The Subscription Rooms are iconic in the Town and Debbie has been involved with the decisions about its future both behind the scenes and on Strategy and Resources Committee.
"The Sub Rooms are running at a massive loss for all the tax payers of the District and it is important that this loss be minimised. I believe that those people who use the Sub Rooms and want to keep it in public ownership should be given all the help they can to run the building and put on events. New people bring fresh ideas and I am very happy to support them in taking over the venue for the benefit of those who use it"
.In 2017 Debbie was nominated for Woman of the Year for Gloucestershire for Community Engagement.
Debbie said " I was delighted to be shortlisted for the this award and be invited with my family to the ceremony. Unfortunately I didn't win, but to get this far was a fantastic experience"
Debbie believes in "doing not just talking" and so can be seen around Stroud and Chalford working in and for the community.
Debbie runs two lunch clubs, one at the Frith Youth Centre every Tuesday and another at Cashes Green Community Centre every Monday. This service is really appreciated by her customers, one of whom said they really looked forward to Tuesdays and lunch in Chalford.
Debbie also volunteers at the Community Cafe and delivers food surplus to them, for which donations and received which goes into Youth Club funds.
Debbie is always willing to help,collecting at Brimsombe and Thrupp Grand Village Fete for the Hope for Tomorrow charity which looks to provide mobile chemotherapy services and is supported by fellow Conservative Councillor Liz Peters , and collecting for the Meningitis Trust at Stroud Station, a cause which has affected so many people particularly locally
Debbie said "so many people today have told me about how meningitis has directly affected them or their friends, it I fantastic to be able to help out"
Chalford offers lots of events during the summer and Debbie tries to get round them all, from Summer fetes in the scorching sun at Bussage Primary School Fete, to slightly blustier conditions at Chalford Hill fete and then back to glorious sun for the Garden Trail
As part of Debbie's work cooking 5 days a week at a local school, her and her friends also run holiday food and fun clubs every Tuesday. These clubs offer a days play and a free hot meals for local families.
"Working with local charities, the District Council and with food donations from Waitrose and Muller Dairies, we are able to provide a days activities for both children and parents. All of us volunteer to come in and cook the meals, give away any food surplus and clear up." Debbie explained
It is important to build the community at the Top of Town, as two new building and regeneration project have brought new families to the area
Debbie runs a Community Interest Company making three course meals for a school in Stroud. For this she uses food surplus from Waitrose
Debbie said "it is important to make the distinction between food waste and food surplus, the former is what you would throw away or compost so veggie peeling etc. The latter is good food which cant be sold, perhaps because the label has come off, there is too much of it , the package has been split or the best before date exceeded"
This enables the children to a much wider variety that would normally be experienced at school lunch, fresh mango and pineapple, quails eggs, asparagus and poached salmon are just some of the foods children get to experience on starter platters.
For other food Debbie buys eggs and potatoes from Stancombe Farm Shop, Lamb from Hailey Farm and meat from Taylors, the butchers in Minchinhampton.
This project has been filmed 3 times for the BBC, and been visited by several local, national and European politicians including Natalie Bennett of the Green Party and Emma MacClarkin an MEP and Stroud resident. Neil Carmichael our local MP has visited in his capacity as the Chair of the Education Select Committee.
Debbie continued " despite these high profile visitors, the most important thing is that children are getting a really good lunch, experiencing new food sensations and learning how to cook"
Debbie was invited by Middle of the Hill resident Sue and Janet to re-open their Community Rooms. The rooms has been closed for some time for extensive refurbishment to make disabled access easier. The work was funded by the Community Development Team at Stroud District Council, and as the previous Cabinet Member for Housing and fellow volunteers on the Friends of Severn View, Debbie was delighted to cut the ribbon. She was joined by John Jeffries another previous Cabinet Member for Housing who had originally opened the rooms over 10 years ago
Debbie said " Sue and Janet have worked so hard to get this work done, and do a fabulous job as the Middle of the Hill Residents Association"
After cutting the ribbon Debbie and John then cut a celebratory cake made by master cake maker Janet
Debbie works at the Top of Town providing school meals cooked from scratch, but sometime she does get a day off. Here she is at the Top of Town's annual Summer Fair