Newton on the Moor and Swarland Parish Council in the running for national award

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A Northumberland parish council has been shortlisted for a national award.

Newton on the Moor and Swarland Parish Council (NMSPC) is in the running for the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) Star Awards.

It is up against Braunstone, Sherborne, Wellington and Stewartby and Kempston Hardwick in the bid to be named council of the year.

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The shortlisting citation says: ‘NMSPC has demonstrated impressive achievements, showcasing proactive community engagement and strategic partnerships.


‘One notable collaboration has been with Forest England (FE) in managing the 100-hectare Swarland Wood. A strong working relationship has been cultivated, with volunteers from the parish undertaking essential tasks to enhance walking and riding routes within the wood.

‘Working persistently with the county council, the parish council successfully advocated for accepting responsibility for unadopted back-lanes crucial to the historic Fountains Abbey settlement in Swarland. Acting as intermediaries, they facilitated a smooth relationship between residents, new caravan, and lodge site owners, showcasing their role as community connectors.

‘In environmental responsibility, the parish council has taken a proactive stance, jointly working with neighbouring parish councils on climate change initiatives and cemetery management. They have also demonstrated financial support to local services through their budget, encompassing contributions to village halls, community projects, and general grants for external organisations.

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‘The council has showcased a solid commitment to community engagement by reviving a local sports charity and forming a new charity to manage it, exemplifying its dedication to rejuvenating neglected facilities. They actively organise and facilitate diverse volunteer activities, emphasising inclusivity and community participation in various events and initiatives.

‘Effective communication is a cornerstone of their approach, with established community newsletters and a local Facebook page maintained by volunteers providing a platform for diverse voices and ideas. Public engagement is further encouraged through standing items like 'public questions' in meetings and gatherings on crucial topics to seek community input.

‘In addition to fostering a can-do attitude and actively pursuing new service suggestions from the community, the council regularly reviews their parish plan to ensure relevance and alignment with evolving community needs. The direct involvement of councillors in practical work and networking with other communities and relevant bodies further amplifies this proactive approach.’

The winners will be announced at a parliamentary reception in the House of Lords on November 29.

Cast your vote at by October 31.

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