'Complex' Barnard Castle 1940s weekend 'needs a new way forward'
By Trevor Brookes - Editor
MORE people must help to organise Barnard Castle’s annual 1940s weekend, say town councillors who have complained that it is “too much work”.
This year’s festival, which was put on by the town council, was described as a success. However, a meeting is now being called to find a way of sharing the burden.
One suggestion is to seek out people who would take ownership away from Barnard Castle Town Council in the same way volunteers now raise funds and set up the Christmas lights.
In a report to the partnership committee, town clerk Michael King also wrote that a review should be undertaken to “identify how the event can be overseen by a single project manager”.
At the meeting, Cllr Judi Sutherland said: “What bothers me about this is that this is the brainchild of a certain group of people who wanted it to happen.
“The town council has taken it on and the organisers have stepped back.
“I was told this year in no uncertain terms that this is a town council event. The re-enactors want it to happen – it’s something the town council is doing for them. It’s too much work.
“A group of volunteers need to own this. There is no ownership. There needs to be a broader buy-in. We need to devolve this.”
Cllr Richard Child agreed, saying: “This is something that should be a little more distant [from the town council].”
Councillors pointed to the town’s dementia and Christmas lights groups which are run independently of the town council.
Cllr Sandra Moorhouse said organising the event, which includes reenactments, music and family fun, was getting “complex”.
She said: “We seem to have lost quite a few volunteers. We need somebody to be a project manager. We need a person [to oversee it].”
Cllr Moorhouse said there was room for the event to expand with more events on the Friday at Scar Top. Other suggestions include having street traders. Councillors agreed to call a meeting to find a way forward with a date to be set.