Publication reaches notable milestone

Chris Jennings, behind centre, with, from left, editorial board members Frank Harrington, Coun Robin Ramsay, clerk Kath Mavin and Syd Cowan. Picture by Tevor Walker
Chris Jennings, behind centre, with, from left, editorial board members Frank Harrington, Coun Robin Ramsay, clerk Kath Mavin and Syd Cowan. Picture by Tevor Walker
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A community magazine has celebrated its tenth anniversary this month.

Pont News & Views was created by Ponteland Community Partnership and the then Ponteland Parish Council to replace the monthly neighbourhood watch bulletin and the local authority’s quarterly magazine.

The first issue in 2005 included articles about work starting on the new first school, progress on the build of a new health centre, the start of consultation on a village centre regeneration blueprint and the first what’s on guide.

Since then it has covered major events such as the flooding in September 2008 and the Diamond Jubilee celebrations in June 2012, while successful community campaigns featured include opposition to the plans by O2 to build a phone mast outside Darras Hall First School, a controversial county council proposal to close Ponteland Sure Start Centre earlier this year and the high-profile protest against green-belt development at Birney Hill.

The former parish council supported the not-for-profit monthly magazine financially at first from its publicity budget, but thanks to its advertisers, it has been self-funding for many years.

Ponteland town councillor Robin Ramsay said: “We felt it was about time that something more comprehensive was produced for the community and as it is delivered to every door in the area, it is much appreciated by many residents.

“We were quite keen that it should not have a political slant, so while the council and partnership formed an editorial board, editor Chris Jennings –who has done an excellent job – decides what content goes into the magazine.”

The variety of community events in the area, including the Ponteland Parish Flower Show, Party in the Park and the Ponteland Wheelbarrow Race, are also well covered.

The letters page and what’s on guide are never short of submissions and a number of regular contributors pen articles and letters and submit photos. Other popular features include the police column and the Ponteland High School report.