Jacquie Bell has been elected as Dunbar and East Linton’s Area Partnership’s new Chair.

Jacquie, who has lived in Belhaven since 1989, will replace George Robertson in the role when he stands down in October.

During his three years as Chair, George Robertson has overseen a number of Area Partnership projects including the repainting of some of the building facades on Dunbar High Street, the installation of benches around the area as well as improvements to some village facilities in Tyninghame, West Barns and Belhaven. George also led the Area Partnership in a review of its Area Plan, which was approved by the East Lothian Partnership.

During the pandemic George has played a leading role is harnessing the goodwill of the members of the community and has supported a number of initiatives to help those affected by COVID.  

Led by community volunteers, Dunbar and East Linton is one of six Area Partnership which receive funding from East Lothian Council to identify local priorities and help reduce inequalities. It is supported by East Lothian Council’s Connected Communities service, which promotes and delivers the council’s community empowerment aims - working collaboratively with our local communities, other council services, community planning partners such as Police Scotland, NHS, third sector and community organisations - to make a difference locally and address the impacts of poverty.

George said:

“I am very proud to have been associated with Dunbar & East Linton Area Partnership and all of the positive outcomes we have achieved for our communities, particularly during the past 18 months of the pandemic.

“We have supported a number of great community initiatives, including food provisions such as the ‘meals on wheels’ delivery service for people who were shielding.   As well as providing a cooked meal, this helped tackle social isolation for those unable to see friends and family due to lockdown. All across the Dunbar and East Linton area we have seen many improvements through the hard work, dedication and support we received from local communities who are at the forefront of community empowerment."

Jacquie Bell, a retired social worker, has been an active member of the Area Partnership since it was established and Vice-Chair since 2014. She has been a member of Dunbar Community Council for over 20 years and Secretary since 2012. Jacquie also served as an elected member representing the Dunbar and East Linton ward on East Lothian Council from 2007-12.

After being elected Chair Jacquie said:

“I want to thank Dunbar and East Linton Area Partnership for electing me as their new community Chairperson. I have been active as a local community volunteer for many years including working closely with George on co-ordinating the local response to Covid. I am committed to helping to make Dunbar and East Linton the best it can be for local residents. I am excited to be taking on the new role and wish to do so in an inclusive way. I want to ensure that the Area Partnership hears voices and views from all parts of the ward to ensure that it works to make a difference to the lives of everyone in both Dunbar town and the smaller settlements. "


Between March and June 2014 six Area Partnerships were established across East Lothian as the local voice of community planning in the county. The role of Area Partnerships is to strengthen the links between communities, area-based services and East Lothian Partnership and provide an opportunity for local communities to contribute to the East Lothian Plan 2017-27 and influence service planning and delivery in their area.

To do this Area Partnerships:

  1. Develop an Area Plan based on a shared vision for   the area, using evidence from the Area Profile and local intelligence - with a focus on reducing inequalities, prioritising prevention and early intervention and sustainability.
  2. Monitor the delivery of the Area Plan and its impact; reporting progress to the East Lothian Partnership.
  3. Show creative and active leadership to meet the challenges which people and communities face and to maximise the opportunities which arise.  
  4. Oversee resource allocation devolved to the area in accordance with priorities established by the Area Plan.
  5. Act as the principal point of contact, consultation   and engagement on the delivery of local services and service improvement.
  6. Monitor the effectiveness of stakeholder and community engagement to develop, deliver and review the Area Plan and local service delivery; drawing on and building on existing activities of local groups and partnerships.

Each Area Partnership is made up of:

  • All East Lothian Council elected members from the ward
  • Representatives from each Community Council in the ward
  • Members from Tenants and Residents Associations
  • Parent Council members representing the interests of children and families

Across East Lothian there are also various community, voluntary sector and business groups actively involved in Area Partnerships within their communities. For further information visit: Area Partnerships in East Lothian | Area Partnerships in East Lothian | East Lothian Council

Published: Wednesday, 22nd September 2021