Forum will carry on, despite funding cuts

A NORTH Northumberland community forum will continue, amid uncertainty over its future since a cut in funding.

At a meeting of representatives from voluntary and community groups, parish councils and the public held in Seahouses, it was also suggested that the Belford and Seahouses Community Forum should extend its role to ensure that local people have a voice in local affairs.

Participants were enthusiastic about the idea of a rotating chairman with offers from both parish councils and community groups.

Seahouses Development Trust agreed to continue holding the community forum account and a fixed fee of £100 would be given to each of the groups organising one of the quarterly meetings.

Beadnell Parish Council volunteered to act as the first host and organise the next public meeting about ‘Making the most of our local heritage’ on Thursday, September 22.

Kelvin Rushworth, who had convened the make-or-break meeting, said: “I am delighted that local organisations and local people agreed that ‘it is good to talk’.

“In the last two years, the Belford and Seahouses Community Forum has facilitated lively discussions on topics of real local interest.

“It is a victory for common sense that the mere withdrawal of funding and personal support from Northumberland County Council did not lead to the demise of such an important focal point for debating local issues.”

However at their May meeting, members of Seahouses Parish Council have said that there seemed no point in continuing the forums after the county council withdrew funding and support, with Coun David Donaldson dismissing them as ‘talking shops’.