Campaign working on creating a better future for our county

Leader of Northumberland County Council Jeff Reid and Managing Director of Northeast Press Stuart Birkett launching the Keep Northumberland Working campaign.
Leader of Northumberland County Council Jeff Reid and Managing Director of Northeast Press Stuart Birkett launching the Keep Northumberland Working campaign.

A CAMPAIGN is being launched today by the News Post Leader to help those hit hardest by the economic slump and promote all that is good about Northumberland.

Keep Northumberland Working – also running in our sister papers the Morpeth Herald and Northumberland Gazette – is being supported by Northumberland County Council and MPs across the region.

The Northeast Press campaign aims to provide help and advice to those looking for support, highlighting the opportunities available for both jobseekers and employers.

It will also be promoting businesses enjoying a successful time in the face of economic adversity and putting the region on the map.

Over the last few years, Northumberland has suffered badly from both public and private sector lay-offs.

Most recently, the county has been hit by the potential loss of 515 jobs at Lynemouth’s Rio Tinto Alcan plant, as well as the potential knock-on effect that will have on around 3,000 workers in support industries.

Efforts are being made to save the jobs and find a buyer for the aluminium plant.

Elsewhere, there have been swingeing cuts at the county council, with more than 1,300 jobs being axed as the authority’s bosses look to balance their budget on the back of less government funding.

Many other businesses have had to close their doors or lay off staff because of the recession.

But among the doom and gloom, there have been some good news for the county, with some businesses reporting an increase in their trade as they help put Northumberland on the international map.

And this is where the Keep Northumberland Working campaign will come into play – highlighting all the good in the county and helping those who need it, showing there are opportunities available.

During the campaign, we will be printing the positive stories about businesses in Northumberland.

With the support of business leaders, politicians and the county council, we aim to tell you when employment opportunities are available and offer advice to those looking to turn around a struggling business.

Northeast Press managing director Stuart Birkett said: “Since we started talking about the idea of doing this campaign, I have been overwhelmed by the amount of people who have said that there are so many good things going on.

“We need to support them and help them and highlight the positives about Northumberland.

“I’m hoping that people who have got good stories about businesses in Northumberland, no matter how big or small, will come forward.”

Blyth Valley MP Ronnie Campbell is backing the campaign, saying: “It’s very important that we support industry and manufacturing, in particular. We have to get that back up and running.

“From little acorns grow big businesses. There are small businesses with one or two employees being set up which have the potential to grow into bigger firms. We’ve got to support these kind of businesses.

“There are good companies out there and new businesses being set up.

“It’s important we help get the right funding and grants to them.

“Cramlington Industrial Estate is a hive of industry at the moment, with a lot of companies established, while there is good work down at Blyth Harbour, helping create extra jobs.

“There are a lot of positives, with Alcan being the only major negative. Hopefully, we can find a buyer for the site.”

Northumberland County Council leader Jeff Reid said: “The council is very pleased to be associated with this campaign, which aims to highlight achievements of local people, entrepreneurs and growing businesses in Northumberland.

“At a time when people and businesses are facing real economic challenges, it is important to promote new opportunities.

“Recognising and celebrating success also helps to make a strong case for future investment in Northumberland by both the public and private sectors, and Northeast Press is helping to lead the way with this campaign.”

If you have a good news story about your business, or businesses in your community, get in touch with the News Post Leader on (0191) 251 8484 or email

n Unions keep up fight to save Alcan – Page 11