Redcar& Cleveland Borough Council have had to make budget savings of £40,000 in respect of the installation and provision of Christmas decorations for this year.
So, thank goodness that local parish/town councils, community groups, businesses and volunteers all pull together to make sure we celebrate Christmas in parts of East Cleveland.
Skelton Councillor Helen McLuckie, Cabinet Member for Highways, Planning and Transport. told Coastal View: “We will not be installing a number of motifs around the Borough in order to achieve this saving, for example, motifs outside the Town Hall.”
Surely this was a no-brainer as the Town Hall has been flattened and does not exist anymore!
Cllr McLuckie went on to say: “We have ensured that no area of the Borough is left without any displays, if it was previously covered and all communities will have some displays, whether these are provided by the Council, Town Councils, Parish Councils, local communities, voluntary sectors or businesses.
“Within Redcarand Cleveland, no area is charged by the Council to undertake formal or informal Christmas light switch on’s. We understand the Christmas decorations budget will not pay for any Christmas trees to be purchased or erected on site.”
Westworth Councillor Dave Williams said: “I am very disappointed that Margrove Parkand Boosbeck celebrations are cancelled this year.
“We all understand savings must be made but it seems some areas have to save more than others.
A small cut to Redcar would have benefited smaller areas and Margrove Park light turn on would have cost the council £185, the village hall would have benefited by a few hundred pounds much needed to keep the hall going
“Boosbeck had the school children marching to the lights and a carol service around the tree, again cancelled for the sake of £185.
“I have brought this matter up with the cabinet members and officers and got absolutely nowhere.”
Guisborough councillor Bill Suthers said: “It is not only the East Cleveland villages that are discriminated against. In Guisborough the community has to pay for its own tree and for it to be erected and taken down by Redca rand Cleveland Borough Council.
“It would be nice if a little of the funding being focused on Redcar was redirected to pay for the tree central to the enjoyment of Christmas in Guisborough ‘The Ancient Capital of Cleveland’.
The Christmas switch on in Marske has been organised by the Marske Community Partnership since 1999, most of the cost is through fund raising locally although every year we apply to the Parish Council for some extra funding, and the parish council supply the Christmas Tree every year as well, Mike Findley MBE told us.
“In Skelton & Brotton the Xmas Lights are done by Parish council working with the Borough Council and the Parish supplies the trees for each village,” says Cllr Brian Hogg and Cllr Brian Briggs said: “The parish council pay the costs for five trees around the Skelton and Brotton area and has done for years.”
Lockwood Councillor Steve Kay told Coastal View: “The only Christmas lighting provided by Redcar & Cleveland Council in Lockwood ward is a few street lights in Lingdale, bearing no comparison to the lavish displays in the urban areas of our borough. “In recent years, two Christmas trees, planted by Redcar & Cleveland, near Lingdale crossroads, have died. Luckily, Lingdale Lift-Off planted another tree for the village in the grounds of the United Reformed Church, which is now large enough to carry a lighting display. The electricity for the lights will be provided by the Church, supported by my Member’s Fund.
“At Stanghow, the tree at the crossroads is provided by the Community Centre, whose committee pays for the lighting.
“In Moorsholm, the tree provided by Redcar & Cleveland Council a few years ago is still surviving, but the planned evening public switch-on could be jeopardised by the high over-time charge imposed by the Council’s lighting contractors.”
Saltburn councillor Stuart Smith told us: “This year’s Christmas light switch on which is on the 1st December is a community organised event led by the Parish Clerk Tracy Meadows for the Parish Council and Paul Thomson, Station Office, Saltburn Fire Station.
“The organisation committee involves representatives of Saltburn 500 Club,Redcar and Cleveland Council Neighbourhood team, Ward Councillors, local businesses and Saltburn Neighbourhood Policing Team. This group has been meeting on a monthly basis since early in the year.
“To ensure that this years event looks truly festive the town has been decorated with Christmas motives and miniature Christmas trees by community volunteers from the 500 club, proceedings will start at 10am with a Christmas table top stalls, brass bands, face painting, and free fair ground rides for children.”
Brotton councillor Barry Hunt said: “As always we get and fund our own tree and entertainment in Skinningrove, the council help by putting some of the lights on the trees and by connecting them to the electric supply.
“Carlin How has lights at the community centre and I think they own them. They have lights on the main road, provided by Redcar and Cleveland and I am also trying to get some lights for some trees near the top of Loftus Bank.
“The one thing I am sure of is, it doesn’t matter what Cllr McLuckie cuts, we will not let it spoil our Christmas. We will do what we have to and try to make it a Happy Christmas in our part of East Cleveland but I have one last thing to say to the people who make the decisions HUMBUG.
It is obvious that Redcar must have the main event but with all the events that are happening at Kirkleatham too, it appears that there is an uneven distribution of the money available, in these times of hardship.
Cllr McLuckie said “I am sure you will agree that in these times there is a balancing act to be done between providing Christmas illuminations and maintaining vital frontline services.”
We are so lucky to live in areas where communities pull together to make sure we celebrate Christmas, because if Redcar & Cleveland had it’s way, Christmas in parts of East Cleveland may have had to be cancelled!
Council and community organised Christmas events in the borough this year will include:
Friday November 23 – Redcar Christmas lights switch-on.
Friday November 30 – New Marske Christmas lights switch-on event.
Saturday December 1 – Saltburn Christmas lights switch-on event.
Thursday December 6 – Marske Christmas lights switch-on event.
Tuesday December 4 – Guisborough Christmas Festival.
November 23 to December 15 – Christmas log cabin village in Redcar High Street.
December 4 to 8 – Christmas market in Redcar High Street.
December – Santa’s Grotto in Redcar High Street.
December 26 – Boxing Day Dip in Redcar.
December 2 – Santa’s Grand Parade at Kirkleatham Museum.
December – Santa’s Grotto and meet the reindeers at Kirkleatham Museum.
December 8, 9, 15 and 16- Breakfast with Santa at Kirkleatham Museum.
December 5, 6, 7, 12, 13 and 14 – Reindeer ramble and supper with Santa at Kirkleatham Museum.
November 29 to December 4 – St Nicholas Parish Church Christmas Tree Festival in Guisborough.
December 1 -Cleveland Police Band Christmas Concert at St Nicholas Parish Church, Guisborough.
December 3 – Apollo Male Voice Choir Christmas Concert at St Nicholas Parish Church, Guisborough.
December 6 – Sarah Sweeting and Eddie Muliau in Opera forn Christmas at Sir William Turner’s Almshouses, Kirkleatham.
December 15 – Carols Around the Clock in Redcar High Street