Dear Parish Pump readers,
One cannot begin an article on the future of the Parish Pump without first spending time congratulating Stu Redway on the herculean achievement which is the Parish Pump to-date. The positive impact the Parish Pump has on our community is of huge significance, binding us as one entity, giving us our identity in our amazing parish and village. I hope I reflect the feeling in the parish by saying we cannot thank Stu enough for his commitment and diligence in providing us with this long standing and cherished periodical. I would personally and publicly like to thank Stu, not just for the amazing work he has done, but for being so open and willing to collaborate on the future vision for the Parish Pump.
The astute readers will have seen my introductory article in the last edition, upon joining the Weston-in-Gordano Parish Council and my passion for providing an online resource and service to parishioners, an area which needed focus to bring us not just into compliance with regulations, but to provide a steppingstone, a solid base for the great work the council and other community groups wish to excel at in the coming months and years. No doubt some readers will have reacted to my bio with concern, fearing a departure from tradition and the accepted status quo regarding the Parish Pump. To that concern I wish to explain further my vision and seek to remove any concern parishioners and readers may have.
It is without question that the hardcopy edition of the Parish Pump is not only required, but loved, cherished and part of the parish DNA. I feel the hardcopy should remain, albeit compiled and produced by different means, to be available for all who want it. This for me is a mandatory core principle for the future of the Parish Pump. Another core principle, arguably of equal footing, is looking forward to the future, embracing new norms and exploring the exciting potential of the online medium. Reasoning dictates that with two such principles a third is almost implied, both endeavours must work in unison, respecting each other and complimenting each other, symbiotic without conflict.
The online presence, afforded by the new parish website, www.wigparishcouncil.co.uk, brings with it immense flexibility to post content at a moments notice, anything from notices to full blown articles, photographs and video, indeed all conceivable content can be displayed online with limited effort and cost. This enables the council to inform users as and when needed, pushing content out to social media, which parishioners can follow as it happens, or indeed digest at their leisure over Sunday morning breakfast. Content which was difficult to share at the appropriate time, for example communications from North Somerset Council, details of road closures or faulty lights, can now be disseminated to the parish at a moments notice. But this was never the stomping ground of the Parish Pump, I hear you cry. “You’ve gone off topic”, I hear the heckles now.
My point is this: Bulletins and announcements from the council are just the beginning. With a blank canvass platform, we the parish can have a voice, in the same way we do with the Parish Pump now. Parish history, walks, nature articles, photography, recipes, wellbeing content, announcements, marriages, births, local businesses, the categories of interest will grow as content is provided, content which can be online within minutes. This initial minor outlay of effort on my behalf to post the content grants those of us following online the immediate consumption we crave, but it also provides a wealth of content for the hardcopy Parish Pump I mentioned above. Compiled from the best of the website articles, already in electronic format, ready for the printers to mass produce.
One avenue to create content, two end products. Two different principles, working as one, serving the different needs of the community.
How is this achieved? To begin with I will define a way in which content can be provided to me either electronically or in hardcopy, mindful of current safety measures in place of course. Next, I will be looking for content providers, anyone who can spare a few minutes to put an article together, budding gardeners sharing their tips, the Nigelas and Jamies of the village to provide recipes, ornithologists and zoologists with their “just spotted in Weston-in-Gordano” reports, photographers, mindfulness experts, historians, editors and illustrators. If you have a skill, a passion, and time to spare to enrich our community, then we can grow the online and hardcopy offering into something amazing. I dream that we can come close to deserving the prestigious title of Parish Pump, that Stu has entrusted to us.
Cllr Daveran Baulch (article first published in The Parish Pump March 2021 edition)