Forum brings community together

Residents gathering ahead of the first meeting of the South Shore Community Partnership
Residents gathering ahead of the first meeting of the South Shore Community Partnership
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A scheme to give Blackpool residents a stronger voice is set to expand.

The first meeting of the Blackpool North Community Partnership will be held next month following on from the success of the South Shore Community Partnership.

Both groups have been set up to plug the gap created after the council axed its network of area forums.

Organiser Brian Coope said: “When we had the area forums at least we could meet directly with our councillors, council officers, and other service providers, but when they were scrapped we lost that opportunity.

“With some hard work I was able to bring a core of people together who then organised a forum style meeting and we were surprised just how many people from the community attended.

“We’ve now met regularly for about six months in South Shore and now it is time to launch one in North Shore.

“I’ve secured a great location through the good services of the New Norcross Social Club and we’ve a volunteer to chair the meetings.

“We will be extending an invitation to all North Shore ward councillors, businesses in North Shore, and anyone who lives in North Shore to our first meeting.

“From there we’ll work out what the common issues are and by working together we can look at how we can tackle those issues and resolve them.”

It is also hoped Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard will be able to attend the meeting.

The first meeting of the South Shore Community Partnership was held in September 2016 and attracted around 70 people.

The Blackpool North Community Partnership will be launched on March 16 at the New Norcross Social Club on Devonshire Road.

There will be market place stalls and networking at 6.30pm followed by the main meeting at 7pm.

The idea for the partnerships came about following Blackpool Council’s decision to scrap the seven area forums in 2015 as part of cost cutting measures.

Members of the public, local businesses, councillors, and third sector providers are brought together at a meeting where community based issues are discussed.

Action point plans are then agreed, and reported back upon at subsequent meetings.