Run must attract local participants to claim funding

Funding has provisionally been agreed for a new fitness event, but organisers will have to prove its benefits to Morpeth.

A new 5km run is being planned around Druridge Bay Country Park as a not-for-profit venture that could lead to similar events across the county.

Organisers are seeking £3,000 to fund the run from various sources, but Morpeth Town Council’s Finance and General Purposes Committee was divided about whether to back it.

Members voted by four votes to three, with one abstention, to provide £200 towards the cost, but only if organisers can show that at least seven per cent of participants will be from Morpeth.

Coun Nic Best said: “The organisers are claiming that they will have participants from Morpeth. If they are asking for £200 out of a £3,000 total, we need seven per cent of participants to be from Morpeth to make our contribution appropriate. We could ask them to give us evidence of that.

“If they are suggesting that helpers and participants are from Morpeth then those people will benefit from the health benefits of a 5km run. The benefit to Morpeth would be less pressure on the NHS in the town and we would have healthier residents.”

But Coun Bob Robertson said: “This is not a charity, or a one-off, it is someone offering a business. Personally, I have reservations about supporting it.”

And Coun Stuart Lishman said: “We have had these discussions with regard to other applications in recent months and the main thing is that this isn’t in Morpeth. Because this is out of our area, it would be my proposal that we decline it.”

The committee is awaiting the information from the organisers.