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I think we all recognise the importance of connection in our jobs – never more so in fact than during the last eight months when the need to engage with colleagues to avoid feeling isolated and to keep up-to-date with what each other are doing has been so important.

We’re now holding Network meetings online on an area basis and groups are valuing that opportunity to meet together and share their activities. They want to continue with online meetings for the foreseeable future, at least until it is safe again to meet face to face.

We are keen to ensure that we are linked into the activities of Northumberland Communities Together wherever we can, and to encourage Locality Coordinators to attend network meetings. We’ll be doing likewise with the Social Prescriber link workers, who we are meeting in December. We will all be able to work together much better on the ground if we are aware of what each other are doing and know who to talk to when an issue arises.

The Food Network met again this month and members are keen to pursue opportunities for data sharing and agreeing monitoring procedures so that we can achieve a county-wide dataset. This will help us develop a better understanding of those facing food poverty and the impacts of food poverty across the county that we can then use for lobbying purposes. The Food Network is also a great opportunity to share learning and discuss issues of concern.

It is good news that the North of Tyne Combined Authority is setting up a Poverty Truth Commission in the new year, which will bring together community, civic and business representatives with people who have experience of living in poverty.  The new commission will aim to better understand the specific effects of the COVID pandemic for people living in Newcastle, North Tyneside, and Northumberland and come up with practical solutions. The impact of the coronavirus crisis on people already struggling and the steps needed for economic recovery will be a central theme of the Commission’s work.

The Assembly Executive has also met this month and suggested that it would be a good idea to update Assembly members with the details of Assembly Executive members and their roles since the recent changes of membership. Executive members are also keen to link with groups in their area of interest. We’ll be updating this information on the Assembly website as soon as possible, and we’ll also provide details in Northumberland CVA’s fortnightly e-bulletin in due course.

Do get in touch with Assembly Executive members if there are any issues you would like to share or discuss with them in their individual area of interest.

Also, the issue of getting groups to sign up to the Assembly Manifesto was raised in the meeting and it was suggested that a video might be worth thinking about. It is certainly important that we all think of different ways of getting our messages and information out to individuals and groups, and to think beyond just the written word. We will be giving this some thought.

Lastly, just a reminder that notes of the Assembly Executive meetings can be downloaded from the website to keep you up-to-date with activities and actions:

This will be my last update before Christmas, so I hope you can enjoy the Christmas break in whatever way you chose. 

Take care and keep safe.




Ann Atkinson 2

Ann Atkinson

Assembly Development Officer


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