Let’s keep our county working

TODAY the Morpeth Herald launches a campaign to help those hit hardest by the economic slump and highlight what’s good about the county.

Supported by Northumberland County Council and backed by politicians, Keep Northumberland Working aims to provide help and advice to those seeking support as well as highlighting the opportunities available for job-seekers and employers.

Northumberland has suffered massively from both public and private sector lay-offs in the last few years with the latest announcement that 515 jobs are to be lost at Rio Tinto Alcan at Lynemouth.

The smelter closure is also expected to deal a wider blow to around 3,000 workers countywide in support industries.

At the same time, Hardy and Grey’s announced it would have to cut a quarter of its workforce in Alnwick.

Before that, there was a turbulent time at the former Northumberland Foods factory in Amble where more than 200 workers lost their jobs.

And last week it was reported that 79 jobs at Border Laird in Amble are under threat.

There have also been swingeing budget cuts at the local authority resulting in more than 1,300 posts being axed.

And many more businesses have had to close their doors or lay-off staff because of the recession.

Because of all this, we think that it is time to turn the tables and counteract the negative news that has come to light in recent weeks and months, with positives about the business world in our county.

Keep Northumberland Working is a Northeast Press campaign and will be run across our publisher’s Northumberland titles – the Herald, Northumberland Gazette and News Post Leader.

Its aim is to highlight the good happening in our county while also providing help and support.

We want to show that there are opportunities available to those who want them.

And with the support of business leaders, politicians and the county council we want to be able to give you positive stories, tell you what is available and give advice to those who might be struggling to try to turn businesses around.

Stuart Birkett, Northeast Press managing director, said: “Since we started talking about the idea of doing this campaign I have been overwhelmed by the amount of people who have said that there are so many good things going on.

“We need to support them and help them and highlight the positives about Northumberland.

“I’m hoping that people who have got good stories about businesses in Northumberland, no matter how big or small, will come forward.”

Coun Jeff Reid, leader of the county council, said: “The council is very pleased to be associated with this campaign that aims to highlight achievements of local people, entrepreneurs and growing businesses in Northumberland.

“At a time when people and businesses are facing real economic challenges, it is important to promote new opportunities.

“Recognising and celebrating success also helps to make a strong case for future investment in Northumberland by both the public and private sectors and Northeast Press is helping to lead the way with this campaign.”

North Northumberland MP Sir Alan Beith has also given his backing to the new campaign.

He said: “This is a very positive initiative and demonstrates the drive and determination of people across Northumberland who are working together to create jobs and training opportunities and attract outside investment into our area, which has so much to offer.

“I fully support the campaign and will do all I can to help.”

Paul Larkin, editor of the Morpeth Herald and Northumberland Gazette, said: “It has become apparent that businesses in Northumberland need all the support they can get.

“We hope that this campaign will be able to meet that aim in the form of help and advice and we encourage any companies who can offer assistance to get in touch to Keep Northumberland Working.”

In the New Year a weekly column, written by the county council will be included in your Herald as part of the Keep Northumberland Working campaign.

If you have a good news story about your business, or businesses in your community get in touch with the Herald on 01670 517171 or email morpeth.herald@northeast-press.co.uk