Yorkshire Forward is a name fast disappearing into the history of the county, but although the name may be fading in Bedale, its impact remains very much in the present.

The regeneration agency was disbanded a decade ago, but had a strong influence on the town before that point, including helping to bring a Market Street building back into use.

Bedale was granted Renaissance Market Town status in the early years of this century, with a set of objectives to move the community forwards in the decades ahead.

To assist that, part of the final settlement from Yorkshire Forward was to grant its rental income from the building to the newly formed Bedale and Villages Community Forum, which has given that organisation an annual budget.

It has meant they have been able to offer cash support to Bedale staples including the annual bonfire, a youth venue and sports clubs, as well as publishing brochures about the town and district.

But the forum has also taken on its own projects, including work to upgrade two ginnels in the area around the Market Square, installing new signage and community art and running the Christmas Festival.

Its members are also working to get extensive heritage lighting installed in the centre of Bedale, befitting the area’s historic appearance – something made possible by the construction of a traffic bypass, meaning lighting regulations in the area can be relaxed.

For the internet age, they have also provided free online access and operate the Bedale.org website, in addition to maintaining a social media presence.

The Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns inevitably had an impact on the work the forum was able to do and it is now in the process of re-emerging.

In the years ahead, it will also have to refocus its purpose as the current deal, which provides rental income from the Market Square premises, comes to an end in 2025.

Forum member Yvonne Rose said: “We see ourselves partly as a group which can kick something off and then facilitate others to take on.”

They stepped in to help when the library became a community venue, relying on volunteers to help keep services operating and also held large-scale litter-picking events, which led to the Bedale Litter Busters group being established.

“We have started meeting again after the pandemic,” she said. “We will be developing plans for what we will do into the future.”