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New Meeting Place for Bellingham Youth Groups

7th April 2014

Bellingham youth groups have found a new place to meet thanks to partnership work.

The youth group and the army cadets were left in a dilemma after they heard the old Magistrates Court building where they met was to close.

The building is attached to Bellingham police station which is set to close, with the Neighbourhood Policing Team moving to a new local base in Bellingham Community Fire Station.

Mrs Christine Bragg, a Trustee of the Local Community Partnership who has helped negotiate and arrange the changes, explained: “Bellingham has a population of 1,200 people and as the nearest towns Hexham and Rothbury are 17 miles away, facilities like this are vitally important not only for the village but surrounding area.”

Working together the Partnership, Commissioner and Force looked at suitable alternative venues and found Reed Hall, a former school which is now run by a group of local trustees.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird, said: “I’m delighted we’ve been able to help these vital groups remain in this community. Reed Hall will be cheaper to run, has an outdoor play area and was under-used and so we are literally in a situation which is better for everyone.

“We guaranteed no police service would be re-located until suitable and accessible bases for them were found and we’ve applied this equally here to Bellingham. However we were not going to let closing the police station mean the end of youth activity in Bellingham.”

As well as being found a new meeting place, the groups have also been helped with new flooring, two sofas and a pool table cover allowing it to be used as a table by other groups using the hall.

Two laptop computers have been secured through the Northumbria Police Charities Fund for use by the youth groups, which were presented at the launch event by the Police and Crime Commissioner and the Chief Constable.

Chief Constable Sue Sim said: “Groups such as these which provide a positive focus for young people play a very important role in our communities.

“We recognised that they would need a new venue for their meetings, so Northumbria Police worked with the Local Community Partnership and the

Police and Crime Commissioner to help them find a new base.

“I am delighted that as a result the groups now have a new meeting place. This truly shows how working in partnership can help our communities.”

Mrs Bragg said: “Everyone has gone out of their way to help make our new premises fit for purpose. This has been a real community effort to make a comfortable place for the young people to meet.”