Harrogate council save short-term future of Night Marshals with £10k funding

Night Marshals in Harrogate
Night Marshals in Harrogate

Harrogate’s Night Marshals will continue their town centre work for another six months after the borough council agreed to provide £10,000 of temporary funding.

The Night Marshals have been operating within the district since November 2011 but warned that, without additional funding, the project would be ending this month.

The project was funded for the first three years by a local area performance reward grant before the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) paid for it in 2014/15.

However, the Harrogate District Community Safety Group that runs the project were forced to pay for the marshals this year using their reserves, but they warned they would be unable to continue doing so.

After failed approaches to the PCC, the county council’s Public Health Scheme and town centre businesses for funding, the council’s Overview and Scrutiny Commission agreed to provide the money for six-months worth of work.

The Commission will also spend three months reviewing potential future funding of the project but Julia Stack, Community Safety & CCTV Manager, admitted it was difficult to source funding in an age of cutbacks.

She said: “We are delighted that the council are giving us £10,000 for six months. Even though we have worked very closely with the pubs and clubs, it’s still difficult times for them.

“A number of premises said that if they felt they needed extra resources they would put money into their own door staff rather than being able to put something into a generic project.

“It’s an early intervention but the PCC has difficult decisions to make. They were not in a position to give any funding to the project this year as their primary funding has to go to front line policing.

“It’s difficult because we know it works and we are passionate about it but it’s very difficult because we are living in an age of cuts.”

In a report presented to the cabinet member for Housing and Safer Communities, Ms Stack explained the importance of the marshals in the night time economy.

Despite claiming that the project has been a valued, highly visible and preventative service for both the police and town centre bars, Ms Stack wrote she was worried the service had ‘limited opportunities’ to access funding.

However, the council explained that the six months of funding would allow the Commission to ‘explore alternative funding options’.