The Parish Council’s volunteer website and social media administrator has advised the Parish Council of his intention to retire from his role. This is after over 10 years voluntary service.
Ian Forster began volunteering with the Parish Council in 2009 as Assistant Parish Clerk when his wife, Margaret, was Parish Clerk. In 2010 he set up a new Parish Council website with the help and support of Durham County Council who host it. In the same year he set up the Parish Facebook and Twitter accounts.
In 2016, Ian worked with the County Council to switch the site from a Microsoft to WordPress based system. This resulted in a bigger, brighter website. Since October last year, on top of his normal administration duties, Ian has spent many hours to ensure that the Parish Council website meets new accessibility legislation. This work has included reducing the number of Portable Document Format (PDF) documents on the site. These have now been replaced with text on pages instead . Ian has ensured that every photograph on our site, and there are many, all have alternative text embedded. This enables electronic readers to communicate what the photographs show to people with sight impairments.
The website and social media is now at the centre of Parish Council communications. Ian has always tried to ensure that the website and social media has been of true community value and not just promoting parish council business.
The website and social media has benefitted from his own photography and the council from his planning knowledge. He has led a range of social media campaigns in his time such as encouraging votes for grant aid and community issues such as dog fouling.
In developing the website, Ian has worked with local businesses personally to set up our business directory on our website. This has resulted in over 50 businesses being represented and having their own webpage. Ian has continued to work with businesses to update their pages when necessary. More recently, Ian’s focus has been on ensuring Coronavirus information is available locally.
Last year the Parish website had 25,000 hits which is an excellent achievement for a Parish Council site. The Parish Facebook page has over 1700 followers and nearly 1700 likes.
As the Parish Council’s ambition, workload, governance and administration has grown so has the time required to undertake website and social media duties. This has ultimately led Ian to reach his decision.
Currently, Ian will assist the Parish until the end of lockdown or 1 July whichever is later.