Rickmansworth Town Team – on a mission to make the town the best it can be
23rd November 2021
Founding director of Rickmansworth Town Team Nina Hosking recalls the creation of the organisation and considers what it has achieved for the town she loves.
Back in 2009 Rickmansworth resident Nina Hosking looked around her home town and felt something was missing. In the spring and summer there were not enough hanging baskets – and at Christmas, too few festive lights. “It just didn’t look as good as it could,” she explains. At the time Nina was chair of the local chamber of commerce. “So I went about trying to find out why.” The answer was to create a Community Interest Company (CIC) – and thus the Rickmansworth Town Team was born. CICs are trading enterprises set up to benefit the community. It meant getting things done for the community benefit and making fresh ideas happen involving local interested people. As a CIC the town team is registered at Companies House and has to abide by the normal rules of a registered limited company.
Nina continues: “Our tagline is ‘volunteering for the community’ and that is what the town team is. None of us get paid any money, we just want to do nice things for the town. There was a big wall to get over when people assumed we got paid for what we do or that we were part of the council. We are not, we are totally independent.”
Rickmansworth Town Team was formally established in 2013, with its objective to organise events and do more in the town. Enhancing Rickmansworth’s annual festive themed Victorian Evening - which had been running since 1992 - was one of the team’s first objectives. Renamed the Rickmansworth Winter Fair, the event now features a fun fair, festive food and gift stalls, and other attractions. It is designed to bring festive cheer, and people into the town in the crucial pre-Christmas shopping period. The town team has also introduced a performance stage to host a variety of local groups.
In the warmer months town team members have organised regular visits by French market France at Home. The markets bring with them traders with a wide selection of cheeses, bread freshly baked every day, patisserie products, olives and dried fruits, handbags, jewellery, Provencal soaps, and much more.
For the Queen’s 90th birthday in 2016 the town team organised a bonfire beacon and fireworks and are hoping to do something similar in 2022 for her platinum jubilee. The team also organise the Rickmansworth Folk Festival and, in 2021, the Summer Celebration – bringing live music to the town like never before.
But what difference has the town team made to Rickmansworth?
“The improvements to the Winter Fair, making it a much more family orientated event and the screening of the First World War documentary They Shall Not Grow Old in 2018 have been two town team achievements of which I am most proud,” adds Nina. “My grandfather fought in the First World War, so that film screening to mark the centenary was particularly close to my heart.”
“I just don’t think we would have any events like those at all without the town team.”
The work of the town team goes on as the annual Winter Fair for 2021 approaches. And there are still many objectives on Nina’s to-do list for the team – just one of which is finding better ways of celebrating and promoting the town’s varied history and making it more of a destination.
Cllr Sarah Nelmes, the Leader of Three Rivers District Council, said: “We have a very positive relationship with the town team – they have done great work for Rickmansworth and set a good example to show the power of community spirit and what can be achieved, and our officers are pleased to work with them to make these events happen.”
- The Rickmansworth Winter Fair takes place on Friday 26 November 2021 between 5pm and 9pm.
- To find out more about the Rickmansworth Town Team and volunteering opportunities visit: www.rickmansworthtown.co.uk