WIN in the community
From the outset, Wells Independents' purpose has been to contribute far more to the local community than winning the right to serve on the City Council.
Each of us, whether as councillors or as part of our own private life, gets actively involved wherever we can be useful in as wide a variety of projects and causes as time allows.
And, of course, that’s in addition to the projects that we ourselves initiated – notably the quarterly SOUP! grant-funding lunches and the award-winning Wells Ambassadors, who welcome all visitors to our city.
WIN - continuing
to work for you
WIN councillors Denise Denis and Sarah Powell have supported projects in Wells to improve biodiversity and encourage sustainable planting and land management for a better environment. We've sponsored a flower planter at the bus station to encourage
pollinators. It is hoped that this will encourage future plantings to be sustainable and bee friendly.
Another environment pilot project which both Sarah and Denise support is the wilding of an area in Tor Hill Lane which is managed by Sustainable Wells. Denise helped Sustainable Wells obtain the licence from Mendip District Council by setting up the framework for the project and ensured Wells City Council support through insurance cover and signage. Sarah and Denise helped out on the scything and raking day by turning up with rakes to clear up the grass cuttings and involved Wells City Council Open Spaces in the removal of the grass which is an important part of the wilding process as it removes the excess nitrogen which makes the soil too rich for wildflowers.
WIN councillor Deborah Orrett has set up a very effective litter picking team of volunteers. There are about 60 volunteers covering residential roads, the city centre, other communal areas, and the approach roads to Wells. Wells City Council provides high-viz jackets, pickers, hoops. IDE Verde collect the rubbish from six points around the town after a litter picking weekend. Whilst there are formal litter
picks about 3 times a year, the volunteers go out and about in their own time and cover their designated areas. For the Big Help Out on the coronation weekend Deborah organised an additional litter picking party!
Trustees, residents and staff of the Almshouses
The project has already received support from Mendip Communities Fund, The Blair Foundation, Wessex Water as well as community backing through a sponsored walk by trustee Chris Vigar, and investment from Wells City Almshouses themselves.
WIN councillor Stewart Cursley, Chairman of the board of trustees, said: “We are thrilled to have received this support thanks to National Lottery players. We have been developing plans for some time and are delighted to have the opportunity to restore the Bubwith Chapel and to ensure this building retains its original purpose as well as becoming a vital part of Wells’ community landscape and an important place for people to connect.”
Since the 1400s the almshouses have been supporting those with housing needs in Wells. With five buildings on either side of Priest Row, the trust provides housing in the centre of the city for 33 older people with a housing need.
The earliest of the five almshouses was founded in the 15th century through a legacy from the Bishop of Bath and Wells and Treasurer to King Henry IV, Nicholas Bubwith.
Bubwith’s Almshouse is located next to St Cuthbert’s Churchyard and includes the chapel and a Guild Room which was used for city council meetings before Wells Town Hall was built.
Bubwith's Chapel, interior and exterior
Wells City Almshouses
The Wells City Almshouses are celebrating receiving a grant of £158,490 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to restore the historic Bubwith Chapel on the Chamberlain Street side of their site.
The project will develop and transform the chapel, making it both a visitor destination in Wells and a community space for the city. The restored chapel will provide a continuing place of worship and contemplation, and a warm space for activities to reconnect older residents and local community groups. It will also host concerts, recitals, lectures, workshops, seminars and rehearsals.
need to book and any topic or problem is welcome. Councillors will do their best to give advice and help to resolve the issue.
The dates for these surgeries can be found on the Wells City Council website, by clicking on this link: Council Diary
Councillor Advice Surgeries
At a full council meeting in 2022, WIN councillor Sarah Powell proposed that Wells City Council do monthly advice surgeries at the Town Hall for any member of the public. This was adopted by the Council, with all councillors involved. Each month two councillors attend the surgeries, which take place on a Monday from 6.00 pm to 7.00 pm. There is no
How we've already made a
Control of important landmarks, such as the Bishops Barn and the Recreation Ground, has been returned to Wells, and we hope others will follow.
WCN, set up during the pandemic and chaired by Philip Welch, is now the Wells Community Network. Local volunteers continue to support those most in need.
A temporary and now a permanent new Post Office facility has been set up in the centre of Wells.
The Wells Neighbourhood Plan gives local people a voice about their particular area. The plan covers housing, transport, heritage, the natural environment, retail, tourism and biodiversity.
The part pedestrianisation of the Market Place has given the centre of Wells a truly ‘café society’ feel, welcomed by visitors, residents and retailers alike.
The Portway Annexe has been purchased for the Community, to provide a centre for local learning, charities, good causes, as well as a home for the council’s Open Spaces team.
In April 2016, WIN launched SOUP! The quarterly programme of fund-raising lunches has so far benefitted 81 good causes in the Wells area.
Wells Ambassadors (another WIN initiative) greet visitors to Wells and help them to find and enjoy the city’s many tourist attractions.
What next for WIN in Wells?
Somerset Council became a Unitary Authority on 1st April 2023 when the 5 District Councils ceased to exist. Wells City Council is hopeful that assets will be transferred back to the City as Somerset reassesses all the assets it has taken on. A new role of joint working for all parish and town councils has been created through the 18 Local Community Networks
and WIN councillor Philip Welch has taken on the role of LCN Councillor Representative for Wells City Council.
Live Music in Wells is being brought back to life with the help of WIN. The Wellspring project is raising funds for performances in the
Wells in Bloom
The award-winning Wells in Bloom has been relaunched, with the centre of our city decked in colour.