The Cheese & Grain has been a big part of Frome for the best part of two centuries, and though its purpose has shifted over time, the ethos has always stayed the same. We’re here to nourish.
Where once that meant storing and providing food, now it means opening the doors so that people from all over the community can come together to share great, uplifting and inspiring experiences.
Our aim is always to be more than a community centre. To be the soul of Frome, with vibrant live performances and celebrations. To be the heart of Frome, embracing the diversity of our community – supporting wellbeing, providing space for a multitude of interests and needs, creating a vibrant and inclusive community hub, where everyone is welcome and encouraged.
Ours is such a unique town. We are upcycled, eccentric, creative and independent. We are uniquely and proudly Frome, community-owned and so we reflect the broad community. Our aim is to harness this magnificence under one roof, through events, gatherings, talks, gigs, and well, anything. You name it, we’ll make it happen.
AND, most importantly, we will always, always, put on a great show
The Cheese and Grain promotes music and performance as a means of creating opportunities for personal growth, community cohesion and local economic sustainability.
Its work centres on a former agricultural wholesale market building, providing a massive multi-purpose event hall, meeting/training rooms, a hot-desk suite, a recording studio, a sound workshop, and a café/bar. Our tools for change include music education, performances, partnership projects to promote health and well-being for people of all ages, vocational training and providing space and resources for local voluntary and civic groups. Markets, like our Magpie Gift Market Flea Market and Vinyl Record Fairs, help local small traders and local small producers make a living.
Live music concerts across our two venues provide work for musicians/performers/technicians and hospitality and event staff. The performances provide vital funding for the charity while boosting the local night-time economy.
A Community Hub
The hall is a great space used by local schools and choirs and as an NHS vaccination centre. We provide roller skating for children, bingo and exercise classes for mum and dad, choir nights, adult education classes, chess club and more…
Isolation and loneliness plight lives, and so the Cheese and Grain, open seven days and seven evenings a week, provides a much-used accessible shared space. Membership is about accountability so that local people can lead the charity – it’s not about using the centre – everyone is welcome at the Cheese and Grain!
“Event Tec” is our vocational training, music education and work experience programme.
Community Support & Development
Training & Work Placements
Work experience placements for school students – either one-week placements or one-day-a-week, 10-week placements – the young people coming from several local secondary schools in Somerset and Wiltshire
Placements for University/College Students. Over the past year we have hosted one “marketing and event management” student: full time for six-months and a one-day-a-week year-long sound engineering placement. There is a particular focus on helping young women access technical training and sound engineering work experience, as women are substantially under-represented in the work force
We are planning to re-start our National Vocational Qualification accredited apprenticeships (suspended when COVID closed the venue). Two one-year paid apprentices work either in marketing or hospitality
We work with Frome College and a local charity, Young People Frome, to present “master classes”. These are talks and Q&As by music industry professionals (seven professionals over the course of the last year) including sound engineers, producers, artists, and promoters. The aim is to provide young people with a realistic look at how the music industry works and how people have found their way into making it a career. They are free and each attended by 20 to 30 people
Radio for Young People
We have been working with a local radio station to give young people an opportunity to explore the medium and the related jobs and roles.
Health Connections On-Track-Group
Supported by an NHS health professional this is a “Health Connections” friendly peer-led group where people with chronic health issues can join people who are setting goals to improve their health and wellbeing. It’s held one morning a week in the C&G café.
The Digital Café
This group is also run by NHS Health Connections (and meets in the café) and is aimed at people with chronic health issues who struggle to use computers/smartphones and the internet. Typically, five or six people attend each week, reaching about 50 people across the year.
IT Drop-in sessions
Cheese and Grain volunteers act as tutors and helpers to run a two-morning-a-week drop-in in our hot desk suite. Participants are typically middle-aged or older men with a manual work background who are “job seekers”/receiving benefits and struggling to cope with Job Centre (IT) requirements. About 30 people take part each month. 60% of users have mentioned accompanying low self-esteem, disability, or mental health issues. About 75% stated that they had reading or writing problems or poor organisational skills and very few had more than very basic IT competency levels when they first presented.
Community (adult) education classes
Each week the C&G hosts about ten/twelve, two-hour classes, run by Frome Community Education CiC. Taken up mostly by retired people. They include language and exercise classes, local history, arts and crafts and music appreciation.
The C&G also directly hosts free classes to help refugees learn or improve their English. A big take-up from the 80-plus Ukrainian refugees who came to Frome over the last year.
Children’s roller-skating sessions
Roller skating is held weekly in the main hall, made possible by volunteer roller skating enthusiasts who have created a new Community Interest Company.
The Children’s Chess Club is currently not meeting (needing adult volunteers) – but hopefully will restart soon. The popular adult club meets once a week.
Dorothy House Hospice drop-in
For those with chronic health issues or terminal prognosis but still well enough to come out and socialize – meet one morning a week in our café. The café has excellent physical access, inside and outside space and is perfect for this group (normally about 8 to 10 people attend each week).
An important social venue for many local people. It raises money for local children with additional needs and disabilities and raises enough to meet the running costs of a local specialist youth club.
A base for local voluntary organisations
Two local small charities/voluntary organisations are based here: Young People Frome – a youth work charity that, among other things, runs an annual multi-cultural anti-racist festival at the C&G and Purple Elephant Family Support, which works with local disadvantaged/low-income families and organizer an annual children’s festival at the C&G