Volunteer appeal as councils under threat

SEVERAL Borders community councils are in crisis this month and without fresh blood are in imminent danger of folding, writes Mark Entwistle.

The residents of Stichill, Ednam and Berrymoss are some of the local communities which could soon be without a community council, after the annual general meeting of theirs had to be abandoned.

At the AGM, held last month, the chairman and the secretary resigned after a number of years’ service.

Since no-one was prepared to step forward and take on either position, the meeting was halted and rescheduled for Monday, June 6, in Stichill Village Hall.

Outgoing secretary Christina Moffatt told TheSouthern this week: “My last job as secretary is to ask you to publicise this meeting and encourage residents to get involved.

“I do not believe that the residents of Ednam, Stichill and Berrymoss are any different to elsewhere, so there must be other community councils in the same plight.

Both Ednam and Stichill have very active village hall committees. The many scheduled events in both village halls are testimony to their hard work and success. Long may that continue.

“However, it is the community council which is the main conduit to official bodies such as Scottish Borders Council, the Scottish Executive, NHS etc.

“The community council deals with matters pertaining to education, planning applications, transport, environment and affordable housing, to name a few. These are matters that affect us all.”

Jedburgh is another area where the local community council is in dire straits. Last month’s meeting of Jedburgh Community Council had to be abandoned when only three members turned up.

Secretary Susan Elliot said with only seven members in total it was proving increasingly difficult to get a quorum to allow meetings to proceed.

“It would be great if you could run a piece asking for anyone who would be interested in joining the community council to get in touch with me or any of the councillors,” she told TheSouthern.

“We are looking for two co-opted members. They can also look on the website www.jedburghcommunitycouncil.com where they can find out what sort of things the community council is involved in.”

Jedburgh Scottish Borders councillor Len Wyse says community councils are major assets for the Borders.

“They are very important and deal with a considerable number of serious issues including planning. Such organisations are the eyes and ears of their communities and the vital link between Scottish Borders councillors and the communties they serve.”