The power of rural communities in the High Peak has been highlighted during a debate in the House of Commons.
Speaking last Thursday during a debate on rural communities, High Peak MP Andrew Bingham praised the work undertaken by the Community Organising Green Spaces (COGS) group in Furness Vale and the efforts of residents in Bamford, who saved their local pub The Angler’s Rest.
Formed by a number of local residents, the COGS group has been working for several years to transform a football field which is not level and has poor drainage into a community sports facility.
Speaking of their work so far, Mr Bingham said: “Through its work, its fundraising, its energy and its commitment, the group has made a huge amount of progress.
“I am proud of those people, and I want to place on record my tribute to the way in which they came together as volunteers.
“That is the power of the rural community as we have seen it working in Furness Vale.”
And speaking of the Bamford Community Society, who raised the money needed to buy their local pub the Angler’s Rest, which they are transforming into a community hub, Mr Bingham said: “I met the group’s members, looked at their plans, and listened to what they had to say.
“It was apparent that a great deal of work and thought had gone into their business plan, which had been professionally prepared.
“At the eleventh hour there was a hiccup that threatened the whole deal, but I am glad to say that we managed to work around it, and the pub was duly purchased in the autumn.
“I pay tribute to the residents of Bamford, as I paid tribute to those in Furness Vale, for all their efforts: they have provided us with a fantastic example.”
He added: “We have heard a great deal today about the challenges facing rural communities, and I agree with most of what has been said about, for instance, fuel, access, roads and transport.
“However, I have made numerous comments about those issues in the past.
“What we must never underestimate is the feeling of community in rural areas.
“Nowhere are the power, drive and potential of a rural community more apparent than in the two areas in the High Peak about which I have spoken today.”
Terry Watson, chair of the COGS group, said: “It’s really good that our hard work is recognised in this way and we hope that in a small way it helps show that all of the time and effort we have put into this project is noticed, has been worthwhile and it is a spur to see our ambitions realised.”