Doors open on new community base

The community of Belford gathers for the official opening of the Belford Community Group building.
The community of Belford gathers for the official opening of the Belford Community Group building.

RESIDENTS of a north Northumberland village gathered for the official opening of a new community resource.

Following the highly-successful and well-attended preview of the Belford Community Group premises by local associations and societies last Wednesday, a large group of local people assembled on Saturday morning for the public opening.

The group’s chairman Phil Nicholson welcomed its president, Lord Walton of Detchant.

Lord Walton said he was proud to be president of the group that had achieved so much in such a short time to benefit Belford.

He thanked the children of St Mary’s Middle School for their entries into a competition to design a logo for the group and he also thanked Howard, Jenny and Nick Dawe, of Lindisfarne Homes, for letting the village have the building at a greatly-reduced rate so as to maintain a shop on the High Street.

He stressed that it was not simply another charity shop but a premises for community use. Notice boards and display areas show what Belford has to offer from schools and churches, arts and drama to sport, health and fitness.

Half of the space has been made available for locals and visitors to use.

Lord Walton praised the band of trustees and other local people who got the premises ready for use.

Painting and decorating, installation of cupboards and notice boards, cleaning of windows, and a host of other jobs had been willingly undertaken by volunteers and local tradespeople.

The village fund-raising group, the Knights Templar, was also in evidence to support the cause. This group of ‘noblemen’ raised £8,500 last year in aid of Help for Heroes, and this year they are to concentrate fund-raising events on more local causes.

After unveiling a plaque, Lord Walton invited everyone to dig deep and spend money in the shop. His generous donation helped raise more than £600 on the opening day.

The community group, working closely with the parish council and Jubilee Woodland co-ordinator Brian Rogers, is to promote a number of practical improvements to the village over the next year.

The first of these was the painting of the railings at the south end of the High Street, soon to see nine large flower planters placed there, as reported in the Gazette last week.