The Seaton Valley Community Forum is part of the partnership structure of Northumberland County Council. There are currently 57 forums in the County, based around local communities and the intention is that they provide the opportunity for residents, community groups and businesses to work more effectively together to improve the environment and services in their area. The forums have no budget apart from a very small one to provide administration, although they may be able to apply for some external funding.
The Seaton Valley Forum has three representatives on the South East Area Partnership, which brings together all the Forums in South East Northumberland and that body has one representative on the Northumberland Strategic Partnership. Therefore, whilst this is a very different sort of organisation from the previous Seaton Valley Community Assembly, it does provide the area with an opportunity to influence all the service providers in Seaton Valley and to work with others to create a stronger voice for the community in the County.
On 19th November 2009 Seaton Valley Council was successful in being selected as the host for the Seaton Valley Community Forum and Susan Dungworth was elected as the Chair.
The meeting on 19th November felt that it was important to consult with residents in order to prepare a Community Plan and it was decided to hold an event in each village. As a result, consultation events were held in all 5 villages between 18th and 21st January 2010 and residents were asked to comment on services and issues within their communities under a series of headings. Despite the most appalling weather conditions in recent years, the turnout was good at most of the events and we were particularly heartened by the response from young people.
A further meeting of the Forum was held on 17th March 2010 and those who attended spent the evening talking in groups about the issues raised and identifying solutions and those key organisations and individuals who could help in achieving those solutions. Key issues identified across Seaton Valley were transport, provision for young people, community facilities, employment and housing.