Caring in the community

by on Feb.28, 2009, under Uncategorized

On a beautiful sunny Saturday at the end of February the place I would prefer to be is out in the field, enjoying Northumberland’s wildlife; perhaps watching displaying Goshawks or photographing snowdrops or even searching for stoats in their superb winter ermine.

However, something very close to my heart saw me spending the whole day sitting in a school hall in Ashington. Today was ‘Wansbeck-You Decide’ Grand Voting Day. The principle is simple; ideas for community projects were submitted to a scrutiny panel and, of the 120+ applicants, 37 were shortlisted for the final stage of voting. Each applicant then had 3 minutes to present their idea and the other shortlisted applicants gave each project a score between 1 and 9. With £60k to distribute, the projects with the highest scores would be funded until, eventually, there was no money left in the pot. I submitted an application on behalf of The Friends of Choppington Community Woods, it was shortlisted and, just after 10:30 this morning, I stood in front of a hall full of people and told them what we could achieve for our local community with £10k…another 30 presentations followed mine, then an hour for lunch, then the announcements. The funded projects were read out in the order that they had been presented…and the second name on the list was The Friends of Choppington Community Woods 🙂 The creation of a wildflower meadow, boardwalk, pond-dipping area, information packs for local schools, panoramic viewpoint and some sensible woodland management will all help our community be safer, stronger and greener (which were the criteria for the project applicants). I’m over the moon about this.

Looking out of my office window, my voluntary sector and private sector lives sit close beside each other. Long may it remain that way.

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