Sharon Whitchurch

The chair of a Burntwood community group has said the decision to disband was a difficult but necessary one.

Forward Action Burntwood will come to an end in July after years of organising events in the town, such as the Christmas lantern parade and other fundraising drives.

But the remaining trustees have now decided to call time on the group’s work.

Sharon Whitchurch

Chair Sharon Whitchurch revealed that changes to the lives of those behind Forward Action Burntwood had meant a change was inevitable.

“We  haven’t got the time to take on everything anymore – our lives have changed,” she said. “In truth, only three of us have been able to commit continually and that’s not enough.

“Some of us have health issues and as a group we don’t have the capacity to carry on.

“We struggle to get volunteers for events never mind to run the group – we just can’t do it anymore.”

Sharon said she hoped organisations like the WS7 group would fill the breach and take on some of the events previously staged by Forward Action Burntwood.

“The lantern parade made us realise that we couldn’t keep it up,” she said. “I don’t know whether there will be a lantern parade or not this year now.

A lantern parade in Burntwood

“But we’ll happily pass on all of our knowledge and materials and will willingly volunteer to help out if someone else decides to take on the logistics of managing the whole event.”

Sharon – who confirmed she will still be involved in organising the Race for Stephen – hopes that the town’s sense of community will continue to flourish.

She said: “I’ve been chair of Forward Action Burntwood for five years and this has been the saddest decision to have to make.

“We all sat down and no-one wanted to say it because we knew that would be it if we did. But we were all thinking it.

“It’s sad, but we do it alongside running homes and jobs and we don’t have the time anymore.

“We’d rather go out now on a high from the memories of successful events rather than putting on an event and having it fail. We didn’t want to do things half-hearted or just put on one event a year.

“But community engagement is still massive in Burntwood – just look at the Stephen Sutton effect.

“Forward Action Burntwood has started the work and as a community we can’t let it go. Hopefully, there are enough of us in Burntwood with the volunteering bug in who will continue to work in the local area.”

Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.