Rotary Monmouth in the Community/ Monmouth Fountains Scheme

Drinking water fountains will enhance Monmouth as an attractive place to live, work and visit and reduce plastic waste

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The water fountain project comes from ideas generated by Monmouth Rotary Community Champions (MRCC) and the Monmouth Off-Street Project, managers of Monmouth’s fabulous skate park.

The Aims of the Project

To provide the public with easy access to clean drinking water and, at the same time, attempt to reduce the vast amount of plastic waste we generate and, regretfully, throw all over our lovely town. The project will:

1. Installing a number of state-of-the-art drinking fountains at prime locations within the town and

2. Restore the Jubilee Drinking Fountain at St Thomas’s Church. 

Each project will be supported by an ‘engagement plan’, a programme of promotion, education and interpretation designed to encourage people to use and value the fountains and reduce and recycle their waste. 

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Where are we now?

Installation of Modern Fountains. 

Three sites were identified as suitable for the installation of fountains. Each has become an individual project. A summary of progress is given below. 

The Green Wall Project (Blestium Street Toilets).  - Completed
The wall mounted fountain was installed in August 2019 and ‘opened’ by the Town Mayor, Richard Roden, with the full pomp and ceremony and the Town Band. It is designed to complement the magnificent flower walls installed and maintained by Monmouth Rotary Community Champions. The flowers are looking maf

The Skate Park Project:
Fountain similar to the one for the Skate Park

This project has been developed by the Monmouth Off-Street Project (MOSP) who see the installation of a drinking fountain with bottle filler backed by a programme of education, as a means of making the park a better, healthier, greener place. Over £12k has been raised and the project is fully funded. A fountain has been purchased, the groundwork completed and water supplied to the site. MOSP will decide when Installation will take place. 

A ‘Skate Jam’ is planned to celebrate the fountain coming onstream.

Chippenham Mead
A fountain, similar to that above, has been proposed for installation at Chippenham. It will give access to the vast range of people who use Chippenham for all sorts of recreation. The fountain has just been given planning permission from the Welsh Government.    

Transition Monmouth has kindly agreed to manage this project. Their strong support for the re-siting of the play park at Chippenham and their project “Plastic Free Monmouth” make them an appropriate partner to undertake the work. 

It is estimated that the project will cost £12/13k   Hywel Rees is in the process of preparing a funding application to the Lottery Awards for All programme (still open in Wales). It is hoped that MCC will manage the fountain as part of their responsibility for Chippenham Mead and its facilities including the re-sited children’s play area.

Renovation of the Diamond Jubilee Fountain

Our forefathers had similar pressing needs for clean drinking water and, in the past Monmouth had a number of working fountains. Over time these fell into disuse and have been lost. The exception is the Jubilee Fountain at St Thomas’s Church. This is a fine example of Romanesque stone masonry and was erected as a memorial to Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897. Despite a "tidy up" and some renovation for the Queen's Silver Jubillee in 1977, also managed by Monmouth Rotary Club, sadly, the fountain requires urgent attention if it is not to fall into complete dilapidation. The restoration and reuse of the Jubilee Fountain, backed by an Engagement Plan, is seen as a way of:
  • Involve people with the fountain’s conservation and allow it to become a ‘much loved’ community asset;
  • Connect more people with its history and promote it as part of Monmouth’s heritage;
  • Encourage people to use the fountain, change behaviour and attitudes about fountains and 
  • Promote the regular drinking of water and the reduction/recycling of waste.
Detailed plans for the renovation have been prepared by Jane Chamberlain of Caroe & Partners (specialist conservation architects). If carried out, they will provide a magnificent fountain that can be safely re-used for drinking. Following a site meeting in July, the Diocesan Advisory Committee has recommended acceptance of the plans to the Church in Wales. This will lead to the issuing of a faculty which is effectively permission to proceed. 
 
Three tenders have been submitted for the physical work which range between £40k and £50k. The project has a comprehensive Engagement Plan (promotion, education and interpretation) designed to better connect people to Monmouth’s fountains and appreciate the issues water and waste. It massively adds to the project and is designed to make an important contribution to the well-being of Monmouth. The plan is costed at £10k which brings the total project expenditure to £50/60k.  

This is a large amount of money to find and requires the support of a specialist funder. The project is a good fit for the Lottery Heritage Fund and an application has been prepared. Regretfully, with the health crisis, this fund has been temporarily suspended and its future uncertain. An announcement from Lottery is due in October.
Currently £12,500 has been raised in cash or promises and the balance will be the subject of an application to potential funding  bodies.

Monmouth Town Council support the project

At its meeting on June 23rd 2020 Monmouth Town Council approved a grant of £2000 towards the Jubillee Fountain Project. Project leader for the project, Roger Finn said "Rotary Monmouth and Rotary Monmouth Community Champions are very grateful to the Town Council for their continuing support for the project to renovate the Jubillee Fountain".

Managing the Monmouth Fountains Scheme

Each of the four projects is managed by the owner of the premises where the fountains are sited (e.g. MOSP manage the Skate Park Fountain). The Monmouth Fountains Group was established in March 2019. Its role is to coordinate the wider, Monmouth Fountains Scheme and support the individual projects. Its membership consists of statutory and voluntary bodies who work in the local community:

  • St Thomas’s Parochial Church Council 
  • Monmouth Off-Street Project.
  • Plastic Free Monmouth
  • Monmouth Town Council 
  • Monmouth County Council 
  • Monmouth Rotary Club.

The Monmouth Fountains Scheme has not been without its ups and downs and the failure to secure funding to renovate the Jubilee Fountain is a particular, unwelcome ‘down’. However, the scheme has made significant progress in difficult circumstances. Key to  progress has been the cooperative working of the various bodies that make up the Monmouth Fountains Group plus the magnificent help of individuals who have kindly carried out a range of tasks and provided lots of help/support. The scheme has impressively brought people together to do something they passionately care about. It may well be that our aspirations to see four working drinking fountains in Monmouth are delayed but we will get there in the end. 

The group is collaboratively “managed” by Monmouth Rotary Community Champions and  led by Rotarian Roger Finn .

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