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Town Clerk’s Musing

I was delighted to read in one of our national newspapers that Devizes has been recognised as one of the West Countries’ best-kept secrets and a delightful place to visit, which I hope will help our drive to bring more visitors to the town.  As a town council, we recognise we need to play our part in supporting our tourism economy, a task we take seriously and for several years we have partnered with both Visit Wiltshire and The Great West Way project to ensure that Devizes is included in the promotional material for the County that goes out to both the National and International travel trade industries.  We have also recently partnered with Wiltshire Council to support their “Explore Wiltshire” app, which can be downloaded to your smart devices and has a section focused on Devizes. The app gives information about the town, with trails to follow and information about things to do while you are in Devizes. It’s well worth downloading the app and doing some exploring, even if you are local.  In 2024 we want to do even more and therefore we are now reviewing our tourism strategy and have secured external funding to support this.  To help with this new strategy, we are putting together a consultation questionnaire to make sure we still fully understand what a visitor to Devizes might be looking for and make sure that we are promoting those aspects of the town that best define our unique selling point. We will be sharing this with tourism service providers, but we also want to know what you think, so keep an eye out for our questionnaire which will be circulated shortly, and let us have your thoughts.

As we enter into a new year, for many of us it’s a chance to make small changes in our lifestyle through a New Year’s resolution, whether it be to improve our fitness, our health or our outlook on life.  As a town council, one of our New Year resolutions is to cut down on the amount of single-use plastic we use and give out, and as a council who likes to share, we are encouraging everyone in our community to do the same. The amount of plastic our litter-picking teams collect is massive and while individually we might feel we can’t make much of a difference, collectively we can. Shortly we will be launching our plastic-free pledge through our website, so if you were wondering what you should be giving up this year, why not give single-use plastic reduction a go? It shouldn’t be too onerous, just look at the list of things you might want to do, or simply tell us what you are already doing and over the coming months, we will tell you how we are getting on with our pledge.

Some of you may remember a few years ago we teamed up with an organisation called Beat the Streets and for a couple of months hundreds of people spent time when they were out on cycle rides or walking tapping in at waypoints to record their fitness activity. Well for those of you who enjoyed it, we have just about to launch a new initiative called “Street Tag”. Unlike Beat the Streets, where those taking park needed to carry a smart card and tap it on a waypoint, “Street Tag” is app-based and automatically records each time you pass one of the tag points on your journey, schools and community groups (businesses, faith groups, clubs, etc) can form teams, competing to earn points for a place in either schools or community leaderboards for cash prizes. There will be two opportunities for schools and groups to take part;

Schools:

29 January – 26 April 2024

27 June – 16 October 2024

Community groups

29 January – 25 April 2024

27 June – 15 October 2024

It is also hoped the initiative will help our community explore safe walking and cycling routes to work and school by promoting these safe alternative routes as well as setting up a community challenge where schools and community groups can compete against one another for the number of tags they hit, which can be converted into prizes…! The app can be downloaded from your device’s app store, search ‘Street Tag’.

Town Clerk, Simon Fisher