2022 Review of Operations
For NT&RCP, 2022 has been a busy year, with things starting to return to normal after COVID.
During the year, we have undertaken some major new activities.
The Bellingham Community Pantry launched during the year. This allows local businesses and residents to share food that would have otherwise be wasted, reducing food waste in our area and benefiting residents and the environment. It was a long process to get it sorted, but thanks to the hard work of the trustees, it was up and running before the end of August.
By the end of 2022, the pantry has managed to share over 2 metric tons of food that would have been wasted, saving residents money and saving around 6 tons of CO2. We would like to take the opportunity to thank all the trustees and volunteers that are helping to keep it going each day, as well as all the local residents and businesses who have got involved, and our key partners at the Co-op, Waitrose and Tesco.
NT&RCP has also expanded into provision of data for tourists and residents. Our links to WeFibre, the new local ISP, have enabled us to create a public Wi-Fi system that runs through the centre of Bellingham. We have expanded this into key buildings in the village such as the Town Hall, Reed Hall and St Cuthbert’s Church to help us support other local public organisations.
Our Wi-Fi is also being used to build resilience into the data provision in the area, allowing us to offer Wi-Fi calling and emergency communication for residents for some time in the event of a power cut - which has been proven to be vital after the damage caused by Storm Arwen.
In partnership with NCC’s Warm Hubs scheme, we have also started offering weekly ‘Soup and Sandwich Socials’ every Monday at the Reed Hall, open for all to attend. These have been providing a chance for people to meet up, socialise and get some free food and drink each week.
These have been well received, with up to 40 people attending each week. Thanks to the cafes and volunteers who are helping us keep this going, as well as to our sponsors from the Ray Wind Fund, NCC and Karbon Homes.
The Partnership’s brand has also been refreshed during the year, with a new logo and brand identity to help drive awareness of our activities. A new website has been created (www.ntrcp.org) which contains information about our operations as well as case studies about our new projects.
As mentioned, the lifting of COVID restrictions has allowed us to return many of our operations to normal, although with an element of caution.
These activities have included:
ongoing improvements to Station Yard and our other business premises. These provide important spaces for the local economy, as well as providing rental income that we invest into our community activities.
a return to offering coach trips to local over 60s - these trips have been well attended throughout the year
support for coach trips for under 16s - we were delighted to be able to help fund the annual coach trip to the seaside for local children
continued support for North Tyne Youth through the provision of internet access and TV facilities
supporting local business in partnership with Churches Together by the printing of the local business directory.
We were also delighted to be able to restart the annual over-60s Twixmas dinner.
December 30th saw us running a fantastic meal for around 60 people at Bellingham Golf Club. Again our thanks go to our trustee Margret Wilson for organising the event, Bellingham Golf Club, Bellingham Parish Council, The Cheviot, Carriages at Bellingham Golf Club, The Co-op, Waitrose and The Uketeers for all their support for the event.
Thanks as well to everyone who volunteered to help with serving, cooking and entertaining at the event!
Finally, this year has been a year for working with others in our community and wider area. Doing this is a key part of our reason for existing - to act as a partnership with others for the benefit of the area we live in.
We would like to especially mention the following partners we have worked with over the last year:
Reed Hall - we would like to thank the Committee for their support of our operations by giving us space to use for our meetings and AGM. It is much appreciated. We have been happy to be able to help provide support with new Wi-Fi systems for the hall, as well as helping to consult on grant applications relating to Community Resilience. We look forward to building on this partnership in the coming years.
Northumberland County Council has been a vital partner over the last year, providing funding for our Community Pantry as well as other funding opportunities and advice. I would like to take the opportunity to thank them for their support. During the year they have consulted with us on rural issues such as communication resilience, rural food sharing and development and we look forward to extending this in the coming years.
Bellingham Parish Council and Vattenfall Ray Wind Fund have both provided us with funding for our activities in the year and we would like to express our gratitude to them.
Volunteers - we have had a number of volunteers who have helped us with our operations - in particular the running of the Pantry and I’d like to say how grateful we are for their ongoing support.
Tenants - we’d like to thank all our tenants. We have a great working relationship with our business tenants and we look forward to working together in future. Thank you for helping to invest in our community
The Co-op, Bellingham Craft Butchers, The Boe Rigg, Carriages Tearoom at Bellingham Golf Club, Tea on the Train, Fountain Cottage Cafe and B&B and other local food businesses, in addition to Waitrose, Lidl, and Tesco in the wider area - as well as funding from the Co-op, we have had a lot of support from these businesses for the Community Pantry, with them sharing food that would have otherwise gone to waste. We look forward to maintaining this excellent working relationship with our friends in these businesses.
It has been a busy year for us, with an increase in our activities with some great new initiatives and a large boost to our brand awareness in the area.
However, it has not been a year without change. Our year saw Tim Bird stand down from his position as Chair as well as our trustee Christine Bragg move away from the area. Both Tim and Christine helped to tirelessly spearhead the Partnership’s work over the last years and they will be sorely missed.
It has, overall, been a strong year for the Partnership. I would like to thank everyone again for their hard work and encourage anyone who would like to get involved in building and supporting our community to get in touch and consider volunteering and/or becoming a trustee.
Email us at: email@example.com.