Jesmond Community Forum announces cutbacks at annual meeting

The AGM meeting, 14th March 2017. Picture: Valentina Egorova

Last month the Jesmond Community Forum gathered for their annual general meeting at Portland Bowling Club, where cuts were announced to the annual Jesmond Community Festival.

The annual budget was raised amidst other issues revealing a considerate downturn in the Forum’s finances.

The reports revealed a net loss of £3,214,04 for 2016 compared to a total income of £4,088,47 for 2015.

The Jesmond Community Forum has moved to reassure that they are not experiencing any financial difficulties and the discrepancy occurred due to the grants coming later than usual.

Chris Clarke, Honorary Treasurer, said: “When we were doing the library, it so happened that towards the end of 2015 we started receiving grants, which were for the following year, whereas this time the same grants have come at the beginning of the following year.”

He added: “I would say what it shows is that although the amounts of money go up and down, we are still quite stable, and the amounts of money are still significant.”

Clarke assured attendees that the Jesmond Community Forum would be still able to host “a very good festival” despite the newly introduced cuts.

“We are trying to make sure that when we run the festival the next year, we don’t lose any money. We’ve already had to cut costs significantly,” he said.

“Unfortunately, we had to cancel the Festival Parade, which we’ve run for several years, because of the costs associated with it.”

While some elements of the festival have been reduced,  the number of community events – that are chiefly self-funded and run by individual groups – will continue to rise.

Asked about the annual budget, Dave Cross, Chair of the Jesmond Community Forum, said: “I think we work well within our means, trying to maximise the benefits.”

The meeting also recapped the work on the dementia awareness, upcoming events and a success of the Jesmond calendar.

The calendar comprised the photographs of the area and people taken by entrants to a photography competition run by Jesmond Community Forum and the Friends of Jesmond Library.

Cross said: “I think [the calendar’s] success is not just a financial success – it’s promoting Jesmond, the major people of it, and how attractive the place is. Particularly, it can be sent to people who no longer live in Jesmond but are attracted to it.”

The calendar can be bought in Jesmond Library for £5.