Chilworth2gether, the community group, has been active for ten years. It has committed itself to making Chilworth a great place to live, to work, and to bring up a family.
Before Chilworth2gether, the original group of four local Mums formed Chilworth Massive, a year-long project to raise awareness of the village, raising funding through a community activity every month and installing Millstone replicas at the entrances to the village.
Ten years on, and the Chilworth2gether community group has achieved a huge amount. It has been very successful in raising funds through local events. Perhaps the Chilworth Duck Race was the biggest and most successful of these, but there have been fetes and dog shows, dances and beetle drives – all the things you would expect in village life.
As a result of these efforts, Chilworth2gether has been able to fund three defibrillators for the village; instal wooden benches at the Gunpowder Mills picnic area and at Brookswood Sport field; support local organisations, especially our local Brownies; buy a trophy cabinet for the village hall; buy Christmas lights and decorate the Village Christmas tree, kindly given to the village each year by a local benefactor. We have cleared vegetation in the Gunpowder Mills, removed invasive Himalayan Balsam in partnership with the GBC Countryside warden; we have run Heritage open days, bought a stag beetle sculpture, and much much more.
We tried the ambitious projects too. We tried in vain to get GBC to agree to a boundary change, so that Chilworth village and its surroundings could be served by a single Parish Council, rather than being split in two. We also tried to buy a field that was under threat of development; though unsuccessful in purchasing it for the village to use, this field is now banked by the trustees of the Village Infant School, for future use if the school expands. So a successful outcome none the less, with the iconic view to St Martha Church preserved.
After ten years, we are getting tired. Core supporters have moved from the village, and other wonderful amenities have sprung up, notably the successful Community Cinema. Many core volunteers from Chilworth2gether now support this enterprise. It meets once a month. With the help of our local benefactor, Chilworth2gether was allocated the proceeds from a Picnics and Pimm’s evening, and with this, was able to commission a sound and media system to be installed in the village hall. This has paved the way for the Cinema, and other activities at the hall that can benefit from the improved amenities.
So, we have achieved a lot. We are hoping that a group of younger people in the village may pick up the baton and reinvent the community group for the next decade. But for now, the website will be taken down, the accounts closed and properly audited and activity will be discontinued.
The best bit about Chilworth2gether is that its activities are always fun, and thanks to the retiring team, always well organised. Maybe those of us who are still living in the village will get the chance to take five on the new picnic benches that will be installed in the Gunpowder Mills this summer, as Chilworth2gether’s final flourish.