While we were beavering away at yet another exciting project for Colyton, a kind person asked me a simple but important questions ‘Who is the Promote Colyton Group and what do they do?’ When you are so involved in a project, it is easy to overlook how you are perceived by the very people you want to attract. So, we thought we would take this opportunity to give you a brief overview.

In 2014 a small group of able, but concerned, local unpaid volunteers representing a wide cross section of the community got together in a pub to create the Promote Colyton Group. Its purpose, as defined in its constitution, is to promote Colyton for the public benefit, to promote business opportunities and to help promote and sustain a vibrant community.

You will probably be more familiar with our public face, ‘Visit Colyton and the Coly Valley’. We are best remembered for our town events, the most popular being the Monmouth Rebellion Living History Day in June 2015. Anybody who visited Colyton at that time would not have failed to recognise its extraordinary impact. This year we are hoping to repeat that success with our already well laid plans for the next major event – ‘A Day in the Life of Colyton Townsfolk: English Civil War 1644’ on Saturday, 10th June 2017.

However, it is important to know that the group is so much more than just an event organiser. We run many projects to enhance the town with various initiatives, including the very successful and smart website – colyton.co.uk – where you will find a wealth of information about our town and its environs. You will also find here a diary of events from the myriad of local organisations who contribute so much to our community. Like everything we do, the site is an information hub, a portal to so much more. To supplement the website, we have a very active Facebook page with many members. Whilst we embrace the modern electronic age, we have not lost sight of traditional methods of communication and host a social occasion twice a year to give everyone a chance to meet each other, exchange ideas and keep up to date on future plans.

Last summer saw the launch of the Heraldic Banner Project with 24 hand painted banners displayed in Market Place. The banners, representing important historical families within the parish, were researched, created and then hand painted by our loyal band of talented volunteers. This year we are busy recreating a further 12 banners and all of them will be displayed around the town from early June to September. The project has been a significant financial investment but we fully expect to see them enhance the town for the next ten years.

The town leaflet we commissioned has been a great success and this year’s new edition has been distributed throughout East Devon to help promote Colyton and its many attractions to the visitor. We also replaced all the town information boards with brand spanking new ones, not to mention the annual Christmas tree display which adds so much to our festive spirit.

Colyton has numerous attractive public gardens which are all tended by volunteers. Last year we offered to take responsibility for the lovely garden and seating area by the river at Blue Bridge. We paid for some essential work last year and will be maintaining the gardens again this year.

All these projects and plans cost money and we believe we achieve an amazing amount on a shoestring budget. Bearing in mind the demands upon small businesses in the current economic climate, we keep our membership fees at a very affordable level so as to encourage participation. Our bank balance is not large – we put back into the community as much as we take in.

While we can do much to help enhance our enthusiastic local community, it must be remembered that there are things we have no control over, such as parking issues, planning decisions and road maintenance, but if you join us, we can help you be an active voice to deal with the challenges we face as a town.

Our committee enjoys working together and meets on a monthly basis for a drink and discussion in one of our local pubs. We are actively looking for new members to join our committee so, we cordially invite you to come along and bring your ideas to help Promote Colyton and the Coly Valley and contribute towards a bright future for us all.

Jacquie McCullough

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