TALKS are ongoing in a bid to set up a new neighbourhood forum following the demise of the Warrington East Area Board.
The loss of the neighbourhood boards has left quite a hole in the connectivity that was enjoyed in the community in the Warrington East area and at the last meeting ever of the East Area Board those present discussed a possible way forward.
A proposal has been tabled to members of the board to find out everyone’s thoughts on a different approach that still has many of the advantages that the old board format provided.
The proposed East Neighbourhood Forum would act as a conduit between residents, parish councils, established community groups, the council, police and other stakeholders such as the fire service and NHS. This would allow feedback to come from the board and be sent up to the council and also act as a way of the council and emergency services effectively communicating information to communities and parish councils.
There was a meeting at Woolston Hub at the end of September and there was a lot of support for this approach and they now plan to take the concept to the council and see what their thoughts are, and see if it fits in with the council’s current way of thinking.
It was agreed that a forum would certainly seem like a good way to improve communication between the parish councils, borough council and the community groups so that everyone was aware of what was going on and were aware of the needs in the area.
Local Businessman Paul Taylor said, “There has been a dearth of information and effective communication between local organisations, parish councils and the council since the boards were dissolved. They have been changed into a single group that meets four times a year just to deal with the distribution of the Community Initiative fund, and only has councillors and one member of Warrington Voluntary Action Group sitting on it.”
“Taylor Business Park has offered to pay for any admin costs of these meetings as they are at the moment but we hope that it will be a model that the council approves of and may roll out to the other areas that previously held Neighbourhood Board meetings.”
“The boards were a vital channel of communication and helped to direct local groups towards the funding that used to be available from the board and is now available through the Community Initiative Fund. There is £60,000 available to local groups in grants from £50 to £3,000 but not many organisations are aware of the changes that have taken place since the Area Boards were dissolved.”
“Community groups and charities in Warrington East and in Culcheth in particular did very well out of the neighbourhood board’s funding and they were invaluable when it came to finding out what was going on in the area. They were very well attended and weren’t too formal or daunting for residents to attend from my experience over the years. It’s a shame to see them go but we are where we are, and hopefully this will bridge a gap that seems to exist at the moment. If any community groups or organisations would like to send a letter of support for this concept and see how they can get involved then please email me at PaulTaylor@TaylorBusinessPark.com”