A COMMUNITY group that has helped transform Hoddlesden and the surrounding areas is to fold.

The East Rural Network, which was best known recently for hosting the annual Hoddlesden Scarecrow Festival, will close in the coming weeks.

Bosses of the group said committee members were now so busy with other groups that they struggled to find time to attend meetings.

But all the network’s activities will continue under different groups and all money in its bank account will be distributed among other community projects.

Diane Hornby, who was involved with the group when it formed as the East Rural Regeneration Committee in 2001, said: “We are disbursing rather than folding. The problem is, it is an umbrella group for lots of other committees and our members have always been busy people.

“It has got to the stage where there were fewer and fewer people coming to each meeting because they had other commitments.

“So we have decided to quit while we are ahead.”

Diane, of Earls Drive, Hoddlesden, who was secretary of the group for many years and most recently vice-chairman, said the group had not managed to have a quorum – enough members present to make a decision – at several of its last meetings.

She said: “We haven’t folded just yet.

“We still have funds in the bank account and need to finalise the books before we can officially close.

“And once we have had everything audited we will be distributing the funds in the community as that is where they have been raised.”

The East Rural Regeneration Committee was initially a Government fund- ing pot granted for com- munity projects.

But the group, which later became the East Rural Network, carried on after the cash ran out by getting money from grants and raising it locally.

Some of the projects that it spearheaded were the Victorian lights in Queens Square, a refurbishment of the tram shelter and the war memorial, and the Eccleshill play area and surrounding fencing.

The scarecrow festival has been taken over by the new Phase Three Club and will take place in September this year.