Bridwatch is saved from closure

Ann Robson, Brid Link treasurer, Eric Robson, chairman of Brid Link, PCSO Bev Feirn, Mike Bowman, chairman designate of Bridwatch,Denise Cowling, of Bridlington Renaissance, Frank Bull, Bridwatch treasurer, Judith Bull, secretary of Bridwatch.

Ann Robson, Brid Link treasurer, Eric Robson, chairman of Brid Link, PCSO Bev Feirn, Mike Bowman, chairman designate of Bridwatch,Denise Cowling, of Bridlington Renaissance, Frank Bull, Bridwatch treasurer, Judith Bull, secretary of Bridwatch.

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AN ORGANISATION which has been helping to combat crime in Bridlington for a decade has been saved from closure after it fell into financial difficulties.

A meeting was held in the town last Thursday with a view to wrapping up Bridwatch - the umbrella organisation responsible for Bridlington’s Neighbourhood Watch groups - amid a shortfall in funds to meet its running costs.

The annual cost of keeping Bridwatch up and running stands between £8,000 and £9,000 but it has emerged that the group’s income this year has so far reached £945, leaving around £3,000 in funds, prompting calls by the outgoing committee to close it down.

But various groups, including Bridlink, East Riding of Yorkshire Council (ERYC) and local police, have stepped in to save the organisation and will now re-launch it as a multi-agency, non-profit making charity later this month.

Bridwatch was founded by the late Peter Saxby in 2001 with the aim of uniting the neighbourhoods of the town in the fight against crime.

It will cease trading in Horsforth Avenue on June 30 and will re-locate to the Cop Shop, on Quay Road with the aim of being up and running by June 25 under new management.

At the EGM Mike Bowman, the new chairman designate of Bridwatch, proposed closing Bridwatch as a trading company but keeping it open and registered as a non-profit making charity, a counter proposal which was carried by 14 votes to seven.

Ahead of the meeting, which he has described as “explosive”, Mr Bowman said he was “absolutely appalled” when he learnt that Bridwatch was facing closure.

But with Bridlink, Bridlington Police, and ERYC, teaming up to run Bridwatch Mr Bowman is confident they will make a success of it well into the future.

And Mr Bowman hopes they will inherit sufficient funds from the former Bridwatch, to be boosted by further fund-raising, to keep the new association running.

“All of us involved are very positive for the future, looking forward to operating from the Cop Shop again and working closely with other agencies,” Mr Bowman said.

PCSO Beverley Feirn, who is a key player in the re-launch of Bridwatch, added: “We are hoping to move forward with it and make a real difference to the town.”

The new team are keen to attract more volunteers to help man the Cop Shop, while they want former members of the scheme to return and new ones to get involved.

“It covered the whole of Bridlington when it started and it’s dropped dramatically. So I’m looking for the old watches to come back and volunteers to man the Cop Shop,” Mr Bowman said.

A new monthly newsletter will be produced with input from police and other agencies, and printed for free courtesy of Hornsea Inkshop. There will be also be no affiliation fees.

Anyone interested in volunteering with Bridwatch or for more information about getting involved in the scheme can call into the Cop Shop, on Quay Road and leave their contact details.