the wishes of local residents and indeed the needs of visitors are properly taken into consideration when new development plans are being considered. Whilst it’s impossible to stop all development, residents can have a say about the type of development they would like, and try and make sure it goes in the right places. You can see the beginnings of Cheddar’s plan here.
Whilst as individuals, My Cheddar members may have our own views on development proposals, we are not particularly a pro- or anti-development pressure group, but focused on looking at a wider range of quick wins and longer term plans that local residents and businesses could support.
There are also a number of small task groups looking at projects to improve the way the community functions, such as sustainability, local shopping and markets, environmental considerations, sports facilities, transport, tourism, Lower Gorge Regeneration, and developing a community hub. These can help to reduce the need for external investment in the community and make it more sustainable, resilient and self-sufficient. A strong community network is also perceived to improve property values. These days, councils and other authorities don’t have the money available to do all the things we may have grown up taking for granted. Today, if you want to see improvements in your area, a group of enthusiastic locals armed with some community grant funding, is far more likely to achieve the desired outcome.
Our projects are not only related to environmental action or global economy topics, they’re more about fixing local issues which in turn can help to address these wider concerns. For example we also co-ordinate our Community Speedwatch scheme. As well as tackling quick win projects, building a sustainable community requires looking for integrated solutions over longer term periods, thus becoming economically, environmentally, and socially healthy over time.
These “Transition-themed” videos are very much in line with what My Cheddar is about:
Our members and partners
We are separate from business networks, local pressure groups, churches, clubs, charities, councils, sports teams, Scouts, Guides and so on, although the facilities and expertise of these kinds of local organisations may well be suited to taking forward or helping to develop particular projects.
A wide range of local organisations have already been getting on board to help out with our projects – see the list on our partners page.
Join the group and subscribe to newsletters
You can join the group on this site, and pay a registration fee of anything from £0 upwards.
To stay in the loop with the latest local discussions you can also join the My Cheddar Facebook Group, and follow @mycheddar and/or @cheddarvillage on Twitter (see left margin). We also have a page on the Village SOS site.