The story of the Welcome Back Fund in Pill

In October 2021 Pill & Easton-in-Gordano Parish council volunteers made a grant application for ‘the Welcome Back Fund’ from the Government and the European Union regional development fund to assist in improving the precinct. The fund was set up by the government to ‘Welcome our communities back’ to our highstreets after the pandemic. To encourage more people to use local businesses, enhance the local surroundings, create a better sense of wellbeing, safety, boost the local economy and reduce social isolation. 

Numerous items were applied for via North Somerset council’s economic development team. The application was successful. Lucy Byrne was appointed by the Parish council to source items and work with all stakeholders and community groups to deliver the project by the end of March 2022. 

With some irony, the Pandemic wasn’t ‘playing ball’ and there were some delays in delivering and installing a few items. But fun was had by all who attended the welcome back ‘Picnic in the Park’ at the end of March 2022 to celebrate all that had been achieved. The Village Map was installed just days before the event and the sun was shining. Sadly Lucy contracted Covid the day before and couldn’t attend, however the day was captured beautifully by Will Martcome of Pecky Necky films

 You can watch the short film here:

Many elements have been installed by Alliance homes maintenance team and we owe enormous thanks to Jon Nettleton for his efforts above and beyond. 

The project has been an overwhelming success thanks to many fantastic people and organisations. We are enormously grateful to all who’ve volunteered a lot of time to enable the timely delivery of all the various elements. Aileen Edwards for the application help, Julie Smart & the Resource Centre for admin support, North Somerset Council – Josyanne & Gerrard for excellent and encouraging support, Alliance Homes – Michael Williams for leading a supportive working relationship & Jon Nettleton from the maintenance team for his herculean efforts installing items, Shruti for her fantastic murals which show so many positive images of our community, the local school children who planted up planters and designed and painted the bollards, the Cubs and Brownies who planted up the planters, the Youth club who planted up the bike lock planter by the Library, the Library staff for their support, the Co-op for permission to use their walls, Oven Gleamers for the use of their window for displays, the Christmas lights team & local volunteers for putting together the picnic bench and loaning equipment, Justin Saunders and the ‘Wall map design team’ and Jez from ‘that copy shop’ for getting the map installed at short notice, James Addis and The Salvation Army for accepting large deliveries, Marcus Sherborne and The Firestation for use of their yard for deliveries and supporting the celebratory event, Jo Burt and all those from the children’s and youth Partnership and other volunteers who’ve helped with the celebratory event ‘Picnic in the Park’ and all the precinct improvement group volunteers who are continuing to work on projects to further enhance the precinct and surrounding areas.

There are now 2 large Gazebos, a heavy duty trolley, 4 bistro sets and 2 chalk sandwich boards all available to hire for FREE! from the Resource Centre for use at community events and markets by local groups and businesses.  It is our hope that these resources and all the installations, benches and planters will help enhance community interactions, encouraging more community events helping to build a thriving community.

The Parish council’s Precinct improvement group is continuing to work on further enhancements for the precinct and surrounding areas. To join the group or share ideas you can email Lucy Byrne at:

What’s been installed and Purchased:

4 x Planters with water reservoirs on the precinct. Installed by Alliance Homes and planted by the Cubs, the Brownies, Children from Crockerne (below) and Children from St Katherine’s school

The children sowed sunflower seeds, which have grown and are now giving nectar for bees and are a symbol of solidarity with Ukraine.

A picnic Bench for the Green, installed by Christmas Lights Volunteers and help from Iain, Bob, Mason and Josh

Two Murals designed by Shruti from Mantra Murals to reflect our community and local surroundings 

The bollard painting by local school children

The bike lock planter, planted with herbs and flowers by Youth club children, installed by Alliance homes, situated at the Library. There are watering cans in the Library for local residents to use to keep it watered.

Hire of a Portaloo for events

2 x Chalkboards for Community use

2 x large green and white striped Gazebos Free for community use

A heavy duty Trolley for transporting items

4 x colourful Bistro sets Free to use for community events

11 x recycled plastic planters to replace all the old concrete Pill in bloom planters. Installed by Jon Nettleton from Alliance Homes 

A disabled access picnic bench located on the Village green installed by Alliance homes

(*awaiting picture in situ)

(Image from NNB Recycled furniture)

3 benches from recycled plastic – 2 on the precinct and 1 looking over the creek installed by Alliance homes who also removed the old damaged ones.

A play boat from recycled plastic on the green outside The Duke of Cornwall

A new Wall Map of the village with local points of interest marked located at the precinct, printed and installed by That copy shop, Clevedon.