Amble Town Council Report October 2015
There aren’t many towns the size of Amble with as many litter bins and yet we still have a problem! Maybe we should adopt the European way – no litter bins, everyone takes their litter home with strict enforcement of fines. Currently NCC are urging everyone to be aware of the problem and are working closely with businesses to reduce litter. Whilst your council is responsible for providing the bins, NCC still empty them. We have been relocating bins to the areas where they would be most useful but NCC do not have the manpower or capacity to empty any more.
We are beginning to replace bins in poor condition, starting in the centre of town, but this will be a long process as each bin costs in excess of £700 including delivery and installation. The new bins are made from recycled plastic with a wood effect, and should be more robust. Please report any vandalism as every damaged bin is one less replaced elsewhere in the town.
This year the Remembrance Day wreath laying takes place in the Town Square on Sunday 8th November commencing just before 11am. We have many groups and individuals placing tributes and lots of people paying their respects. A service will follow at St Mark’s United Reformed Church.
In September the ‘Walking with the Wounded’ group passed through Amble on their tour of Britain – raising money for their charity. It was magnificent to see so many in the Town Square to welcome them and give them a good send off.They were overwhelmed with the reception and delighted that, so far, this was the largest crowd who had turned out! One of the group was carrying 25 dog tags from her wounded and fallen comrades and leaving them along the route. We were honoured that our town was chosen to receive one and plans are being discussed about how to mount it with some background information for posterity.
How often do we hear young people say, ‘There’s nothing to do?’ So the council decided to get all the groups and organisations providing activities for youngsters of 18 years and under together. We found out what they offered, when, where and who to contact. The prime aim was to make this available on our website for all to access. Surprisingly even we weren’t aware of how much was on offer.
We held 2 worthwhile quarterly meetings and we want to build on these. There will be lots of people in our community providing other activities and sports whose contact details we do not have; please email Cllr. Helen Lewis at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to attend the meetings or even just to give details of what you do. We would like the list to be as comprehensive as possible to show the vast variety of things available for young people. We’d also like to hear of activities under 18s would like which are not currently available. There maybe volunteers willing to start something up.
‘WHAT ON earth do you want to do that for?’ a colleague said when I applied to be a councillor. ‘Ooh your great Aunty Norah was a Councillor in Morpeth’ said mother.
Not difficult really; having lived and worked here for 14 years and seen how its thriving – the 7th ‘coolest’ coastal town in the country- I wanted to be part of its ongoing development and what better way than to be part of a team who all have Amble’s best interests to heart.
It’s been a steep learning curve – who knew what being a Town Councillor involved? Everything from cemeteries, planning, young people’s activities and empowerment through the newly formed Youth Group (watch this space), recreational activities – The Paddlers, grass cutting, bin replacements, pot holes, Harbour Village, Christmas Lights Parade, Democracy week, Town Trail, Garden competition, transport and highways priorities, consultations, allotments, volunteers and recruitment, the list goes on – all on a voluntary basis.
Thankfully with the support of extremely knowledgeable councillors I am slowly getting to grips with the task, ably supported by the Town Clerk (thank you Elaine). So in these changing and challenging times, if you want to know something about Amble’s development and its surrounding community don’t be afraid to ask – if I don’t know the answer I’m sure I’ll find a Councillor /Clerk who does.
Councillor Katrina Cassidy
The beautiful banners produced by JCSC as part of the WW1 centenary have been presented to Acklington, Hauxley and Warkworth. Next year we are planning an exhibition and we hope that all the groups in the town with connections to the Great War will take part. Even if the groups were not actively involved in Amble itself, groups such as the churches and emergency services played a vital part in the war efforts. Please get in touch if you have any information to share or indeed to offer to come along and take part.
The Government is making audit changes. From April 2017 the government appointed external auditor will no longer be in place and this council will need to appoint its own. The changes include having a website covering agendas, minutes, financial procedures and policies and there will be a cost involved in setting up and maintaining it. We are looking to refresh and expand our current website so we can upload more information such as ‘In Memory of the Fallen’ and make navigation easier.
From next year we must offer all our employees entry to a pension scheme, and as we do not currently do this, there will be an increase in our budget to cover contributions.
Preparations are under way for the Christmas Lights Parade on November 22nd. Last year there were lots of magnificent floats which must have taken hours to prepare. The volunteer groups each have a number of willing people but would really welcome some extra help. The Lights group spend time checking everything and weekends putting the lights in place; but the event organisers need more help on the day – whether manning Santa’s grotto, setting things out in the Town Square or ‘rattling buckets’ on Queen Street- it’s never too early to offer your services. If you can’t give your time then please start saving your change; all the money goes towards the lights and future events.