It was great to see so many people taking part in the Pancake Races on Sunday. The weather was kind and many of you turned out to either take part or cheer on the brave contestants who flipped their way up Broad Street at considerable speed. The event only takes place because the Rotary Club and Lions work together to provide the necessary organisational support and the Town Council gives them a small grant to cover their costs. Events like this are so important because they bring our community together for a bit of fun; something we all need in our lives.

Most people are unaware that the Town Council gives out grants. While we don’t have particularly deep pockets we always set aside money to support grass roots organisations and just last month we agreed to support the Community Garden, Town Band and Walkers are Welcome by giving them each £750 for projects. During this financial year we’ve already given £7500 in grants to groups around the Town and next year we will putting aside £10,000. This increase was agreed last week at the Full Council meeting when I’m pleased to say the budget for 2023/24 was approved unanimously by all Councillors. While we’ve had to set a small increase of 3% in real terms this will mean we will be using reserves to cover costs because we are subject to the same price increases as everybody else. All our bills have increased significantly over the last year but we’ve capped the increase at 3% because we recognise times are difficult for many people so now is the time to dip into our reserves and help in a small way where we can. This is why we’ve also increased the budget for grants as we also believe it’s important to support the community groups who work so hard to try and make Ross a better place for us all to work and live.

While we’re talking about grants we’ve also set aside some money to support communities that wish to hold street parties to celebrate the Coronation on 6th May. The scheme will operate the same as it did for the Jubilee last year and will enable you to apply for £100 to cover the costs of bunting and jelly … we helped 17 streets hold events last year and if you’d like to apply just contact the office and they’ll send you a very simple form. I endeavoured to attend all the Jubilee parties … it would be good to see if we could break last year’s record!