Net group will fight for village interests

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Members of a community group which started out online have met in person for the first time to discuss how to fight for Thornhill’s interests.

Thornhill Community Group facebook page, which has 800 members, has grown steadily since it was set up in 2009.

Residents post every day about everything from local history to crime and community issues.

Founder Shaun Maddox said it had brought people in the village together. “We have people chatting together online who have not seen each other in years,” he said.

Even people living abroad have joined the group.

“People are saying it’s bringing back all sorts of childhood memories by talking to people they went to school with,” Mr Maddox said.

Now members of the group have met face-to-face, agreeing to a formal constitution that they hope will improve the lives of Thornhill residents. People had already begun taking on community projects, such as cleaning up the derelict Walker Welfare Centre, before the meeting on Monday evening.

Mr Maddox said a formal constitution would allow the group to apply for grants and give the community greater clout with the local authority.

“Instead of me going to area committee meetings and asking for a zebra crossing outside a school, everybody will vote on what we want to do,” he added.

The group hopes to take on the Walker Welfare Centre in Edge Lane, which has laid empty for many years, as community asset and use it as a base. Members also want a heritage appraisal carried out in the village to ensure historic buildings, such as those at The Cross, are not lost.