Chair's Report 2020 - 2021

2020 has been a difficult year for a number of reasons. In particular the COVID-19 pandemic has caused huge disruption to people across the world and, of course, even within our corner of it in Bellingham Parish. In spite of this, the Parish Council (along with many other individuals and organisations) has been working hard throughout this year for the community and we thought that it would be good to take a little time to have a look back at the year and consider the activities we have undertaken (in addition to our regular grass cutting, planning, street cleaning and allotment management).


The main focus of the Parish Council during March to June was on the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact of the first lockdown on the village - in particular on those who were vulnerable and shielding. This led to a parish-wide information leaflet being sent out to all households, followed by centralised shopping and food delivery to those self-isolating within the village. Food shopping and delivery, postal services and pharmacy deliveries were offered by volunteers for over 3 months to residents who were shielding. By the time this finished we had undertaken over 280 shopping and 75 prescription deliveries.

The Parish Council would not only like to thank the council volunteers who helped with this service, but also those who offered to help, as well as those who helped to look after their neighbours and loved ones themselves in this very difficult period. We would also like to thank our local churches (in particular Deacon Anne Taylor and the former Reverend Susan Ramsaran) for organising ring-arounds and support for those in need and the local shops for their support for the delivery services.

The Parish Council Facebook page has been developed through this year and used to provide information for locals as well as entertainment through lockdown and beyond in the form of our well attended Facebook lockdown quizzes.

As well as Facebook, the Parish Council has created and developed its own website (, allowing residents easy access to key information about its activities, as well as its policies and past minutes. This has helped to improve transparency as well as the level of public participation by residents, which is greatly appreciated by the Parish Council.

In addition to the COVID-19 support, the Parish Council has enacted a new small grant funding process. These grants have helped a variety of key local community organisations in the year, including Bellingham in Bloom, Bellingham Town Hall, and North Tyne and Redesdale Community Partnership.

Bellingham Parish Council has also undertaken an expansion of the Christmas lights in the heart of the village this year (with more planned for next year) and spearheaded a campaign to get everyone to to put up Christmas lights to make the village as cheerful as possible through the end of 2020. It has been wonderful to see how many people have done this and what a positive response residents and visitors alike have had on seeing how great the village looks lit up.


Early in the year, the Parish Council switched on two new electric car chargers situated on the rear of the Town Hall. These have been in regular use by some residents - the number of electric vehicles in the village has started to rise - as well as by local essential workers. The Parish Council has received a number of emails of support regarding the new chargers from tourists as well.

The Jubilee Field car park has been extended, with additional signage being put up. The notice board provided by the Playground Committee has been brought into use and is becoming a popular location for advertising with local businesses. We hope to put new fencing up around the car park early next year.

Due to the rising number of visitors we have installed a number of new litter bins throughout Bellingham, with new bins outside the Post Office, Westlands and Reenes Way, Redesmouth Road, Jubilee Field and near the Cemetery.

With the help of some fantastic volunteers, the Parish Council has organised the start of a major refresh of the cemeteries within Bellingham, with the start of path clearance and the repainting of the railings and benches. While the completion of this has been delayed due to COVID-19, we hope to complete this work in 2021.

The old notice board on Lockup Lane was in poor repair, so this has been replaced with a new wooden magnetic board for council, town hall and community notices.


The Parish Council has brought the large area of grass at Armstrong Square back into a useable state in the year, improving the look of a key tourist area within the village.

The public conveniences have been painted and their signage improved with the help of some local volunteers. During the height of the pandemic the Parish Council had no choice but to close them but reopened them at the earliest opportunity. While opening days have been reduced due to the high cost of more regular deep cleaning due to the pandemic, hopefully this will be a temporary situation.

The Parish Council volunteers have also cleared trees and shrubs blocking tourist signs for Bellingham.


In the run up to Christmas, the Parish Council has spearheaded a new campaign over Christmas (’Tis the Season to Shop Local’) to support the great shops here in Bellingham who have been working hard for residents over the pandemic. There has been a 100% take-up of this campaign by local retailers and there has been a strongly positive response from residents as well.

While there has been a lot of focus on the pandemic, Bellingham Parish Council, the businesses in the parish, our charitable organisations and all the volunteers and residents have been working hard this year to look after each other on a wide range of fronts.

We would like to thank you for making our parish such a great place to live in 2020 and we look forward to this continuing in 2021.

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