Frome’s Missing Links started in 2010 to campaign for better and safer walking and cycling routes in Frome and better connections to neighbouring towns and villages. The goal was to develop traffic-free routes with gentle gradients suitable for all ages and abilities.
It soon became clear that what people wanted first was to see the Colliers Way cycle path to Radstock completed with a traffic-free route into the centre of town. This cycle path, Sustrans’ route 24, currently ends at Great Elm, just 2.5 miles outside Frome. The road route from Great Elm follows narrow roads and includes three steep hills, before leading you through the streets of Frome to the town centre.
To the south of Frome, Sustrans’ Route 24 continues towards Longleat, taking a route that involves some busy roads and another steep hill.
Frome’s Missing Links would like to see more family-friendly routes in both directions, and is doing this by campaigning, commenting on planning applications, and raising funds to build these routes.
Progress so far
Frome’s Missing Links started by extending the path from the centre of Frome out towards Great Elm. Volunteers spent many days clearing scrub, erecting fences and preparing the ground. Grants from Mendip District Council, Frome Town Council and Aster Housing helped to back up financial support from Sustrans and the section from Welshmill to Low Water, Phase 1, was completed in January 2015. We celebrated the opening with a procession of bicycles and scooters, illuminated by hundreds of lights and reflectors.
The next phase of the project will extend the Great Elm end of the cycle path towards Frome. Phase 2 will take the path up to Elliots Lane in Hansford. We have already begun clearing the route. A team of volunteers has removed the old railway track and concrete sleepers from a section of the route nearly a kilometer long. The sleepers have been re-used in a couple of picnic benches along this section.
When Phase 1 was completed, Sustrans set Frome’s Missing Links the challenge of raising £20,000 from the local community for Phase 2. Raising this money would show there was strong local support for the project, helping Sustrans to find funding from other sources.
We met this target in August 2016 and you can find out more about how we did this on our Phase 2 Fundraising page.
How we are organised
In June 2016, Frome’s Missing Links was set up as an independent charitable organisation, having been part of Sustainable Frome and working with Sustrans. As a result, we can now take donations, apply for funding and claim gift aid.
We have kept the structure and requirements of the charity as simple as possible consistent with legal requirements. We want to spend our energy building the links, not a bureaucracy. The constitution is available – please click here. You will see the trustees cannot receive any payment, even expenses. To be transparent we will publish the latest minutes of the trustees meetings <link> and our latest accounts.
We have found people and local business are more likely to donate to local good causes, and our experience in taking on far more fundraising and seeking donations of materials and services such as tool hire has been positive so far.