Amble Town Council – Report from Mayor
This is the first time I believe that the, Annual Town parish meeting has been held out-side the council building and it’s hoped that this new format will prove to be successful with more of the towns people and other organisation attending bringing forward their ideas and thoughts
I am now coming to the end of my two years as Mayor of Amble a position I have been very proud to have held and in spite of some personal problems over the last few months it’s been a wonderful experience
Sadly there is no good news for the town on the job front with Alcan closing at the end of March and with job losses at Border Laird (Young’s Food) And the Tesco store now delayed for a further twelve months the prospects for jobs are very bleak indeed
I would like to suggest possible consideration be given to establishing a craft village on the trading estate as most of the units are not being used, some ideas are glass making, wood working, metal work, jewellery –such as gold and silver. I also believe that there could be some possible funding from the county and government
We are now a town which will rely heavily on tourists to help our businesses to maintain a presence and keep the town viable. We also want to encourage all our residents to stay and enjoy living here. To this end I urge all local community organisations and interested individuals to get involved with the future town plan which is going to be developed We need input from local people for it to be effective in helping the town to grow, bringing new ventures in and attracting grant funding
I would like to thank my follow councillors for help and support during the last two years with special thanks to Councillor Craig Weir for his efforts in organising The Queens Jubilee event and Amble in bloom -he has put a great deal of time and energy into this and other projects in which he is involved in
We should all remember that all town councillors spend a great deal of their own unpaid time carrying out council work and duties
I am grateful that many people continue to help this town with its friendly people in whatever way they can but it would be wonderful if more would come forward with new enthusiasm to help realise its full potential to take us forward to a vibrant future.
Leslie Bilboe – Mayor
Amble Development Trust Report
The year has been challenging for both the Trust and the town. With the loss of so many jobs from both the private and public sectors and continued uncertainty about Tesco it is hard to know where new growth will spring from. But looking forward with positivity the Trust and the Town Council commissioned an update of the Market Towns Strategy to ensure we are in a position to grasp any opportunities that arise through the formation of Local Enterprise Partnerships and ensuing government initiatives following the abolition of Regional Development Agencies.
In the past year the Trust has been particularly active in fulfilling several structural projects, as well as completing our pilot for the Amble GPX game and continuing our employment counselling service, which we feel is even more vital for the community in light of the current employment situation.
The Trust secured funding to renovate the former Co-Operative store on Queen Street, subdividing the premises into three units. RDPE funding assisted with the internal renovation and Northumberland County Council and English Heritage grants assisted with the shop frontage.
Our third structural project has been the development of the skateboard park at the welfare. With funding from the Big Lottery and a legacy fund from the former Alnwick District Council, by working with the young people, this project was completed in the latter part of the year. We still have work to carry out on site, but with an active core team of young people who will assist this should be completed throughout the summer.
Sadly we have not yet secured funding for the refurbishment of the pavilion but we have managed to fund a replacement of the roof and to erect a security fence.
Amble GPX has proved to be a big success with visitors and we are now looking to market the game to other like minded organisations. Income from GPX would help sustain the Ambler and future media projects.
Sadly, funding for our employment service has not been secured. However Trustees believe this to be a vital service provision for the community, which we will maintain as long as possible.
Our Amble Food Hub project has now relocated into one of the Co-op units. Opening in October the unit houses a production kitchen, retail counter and arts and crafts display area and is proving very popular. Having recently opened a Deli counter with Pam Thompson we will continue to extend the range on offer. With the exception of our preserve makers the shop is staffed mainly by volunteers, giving it a real community feeling.
The distribution element is also going well, with new customers using the service.
Last year, working with Amble Town and Northumberland County Councils, we identified works to be completed within Public Realm areas. Some of the projects funded were: painting of street furniture/new signage/ remedial works to the town square and picnic tables at the Littleshore.
Julie Lilburn continues to deliver an employment advice service as well as Trust administration.
Anna Williams continues to work with groups of volunteers across the community on a number of fronts. Firstly to deliver the Ambler and secondly to develop AmbleGPX, as well as carrying out some administration duties and being our IT guru.
At this stage we wish to pass on our thanks to all volunteers who assist the Trust in delivering initiatives, from working with the Ambler production, within Pride of Northumbria, fundraising, GPX, events and in a management capacity, we are grateful for the time and expertise you allocate to Trust duties.
We will continue to try to meet the aspirations of the community, and will work hard to ensure Trust assets work to best advantage, as the needs of the community remains our priority.
Julia Aston – Director
Homes for Northumberland Community Activity
Homes for Northumberland manage approximately 450 properties within Amble, on behalf of Northumberland County Council. Most of these properties centre around the Radcliffe Estate and include two sheltered housing schemes namely, Dolphin Court and Kennedy Road.
My role encompasses the whole of Alnwick District and this report highlights some of the recent community activity that we have carried out, and some of the activity we intend to carry out, in Amble in the next few months.
- i. Walk Your Way to Health. In June 2011, following consultation with, and endorsement from, Natural England and the Department of Health, we set up a weekly health walk group in Amble. The group meet at 10.00am every Tuesday morning at the Community Room in Kennedy Road. After a walk in the local area, lasting up to one hour, we return to the Community Room for a cup of tea and a chat about local and personal issues surrounding tenancies. Whilst we have publicised this walk to our tenants in particular, we would welcome other members of the community who wish to join us. These walks compliment the other walks in the area, managed by Jon Monks at North Country Leisure.
- ii. A Breath of Fresh Air. In October 2011 Homes for Northumberland funded and arranged a community based event at Amble Boys Club. The event, which was managed by Sara Jensen Boon of Take Action Positive Steps, proved to be a great success. Other invited partner organisations provided healthy cooking demonstrations, sports and fitness activities, health checks and crime prevention advice. Homes for Northumberland funded the purchase of materials for the Lantern Parade, many of which were make during workshops at the event.
- iii. The Big Tidy. On April 10th, in partnership with Northumberland County Council and Take Action Positive Steps, we will be running a big tidy event, which will be centred around Amble Boys Club. Whilst the main work will be a general tidy around the Radcliffe Estate, there will be a children’s litter pick near to the Boys Club. The event is due to start at 10.00am.
- iv. Environmental Work. We intend to do some work around the Straffen Court area. This is intended to tidy up the area in general and will follow a full tenant consultation.
There will be further schemes and activities planed throughout the year, which I normally publicise in both our in-house tenants magazine and the Ambler.
I would be happy to meet with any individuals or groups within Amble to discuss future community events.
Simon Crosthwaite, Resident Involvement Officer
Amble Allotment Holders’ Society
The Society has recently increased its membership, with 227 people currently working an allotment or raised bed. A further fifty or so people have their name on a waiting list. The Society is affiliated to the National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners, which provides a range of benefits to members, including access to advice and information and seeds at reduced prices.
The allotments committee has recently taken over responsibility for the raised beds site at the West Avenue allotments. Current plans for the area include the replacement of the original polytunnel cover and the planting of fruit bushes within the site for the use of members.
The day to day administration of the allotments is carried out by a committee of allotment holders, who do this on a voluntary basis. The allotments hut on Percy Drive is run by members as a service to all allotment holders. As well as offering compost, fertilisers and other gardening essentials, the hut acts as a hub for payment of rents and the transfer of allotments to new tenants. The hut is open from 10.30 until 11.30 on most Saturdays and Sundays. The land which comprises the allotments is leased from Amble Town Council, which is responsible for the maintenance of the external boundaries and the roadways within the site.
All allotment holders are welcome to serve on the committee and to help to improve the experience of working an allotment in Amble.
Colin Duquemin – Secretary
ROTARY CLUB OF AMBLE AND WARKWORTH PROGRAMME OF EVENTS
The Rotary year starts on the 1st July and this year the Rotary Club of Amble and Warkworth were busy from the start. A Charity Golf Day was held at Foxton Hall, Alnmouth on 13th July 2011 which raised over £5,000 and enabled us to present cheques for £2.700 each to the Great North Air Ambulance and the SSAFA Forces Help charities. This year’s Christmas Collection also raised £5000 and this money is already destined to 24 local charities or community projects/ good causes. On the International scene, the Club has raised a total of £1.720 with Bag Packs at Morrison’s and Sainsbury’s and this money has been used to purchase a Shelter Box, Aqua Box and Aqua Filter for use in emergency situations.
The work of Rotarians is not just about raising money for good causes, but it is also about providing support to local projects. The Rotary Club is embarking on a new project to carry out further improvements along Rotary Way in conjunction with the County Council, Parish Council, Warkworth in Bloom and others. Rotarians regularly carry out litter-picks along this stretch of road, but are now looking to have the fences repaired, wild flower seeds sown, and are promoting other initiatives to improve Rotary Way. The other great news is that on 6th February we launched the new “Interact Club of Coquet and Aln”. Interact is the junior branch of Rotary which is open to young people aged 13 – 18 and will meet fortnightly at St Cuthbert’s Church Hall in Amble.
David Bell – President
REPORT ON WARKWORTH AND AMBLE DISTRICT ROYAL BRITISH LEGION BRANCH
We renamed our WARKWORTH BRANCH in 2010 to WARKWORTH AND AMBLE DISTRICT to reflect on the number of people joining from other areas and are pleased to report a huge increase in membership with a substantial number from the Amble, Broomhill, Widdrington area. We have currently over 65 members and hold bi monthly meetings in Warkworth War Memorial Hall, Castle Street, Warkworth on a Thursday, evening at 7pm. Our branch meetings are held in the British Legion Room upstairs in the Memorial Hall and this room was refurbished with new carpet and furniture in 2010 from community grants. We are a very active branch, having regular speakers and social events and have taken part in annual community events such as Warkworth Show and Amble Lifeboat Day. We hold an annual dinner in June at the Sun Hotel, Warkworth to fund raise for the Poppy Appeal and have liaised with Warkworth and Amble businesses to support our fundraising campaign. Many have given generous prizes for our raffles and our auction held at the annual dinner. Amble Town Council and Warkworth Parish Council have been generous in their support and councillors from both get involved in the Remembrance Services held each year on Remembrance Sunday. The current cost of being a member is £12 per year which includes a quarterly national magazine. We are especially proud to have renewed our links with Amble Army Cadet Force of which the branch is affiliated. We encourage their efforts with the Annual Poppy Collection in Amble and indeed they were selected for a special Royal British Legion award in recognition of their collection efforts in November 2011. Her Grace The Duchess of Northumberland, our patron of Northumbria Royal British Legion, presented the cadets with the award at the Lord Lieutenants’ Poppy Award Dinner held at Northumbria University March 2012. We have recently purchased a new standard for the Branch to reflect on our new name and hope to hold a church blessing soon to adopt this standard. We have two volunteers as standard bearers including a member of the cadet force. Our events this year include a Coach trip to the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire in May to commemorate those who gave their lives for their country since WW2, participating in the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations in Amble on June 4, chairman to represent branch at the National Conference for the first time, a local Poppy collectors evening celebration, and a veteran to talk to the members on the Falklands War at our next meeting. The Branch is especially grateful to the small band of local Poppy Collectors who give their free time to collect each year and who work door to door and place collection boxes in shops to support the Poppy Appeal. We still need to recruit more collectors locally to be able to give financial help to the escalating numbers of badly injured service personnel in Afganistan and their families who will need to rely on the support of The Royal British Legion for many years to come.
June Watson – Branch Secretary
AMBLE BUSINESS CLUB
It has been a very interesting year in the life of business in Amble – from the positives of some of the high-profile shining lights we are lucky to have in the town, to the negatives of major employers leaving town. Tesco and the decision to delay 12 months has also been a factor we have had to deal with. I’m proud to say most businesses in Amble are taking a pragmatic approach to life in Amble and doing what they can to stay alive, be it expand, diversify or spot opportunities in the market. At the Business Club, our main focus has been submitting an application to be a Mary Portas Pilot town. At the time of writing we’ve had no confirmation of our application’s success but the ideas which came from the process have given us some food for thought for how we can make more of one our most valuable assets: Queen Street. The Business Club members meet once a month to discuss the business issues – we’d like to invite anyone with a business in Amble to come long to Fourways2 join in and find out “the crack” as one member put it. 6pm, first Wednesday of every month.
COLIN HARRIS – CHAIRMAN
Amble Action Group
This organization was set up in October 2011 to be used as a covering organization for future events in the Town which will be seen as promotion to Tourism. It was felt that this would cover events without having to constantly reassess banking and charity arrangements. A committee has been set up, which includes a number of organizations from the Town. Their remit is to monitor the situation after the conclusion of each event. They will then check the financial state, discuss and problem solve post features and draw up future Tourism attracting programmes.
Queens Diamond Jubilee Commemoration
As part of the above organization an event is planned for the Jubilee to take place in the Town on Monday 4th June 2012. Timing is from 1130 to approximately 2200. This is an ambitious project from a new organization, but it will be successful with a whole Town input.
Volunteers are still needed and fund-raising events are under discussion. A committee has been set up and has had a measure of success; unit cohesion is difficult as various organisations deal with their own problems.
When the event is a success!! There are loose plans for November 5th, Xmas 2012 and long term a similar event next year. It is thought that with the lack of employment in the Town and the Tesco delay, Tourism should become a major issue, if we can make this a regular programme of events then we may achieve this.
CRAIG WEIR – CHAIRMAN
Pride in Amble
This is a covering organization set up to encompass all aspects of help to the Town with respect to making the Town attractive to Tourists. Taking in such items as: – floral displays, flower beds, litter picking, foreshore cleaning, bus shelters etc.
Amble in Bloom (operating as part of the above)
The idea for this organization was to maintain and build on Floral Arrangements around the Town. This has now taken on a greater importance as events unfold with the handing over to the Town from NCC of responsibility for all flower beds within the coming year.
Both organizations were started in 2011 with a mixed success. The finances were initially provided by public donation and then matched by ATC. Volunteers were enthusiastic at first but then dwindled to a hard core who continue to do a sterling job.
Apart form lack of funding and volunteers, the main problems have been ownership of the areas of the Town which are high profile to Tourists. Town Square, Both main Entrance routes, Bus shelters and Queen Street. The owners of these areas have been reluctant to assist, meaning that expenditure of finance and effort by Amble in Bloom has made improvements for their benefit.
2012 will see the hand over of more responsibility to maintain displays. Amble in Bloom cannot take on this additional responsibility. At present there are plans to plant 3,500 flowers around the Town, perennials and wild flowers in beds. Baskets down Queen Street and a floral display on the Rotary Way bed. After this ???
CRAIG WEIR – CHAIRMAN
Report for Amble Photographic Group – April 2012
The group is indebted to the Amble Town Council for the opportunity to use the Council offices on two occasions in the past year for an exhibition of their images. We also run an Exhibition in Alnwick Playhouse in February.
The Group which was founded in 2006 has made very good progress in the past year. We meet every Friday morning for three hours at Trinity Methodist Church. The programme for the year includes guest speakers, from all across the North East, presentations, tutorials, practical sessions and a series of internal and external competitions. Interspersed with these are outside trips and short breaks. The two breaks in the last year were to The Lake District and to Oban in Scotland. Outside visits were also made to Rothbury, Ford & Etal and St Marys lighthouse/North Shields.
The group is a member of the Northern Counties Photographic Federation which is a group representing 50 photographic groups in the North East and each year we enter its competitions.
The group ran a publicity campaign in the spring of 2011 and as a result has now increased its membership up to 50 members. Following on from this the group won its first external competition trophy in March 2012. The Northern area grouping of the NCPF, comprising of eight clubs, held its Digital Image competition in Ashington in March and the Group attained first place in the competition. A real bonus for the group, when it is considered, we are competing with clubs with over fifty years of history.
Fred Thurgood – Chairman
RNLI – Amble
Amble lifeboat station is manned by volunteers who live or work in Amble and are on call 24 hours every day. In 2011 the crews were called out on 46 occasions for a variety of reasons ranging from, missing children and swimmers, fishing vessels with mechanical problems and grounded motor and sailing vessels requiring assistance and a tow. The latest shout was to stand by a local fishing vessel attempting to enter Amble harbour with winds gusting to gale force 9, 4-5 metre breaking seas at the harbour mouth and driving rain/sleet.
As a charity, that receives no Government support, the RNLI relies on donations and the Amble station receives valuable support from the local community particularly on Harbour Day in August and at various fundraising events throughout the year. This requires planning and volunteers and, if anyone would like to offer any help, this would certainly be appreciated by the Amble Lifeboat Fundraisers who can be contacted at the lifeboat station.
This year the station gratefully received a grant from Amble Town Council that funded 2 new lifejackets for the Amble crew. These had been specifically designed for search and rescue and have already been used on a number of occasions.
AMBLE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS COMMITTEE
In 1991 a committee was formed by Amble Town Council to provide a Christmas display for Amble. Three of the original members are still with the committee.
From small beginnings it has grown beyond all expectations due to the dedication of a small group of volunteers who work all year round preparing repairing and designing new displays, depending on finance available. We sincerely thank our main sponsors:- Amble Town Council The Tavern Schooner Hotel and Quayside Chippie. Many community groups business’s and individuals who support us throughout the years. Without their support there would be no lights. We can only proceed to work on the displays according to finance available and the many displays reflect the generosity of a most supportive community.
We began in a workshop at Hauxley provided by Mr. & Mrs. Wraith. Two years ago because of safety issues we had to find a new home. Nothing suitable could be found but thanks to the generosity of the Amble Development Trust we now have a super workshop at Fourways1.
Hopefully we will have our Christmas Lights for many more years to come.
There is also a fantastic parade organised by Julia Aston from the Development Trust and Sara Jenson-Boon from Take Action Positive Steps.