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  1. March wedding fair for Morpeth

    A wedding fair is to be held in Morpeth next month, providing the perfect opportunity for couples planning their big day to meet local wedding suppliers and find everything they need, all under one roof. The wedding fair will take place in the historic Morpeth Town Hall on Sunday 18th March 2018, between 11am - 3pm. The event is being organised by Northumberland County Council’s Registration Service to promote the town’s stunning, affordable wedding venue and to support local wedding suppliers. It is free to enter and refreshments will be available. Over 25 North East based wedding specialists have signed up to attend the fair and promote their products and services. Among the line-up are wedding outfitters, florists, car hire specialists, photographers, music and entertainment companies and catering and cake makers. Throughout the day, the Northumberland Registrars will be available to offer couples advice and guidance on booking their Registrars and planning and personalising their ceremony. Morpeth Town Hall caters to a range of needs, and offers couples the chance to have a small intimate ceremony in the Ante room, while larger parties can hire the Ballroom which accommodates up to 80 guests. The iconic town hall was originally designed in 1714 by Sir John Vanbrugh and underwent a beautiful internal refurbished a few years ago. The great architect and dramatist is perhaps better known for his work at such landmark buildings as Blenheim Palace, Castle Howard and Seaton Delaval Hall. Northumberland County Councillor Nick Oliver, cabinet member for corporate services said: “Planning a wedding or civil ceremony can be a bit daunting. The Morpeth fair aims to ease the process by providing the opportunity for couples to come along to meet and talk to many local businesses involved in the wedding industry, in one venue while also having the opportunity to have a look around the impressive rooms in the Town Hall.” The county is currently experiencing a wedding boom with a record number of couples booking to tie the knot in the county. Last year the Northumberland registrars officiated over 1750 marriages and so far this year a further 2020 marriages have been booked. What’s more, statistics show that around 65 percent of couples who are getting married in Northumberland are actually coming from outside of the county. Cllr Oliver added “The wedding industry is big business bringing up to £30m into the county each year. It is an industry we want to nurture and develop to help support the many local businesses and jobs that benefit from it.” For further information telephone 01665 602870 or email: Alnwickreg@northumberland.gov.uk
  2. Work is due to start on the Northumberland stretch of the England Coast Path which is set to become the longest managed and way marked coastal path in the world. The 2,795 mile route will follow the coastline of England and Wales and is due to open in 2020. It will pass stunning beaches, castles, fishing villages, famous seaside resorts and dramatic landscape features, offering walkers the opportunity to experience some of the country’s most varied coastline. In Northumberland the coastal path will follow a route from the Scottish Borders right down the coastline via Berwick and Bamburgh to Seaton Sluice. Northumberland County Council will carry out the work to establish the path and will be responsible for its ongoing maintenance. Natural England will fund the establishment of the route and 75 per cent of the ongoing maintenance costs. Work on the first section of the route between Seaton Sluice and Amble is to commence over the coming weeks. An initial grant of £149,250 has been awarded to Northumberland County Council by Natural England to cover these costs. Northumberland County Councillor Glen Sanderson Cabinet Member for the environment and local services said: “ This new path will be a great addition to those who already know our superb coastline but it will open up new opportunities for visitors who want to explore the wonderful assets we have in our county. Additionally the path will help draw in visitors all year round and help provide a boost to local businesses along its length.” The new route will, where possible, link into the existing Northumberland Coastal Path, but sections will need to be added to allow it to directly follow the coastline of the county. The Seaton Sluice to Amble stretch of the route has already been agreed by the Secretary of State and was proposed by Natural England following extensive research and consultation with landowners and Northumberland County Council. It will follow existing pathways on council land and recorded highways and footways and so only minor work such as the installation of gates and signage is needed. Work is ongoing with the planning of other sections of the route in the county. New stretches of grass pathway will need to be created between Newbiggin and Lynemouth and between Cresswell and Druridge. A further two sections of the Northumberland route - Amble to Bamburgh and Bamburgh to the Scottish Borders, are still in the research and consultation phase.
  3. Fishing communities stretching from Berwick upon Tweed down to North Shields are being urged to make the most of European funding available to them before we exit the European Union. The money is available through the European Maritime and Fisheries Funding (EMFF) with £600,000 available to spend locally. Eligible projects can obtain between 50-80 per cent grant funding of the total project cost however the money must be applied for by April 2019. The funding can be used to support a wide range of projects including: the development of small scale infrastructure at ports and harbours; adding value to fisheries products, for example, through marketing, branding and processing; the retention and creation of jobs; aquaculture and marine based industries; promoting cooperation and innovation and enhancing and conserving the marine environment. The North of Tyne Fisheries Local Action Group (FLAG) is responsible for delivering the scheme across the north east, including considering applications and deciding how funding should be allocated locally. The North of Tyne FLAG area extends from Berwick upon Tweed down to North Shields and takes in 14 coastal settlements: Berwick, Holy Island, Seahouses, Beadnell, Low Newton by the Sea, Crater, Boulmer, Amble, Lynemouth, Newbiggin, Blyth, Seaton Sluice, Cullercoats and North Shields. The area has a fishing fleet of 119 vessels employing over 150 people directly in the industry. Northumberland County Council employs FLAG staff and is responsible for ensuring that the programme rules and regulations are implemented correctly. Northumberland County Councillor Nick Oliver, cabinet member with responsibility for corporate services said: “ This is a great opportunity for groups in our coastal communities to apply for funding for projects based around maritime industries. Fishing and its associated industries have been hugely important to the North East and this fund will help to support these businesses to grow and diversify.” The North Sunderland Harbour Commissioners near Seahouses had the first project approved in England and have recently been awarded almost £40,000 of EMFF for the manufacture and installation of three new quayside landing davits for the South Pier. Captain Brabban from the harbour commissioners said: “This project will alleviate congestion in the harbour whilst landing catch; reduce the manual labour involved and enable the catch to be landed quickly. Ultimately it will result in the catch being presented to the market in perfect condition.” For further information and advice please contact Simon Baxter, North of Tyne FLAG Programme Officer on 07825 121778 or email simon.baxter@northumberland.gov.uk
  4. Work is underway to support the workforce at a factory in Seaton Delaval which is due to close next year. Beauty company Coty has announced that its operation in the community will close in 2018 after it reviewed its global manufacturing operations. Responding quickly to the risk of closure, Arch and Northumberland County Council worked in partnership with Coty to form a response group. The remit of the group is to help support employees, assess the impact on local supply chain and provide support to ensure a sustainable future use for the site. The group also includes representation from Seaton Delaval Community Council, Jobcentre Plus and a range of other local and regional organisations, agencies and individuals which wish to support the workforce. The group is working closely with Coty with the aim of ensuring the best possible outcomes for all employees, as well as for the local community at Seaton Delaval. Weekly sessions for staff led by Jobcentre Plus and the Careers Service, in collaboration with Coty, are already proving successful, and two careers fairs have also been arranged at the site - one in October and another in January. Some employees have already secured positions - a number within Coty’s global network, and some with local or regional companies. Additional training is being provided for staff who want to brush up on skills such as job applications and interview technique. Northumberland College has also provided support by organising an NVQ to formalise existing skills, so that people can add these to their CVs. Cllr Richard Wearmouth attends the Coty response group as cabinet member for economic development at Northumberland County Council and chair of Arch. He said: “I am very pleased that the group is doing some excellent work, alongside Coty, to provide support to employees as this factory moves towards its sad closure next year. “We appreciate that this is a difficult time for staff but hope that the support package from Coty, combined with wider assistance through partners on the taskforce, will ensure that they have the best possible opportunities available to plan for the future. Like Coty themselves, we want to see suitable outcomes for all staff. “We will also be working with the company as it moves towards sale of the site - with the aim of securing a suitable and economically advantageous use for the future. It would be great to see new jobs created here for a local workforce.” Kay Plumley, site leader at the Seaton Delaval factory, said: "We are fully committed to supporting all of our colleagues through the coming months, and ensuring that they have every possible resource available to help them either relocate with Coty, find another job, or pursue other future directions that they might wish to take. "Our priority is to ensure that there are as wide a range of opportunities available to them as possible. We have been pleased by the number and quality of companies coming forward who are looking for the skills of our workforce, and this has already resulted in some colleagues securing new jobs." Under the remit of the response group, Arch and Northumberland County Council will also be looking at how they can attract new investment to help boost Seaton Delaval’s future sustainability, including ongoing work with Government to secure all available support. The response group comprises representatives of Northumberland County Council, Coty, the local MP, Seaton Delaval Community Council, Arch, Jobcentre Plus, the North East Chamber of Commerce, The Confederation of British Industry, the Department for International Trade, Cities and Local Growth Unit, National Careers Service, North East of England Process Industry Cluster, Northumberland College and North East Enterprise Agencies Ltd. The group is following the same model as the one which successfully provided support during the sale of the General Mills (JusRol) factory in Berwick upon Tweed. This closure ended with a number of positive outcomes for the workforce and the site was acquired by Country Style Foods, securing sustainable employment use for the future.
  5. Green fingered Northumbrians have done the county proud yet again as they collected a string of awards after impressing judges in this year’s Northumbria in Bloom awards. Dozens of towns, villages and businesses showed off their floral displays, summer planting and well tended parks and gardens in the competition which has seen communities and council staff pull together to show off local neighbourhoods at their best. The county did exceptionally well in the Towns category with Morpeth winning overall Gold for the bright displays that have produced a blaze of colour right across the town. Alnwick won Gold, Bedlington won Silver and Berwick and Hexham were awarded Silver Gilt. In the Large Towns category, Blyth won Silver and Cramlington won Silver Gilt. In the Small Towns category Ponteland and Seaton Sluice won gold with Seaton Delaval achieving bronze. Seaton Delaval won the Most Improved entry for enthusiastically taking on a number of neglected areas for transformation and for the hard work and vision of the community. The county’s villages also scooped a number of fantastic awards against tough competition. Ord near Berwick won the Large Villages category. Judges found the village to be pristine throughout with residents taking a great pride in keeping their neighbourhood spotless as well as caring for the many tubs and planters. There were celebrations elsewhere as Holywell and New Hartley won Silver and Seghill won Bronze in the Large Villages category. East Hartford won Silver in the Small Villages category and Lesbury won Silver Gilt in the Villages category. The popular Ridley Park in Blyth was winner of the Best Park award for its beautifully landscaped public space. Young growers in the county also got involved and Tweedmouth West First School in Berwick scooped the Growing Together for Schools award. Other Gold winners included Alnmouth Railway Station ( best bus/metro/rail station) The parish hall garden, Corbridge ( best Grounds of a hospital, university or public building) Ord Country Park ( best commercial premises) Berwick Bowling Club ( best sports ground) Woodbine Terrace, Corbridge ( best residential community). A number of very worthy awards were made for outstanding voluntary contributions. Neville Rutherford of Corbridge for his inspiring leadership of Corbridge in Bloom; Kenneth Thompson from Morpeth for his commitment to the ‘In Bloom’ entry and George Anderson for his contribution to the betterment of Ord Village Councillor Glen Sanderson, cabinet member for environment and local services at Northumberland County Council, said: “It is wonderful that the hard work and efforts of a few have made the towns and villages where we live such attractive places. We really do appreciate their work and congratulate everyone involved. ”
  6. The electoral arrangements of Blyth Town Council are currently being examined with a view to reviewing its administrative boundary with Seaton Valley Parish Council. Blyth Town Council has requested that changes be made to its boundary with Seaton Valley Parish Council. The effect of the boundary change would to transfer:- an area of land (A), shown hatched red on the attached map from Blyth Town into Seaton Valley Parish. a small triangular area of land (B), shown hatched green on the attached map, from Seaton Valley Parish into Blyth Town. A map of the proposed boundary changes can be seen here Blyth Town Council states that the area of land (B) is attached to a larger area in Blyth where house building is currently being developed. It is possible that some houses may be built in this area which is currently in Seaton Valley Parish with the remainder of the houses being in Newsham. Blyth Town Council feels that there are obvious implications for maintenance of open spaces, representation, and differences in Council Tax. It also suggests that the area of land (A) between the existing boundary and the A1061 should be transferred from Blyth Town into Seaton Valley Parish. Northumberland County Council has the powers to conduct community governance reviews which can involve creating new, or amalgamating parishes and amending electoral arrangements. The Town Council has asked the authority to carry out such a review. The County Council is now consulting with local electors and other stakeholders in the area about the proposals. A report will be sent to the Council in January advising of the outcome and, if an Order is made, then the changes will come into force with effect from the next local elections in May 2021. If you would like to make your views known, they should be submitted, in writing, by 9 October 2017 to :- Lesley Bennett Senior Democratic Services Officer, Democratic Services, Northumberland County Council, County Hall, Morpeth, Northumberland, NE61 2EF OR E-mail - Lesley.Bennett@northumberland.gov.uk
  7. Residents and visitors to Northumberland will be given a rare opportunity to see some of the county’s hidden architectural treasures when the doors to many of its most historic buildings are opened to the public, free of charge. The Heritage Open Days event is taking place between Thursday 7 and Sunday 10 of September. The open days are free and fun and provide an excellent opportunity for people of all ages to explore the fantastic cultural heritage of Northumberland. A wide range of tours, events and activities are on offer. Dozens of attractions are taking part including the ever popular Cragside House in Rothbury. There will be the the opportunity to look around local churches, Morpeth Clock Tower and the Rothbury Trenches. There will also be the chance to look behind the scenes of Northumberland Archives at Woodhorn Museum and get a rare glimpse into the work that goes into preserving diverse collections which cover over 800 years of Northumberland’s fascinating history. Northumberland county Councillor, cabinet member with responsibility for culture , arts and leisure, Cllr Cath Homer said: “ This hugely popular annual event provides free public access to historic buildings and local landmarks, many of which are not usually open to the public. "It's an unmissable opportunity for residents and visitors to get a glimpse behind the scenes, and perhaps get a better understanding and appreciation of our county's rich cultural heritage.” Heritage Open Days is England's largest festival of history and culture, bringing together over 2,500 organisations, 5,000 events and 40,000 volunteers. To view a full list of this year’s attractions visit www.heritageopendays.org.uk .
  8. The county took centre stage in the international spotlight today ( Monday 4th) as the Tour of Britain, the UK’s premier cycle race, rolled through the county giving residents the opportunity to see some of the world's top teams and riders competing on their doorstep. A carnival atmosphere swept across Northumberland as elite cyclists set off from Kielder for the second stage of Britain’s most prestigious cycle race. The riders passed through 28 communities, covering over 200kms, culminating in an exciting finish in Blyth. Kielder Water & Forest Park was filled with an electric atmosphere from early morning, with cycling fans coming along to get up close to the riders before the start of Stage 2 of the race which is being televised live in 120 countries. Northumberland County Council Civic Head, Cllr Anthony Murray and young future star of cycling Roisin Lally from Hexham waved the Northumberland flag to set the riders underway. Communities joined in the spirit of the occasion by decorating the route the distinctive red and yellow colours of the Northumberland flag while thousands of people turned out to welcome and cheer on the cyclists and give them a fantastic Northumberland welcome. A series of community events were held in towns along the route focussing on all things pedal powered to provide Northumberland residents, of all ages the perfect opportunity to have a go at cycling. Northumberland County Council has worked closely with race organisers Sweetspot, start sponsors Northumbrian Water and finish sponsors Blyth Town Council to bring the race back to Northumberland. It was last here in 2015. Leader of Northumberland County Council, Councillor Peter Jackson said : “It has been a fantastic day for the county. We are blessed in Northumberland with amazing natural scenery and wonderful people and it is great that we got to show this off to the competitors and all those who watched the race unfold on television. “In 2015 the Tour of Britain gave a real boost to the local economy - to the tune of £2.2m - and we’re confident this year’s stage which was entirely in the county, will be great news for businesses in Northumberland and our ever increasing tourism industry.” “ It was great to see so many spectators lining the route cheering the riders on and so many communities getting behind the event and decorating their towns and villages . I’d like to thank the organisers of the Tour of Britain, the emergency services and our council staff who all worked very hard behind the scenes to ensure the event ran smoothly and safely.” Jackie Sewell, owner of Tomlinson’s cafe and bunkhouse in Rothbury helped to co-ordinate efforts to decorate the town. She said: “ The Tour of Britain coming through Rothbury created an amazing atmosphere. It is such an iconic event and fantastic sporting spectacle and we are so proud to have been a part of it.”
  9. Chimney Fire Safety Week 2017

    Northumberland County Council, along with Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) are once again supporting the annual Chimney Fire Safety Week running from 4th to 10th September. Chimney Fire Safety Week raises awareness of safe chimney fire use and information about how to prevent a fire occurring, highlighting the importance of having chimneys swept regularly and only burning suitable fuel. Chimney Fire Safety Week is held during September each year as the mornings get darker, the nights draw in and temperature begins to fall. It is this time of year that people with open fires and log burners start to fire up hearths and grates that may not have been used for several months. This is a time when it is vitally important to have the chimney swept to ensure it is clean and free from soot, leaves, birds’ nests and other debris. Carrying out the sweeping process will reduce the risk of a fire occurring or the build up of the poisonous gas, carbon monoxide, within the property. In the past twelve months, NFRS have responded to 60 chimney fires county wide, this involved the response of a total of 120 fire engines to safely deal with the fires. The aim of Northumberland Council and NFRS is to make Northumberland a safer place to live and create a safer working environment for firefighters. NFRS Chief Fire Officer Paul Hedley said: "NFRS and NCC have a long term aim of improving the wellbeing of residents in Northumberland and central to this is the prevention of fires and other emergencies, with the result of reducing death, injury and damage to property. “NFRS offer free home safety advice and, where necessary, the fitting of free smoke alarms. It is also recommended that anyone with an open fire, woodburner or gas central heating system install a working carbon monoxide detector to their property to create a safer living environment. For any further advice contact your local fire station." Councillor John Riddle, Chair of Northumberland Fire Authority, added: “Fire safety is of utmost importance and it is imperative to continually raise awareness about how to safely maintain and use fires within the home. “Northumberland Council and NFRS are committed to relaying the safety messages of Chimney Fire Safety Week to all residents in the region to help prevent chimney fires from happening and ensuring maximum enjoyment from your open fire or log burner in the home.” Key tips to help prevent chimney fires include: Ensure a fireguard is in front of the fire at all times. Spark guards can prevent serious property fires. If you have had a fire ensure you extinguish the flame before bed or leaving the house. Never use petrol or paraffin to light your fire. If you have a wood burner, always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on fuel loading and air flow. If you plan to reopen an old fireplace, seek professional advice from a certified chimney sweep. If you suspect that you have a fire in your chimney breast follow the three safety rules below: 1. Get yourself and others out of the property 2. Call the fire service out on 999 immediately 3. Stay out of the property until after the arrival of the fire service. For further information, please visit: http://www.northumberland.gov.uk/Fire/Home.aspx#chimneyfires http://www.northumberland.gov.uk/Fire/Home.aspx#firefacts-didyouknow http://www.hetas.co.uk/ http://www.chimneyfiresafetyweek.co.uk/ https://woodsure.co.uk/
  10. Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) and the Council’s Public Protection Teams will be offering businesses safety messages as part of the National Fire Chiefs Council UK Business Safety Week 2017. The week runs from 11th - 17th September and aims to make sure businesses and their staff have the information they need to prevent, protect and respond to fire incidents in the workplace. Organisations can also access information on how to comply with the legislation that controls how their business is run. The week has been scheduled to run at a time when many businesses will be recruiting extra members of seasonal staff in the run up to the Christmas period. Head of Fire Safety with NFRS Craig Ducat said: “New recruits may not have the same level of fire safety awareness as permanent members of staff, and may not be aware of the steps needed to protect themselves, their customers and colleagues. “We’ll also be offering businesses input from our Public Protection Teams and traders will be able to discuss current issues and find out where to go for advice if they need it in future. “The week is also a good opportunity to remind employers of the need to review fire risk assessments and training and make sure existing staff know the importance of fire safety.” Across the country fire services will be asking businesses to ensure they have taken action to prevent fires in the workplace, take action to protect themselves from arson and make sure all staff know how to respond appropriately in the event of an incident. Northumberland County Council wish to promote the advice available to businesses regarding regulations, through a series of ‘drop in’ sessions. Business representatives will be able to speak to regulatory inspecting officers from Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service, Northumberland County Council’s Trading Standards, Licensing and Environmental Health Services which will be held at: West Hartford Fire Station on September 11th from 9am-1pm Hexham Fire Station on September 12th from 9am-1pm Pegswood Fire Station on September 13th from 9am-1pm Alnwick Fire Station on September 14th from 9am-1pm Councillor John Riddle, Chair of Northumberland Fire Authority, added: "I’m delighted that we’re again working with small and medium size businesses to help them ensure that they are able to operate in a way that is safe from the terrible effects of fire. “These businesses make a huge contribution to our economy and local communities and we want to help them to do this in a sustainable and safe way." Business representatives can find advice on fire safety in their business on the NFRS website by searching for “fire safety” via www.northumberland.gov.uk or by phone to Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service on 01670 621140 or via firesafety1@northumberland.gov.uk
  11. Today ( Monday 4th September) is the day that Northumberland will come alive with the sights and sounds of the Ovo Energy Tour of Britain - the UK’s premier cycling race - and there is plenty of opportunity to catch a piece of the action. Thousands of spectators are expected to line the route to cheer on the world class cyclists, including UK favourite Mark Cavendish as they speed through 28 communities and cover over 200 kms in Stage 2 of the race. The race is due in the following communities at the times below. Please note these are approximate race arrival times. Fixed and rolling road closures will be in place so please arrive in plenty of time to your chosen viewing point. START Kielder Water & Forest Park at 10.15am Bellingham 10:40 Otterburn 11:00 Elsdon 11:05 Rothbury 11:45 Alnwick 12:10 Eglingham 12:30 Chatton 12:45 Belford 1:00 Bamburgh 1:10 Seahouses 1:20 Beadnell 1:30 Embleton 1:35 Longhoughton 1:45 Lesbury 1:50 Hipsburn 1:55 Warkworth 2:00 Amble 2:05 Widdrington 2:15 Widdrington Station 2:20 Ulgham 2:25 Longhirst 2:30 Morpeth 2:40 Guide Post 2:45 Choppington 2:50 Bedlington 2:50 Blyth 3:00 Seaton Sluice 3:10 Seaton Delaval 3:15 FINISH Blyth around 3.30 pm. For full route details, race timings, community activities and information on road closures and parking restrictions log on to www.nlandtob.com
  12. Cycling legend Mark Cavendish has confirmed that he will ride in next week’s Ovo Energy Tour of Britain, which has a stage in Northumberland on Monday 4 September. Cavendish will lead Team Dimension Data in the Tour as the ten-time stage winner in the race makes his comeback from injury after fracturing his scapula on Stage Four of the Tour de France. The OVO Energy Tour of Britain is British Cycling’s premier road cycling event, giving cycling fans the opportunity to see the world’s best teams and riders competing on their door step. On Monday 4th, Northumberland is hosting an entire stage of the prestigious cycle race including an exciting start in the heart of Kielder and a dramatic finish on the coast at Blyth. It will pass through 28 communities covering 211 kms along its route through the county. Dimension Data will be heading to the race as two-time defending champions and hoping to make it a hat trick of wins in 2017, having won the 2015 and 2016 editions of Britain’s biggest professional cycle race with Edvald Boasson Hagen and Steve Cummings respectively. Boasson Hagen is the current Norwegian Time Trial Champion, and with the Stage Five test at Clacton in Essex over a short 16-kilometre distance that is likely to play to his strengths, the 30-year-old is among the favourites to add to his overall wins in the Tour of Britain in 2009 and 2015. The line-up includes a strong mix of strength and experience with Mark Renshaw (a double Tour of Britain stage winner), Bernhard Eisel and Jay Thomson, while Scott Thwaites will make his third appearance in his national Tour, having last ridden in 2014. Commenting on the line-up, Sport Director Roger Hammond – himself a double-stage winner in the event – said: “It is great to be heading back to the OVO Energy Tour of Britain this week. As this event has grown in stature year on year, so has our team and the last two years in particular were fantastic for us. “We always receive a huge amount of support in the UK for the team and for Qhubeka. With our partners, Dimension Data, Deloitte and Nederburg having such a large in presence over here too, the Tour of Britain is a very special and key event for our team. We will no doubt be looking to put on a good show once again, we always start a race with the goal to win, this year's Tour of Britain will be no different.” Founded in 2007, Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka became the first ever African cycling team to gain a WorldTour license, in 2016. In the team’s palmares you can find a Milan-Sanremo victory, numerous stage wins at the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana, two Tour of Britain GC victories, and 36 National Championships. It’s also known as Africa’s Team due to its focus on helping African talents to the world stage of cycling. The team races to raise funds for the Qhubeka Charity to change lives with bicycles in Africa. For route details and timings in Northumberland log on to www.nlandtob.com
  13. A fantastic range of free events and activities will be taking place in communities along the route of the Ovo Energy Tour of Britain cycle race to celebrate its day in the county. On Monday 4th September there will be a carnival atmosphere across Northumberland as elite cyclists from the world’s top teams set off from Kielder for the second stage of Britain’s most prestigious cycle race, passing through 28 communities and covering over 200kms of the county. The community events will focus on all things pedal powered and provide Northumberland residents, of all ages the perfect opportunity to have a go at cycling. These include: Kielder In Kielder where the race starts, a two day cycle themed festival will take place on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd September at Kielder Waterside to help get people of all ages and abilities in the mood for the big day on Monday 4th. KielderFest is free and includes a pop up velodrome, stunt performances, live music, outdoor cinema screenings, street food and a whole host of cycling related activities. Morpeth From 11 am on Monday there will be a family fun day in Carlisle Park and the Market Place. 3 Sixty bicycle stunt team will put on a BMX display at the skate park in Carlisle Park and will help anyone wanting to have a go using their own bike. Other activities include archery, a cycle slalom, games and puzzles with prizes and bowling and tennis taster sessions. There will also be music and a climbing wall in the Market Place. Staff at Morpeth Riverside Leisure Centre will be holding free bike riding lessons to help children get off their stabilisers. Children must wear a helmet and bring their own bike, preferably with the stabilisers removed. Sessions last approximately 75 minutes and will run from 10 am - 12 noon. Call in at Riverside to find out more, and to book your child onto one of the sessions. There are also 14 golden bikes placed around Morpeth for you to try spot ! Alnwick From 10 am on Monday there will be a series of attractions in Bondgate Within including The 3 Sixty bicycle stunt riding team. Bring your children along to try out balance bikes with Active Northumberland or watch a cycle-powered juice maker in action. Spinning cycling sessions will be taking place at Willowburn Sports Centre. It is hoped that members will clock up the total 815 mile distance of the Tour of Britain over the course of the day. Rothbury On Monday from 10.30am on Church Street there will be music, crafts, street performers, a Vintage 3 wheeler morgan and a bookstall. Childrens sports will start at 1.30 pm ( meet outside the parish hall) and Free Balance Bike sessions will be open for 3-5 year olds at Rothbury Kindergarten between 2-3pm. To book a place contact Rothbury Visitor Centre on 01669 621462. Blyth Activities will be taking place in Blyth Market Square on Monday from 10am when the Street Velodrome and stalls will open. There will be live music on stage from 11. Local school children will be competing in Italian time trials on the finishing straight between 11.45-12.45. Sports Development Officers from Active Northumberland will be present in the town centre from 10am. They will run balance bike sessions for young children, a static cycle challenge for those a little older and you can learn more about the adult cycle hire scheme. Spinning cycling sessions will be taking place at Blyth Sports Centre. It is hoped that members will clock up the total 815 mile distance of the Tour of Britain over the course of the day. At around 3pm the pro cyclists will pass through and start their finishing lap of the Seaton Valley. The riders are set to cross the finishing line around 3.30pm by Blyth Market Place. The presentations to the pro-riders will take place in the Market square after the race. ​ Deputy Leader of Northumberland County Council, Cllr Wayne Daley said: ”This promises to be a really memorable day for Northumberland and I hope residents enter the spirit of the occasion by coming along, cheering on the riders and taking part in the fun family events taking place in their local community.” For further information log on to wwww.nlandtob.com
  14. The Environment Agency has appointed a new team of engagement officers to help communities be more resilient to flooding in the North East. The £280,000 a year project includes four new engagement officers spread across four areas – Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, Durham and Darlington, and Cleveland. Funded by the Northumbria Regional Flood and Coastal Committee (NRFCC) for the next four years, the officers are working alongside partner organisations to help support communities. It includes helping businesses and residents to understand their risk of flooding and ensuring those in flood risk areas are signed up to receive free flood warnings. They’re also helping communities prepare themselves for flooding, such as supporting them to develop community flood plans and recruit volunteer Flood Wardens in at risk communities. The Community Engagement Officers are working on behalf of the Environment Agency and local authority partners. As well as supporting residents and businesses, working alongside schools will play a key role in helping future generations understand their risk. Phil Taylor, from the Environment Agency’s Flood Resilience Team in the North East, said: “We’ve seen over the last few years alone just how devastating flooding can be for communities, so it’s positive news that Northumbria RFCC has agreed to fund these dedicated officers to provide direct support to communities. “In areas where the Environment Agency’s free Flood Warning Service is available the officers will be working to increase sign up to the service. “They’ll also be helping develop community flood plans that will detail the action each community or business can take to reduce the impact of flooding, and help them return to normal life as soon as possible should a flood happen. “And working with schools and youth groups means children can be educated about what it means to be flood resilient and ensure the messages delivered through the project have long-term impact in flood risk areas for years to come.” In Northumberland, Emma Craig is the new Community Engagement Officer. Emma is working on behalf of the Environment Agency and Northumberland County Council to increase flood resilience in areas at risk of flooding. Over 300 properties were flooded in Storm Desmond in 2015 but there are over 3,000 properties at risk of fluvial flooding in the county. Sign up to receive alerts and warnings in areas where the free Flood Warning Service is available is around 60%. There are also around 17,000 properties at risk from surface water flooding. Emma said: “Many communities in Northumberland have created plans and taken action to make themselves more resilient after experiencing significant flooding during Storm Desmond. “I’ll be continuing to work in the communities which were affected as well as other areas in Northumberland that remain at risk of flooding.” You can contact Emma at emma.craig@environment-agency.gov.uk or 0208 474 9845. To find out more about your local flood risk and sign up to the Flood Warning Service visit www.gov.uk/check-flood-risk.
  15. With just days to go until Northumberland is alive with the sights and sounds of the Ovo Energy Tour of Britain, spectators are being urged to arrive in plenty of time to catch the action. The Ovo Energy Tour of Britain, the UK’s premier road cycling event, is coming to the county on Monday 4 September, with world class riders cycling over 200 kms between Kielder and Blyth, passing through 28 communities along the route. To minimise disruption across the county, all roads on the route will be closed using a rolling roadblock system for around 40 minutes - both 20 minutes before and after the cyclists are expected to pass through each community. The closures are required to ensure the safety of spectators and competitors and will be managed by police motorcycle escorts. While the closures are in place, pedestrian access will be maintained as will vehicle access for emergency services. In some key parts of the race, including Rothbury to Alnwick, Belford to Seahouses, Lesbury to Warkworth, the centre of Morpeth and in Blyth town centre there will be full road closures which will have a greater impact on travel. Although the road closures will be kept in place for as short a time as possible, they will inevitably cause some disruption to both car and bus journeys. Spectators are advised to arrive in plenty of time to watch the race and residents who are going about their daily business on race day are being asked to plan their journeys around the race, take a different route, or allow extra travel time. Some key points and estimated timings along the route: 10.15am Start on Kielder Dam 11am First King of the Mountains climb starts outside Elsdon, climbing to the Winter’s Gibbet 11:45am Riders approach Rothbury followed by King of the Mountains hill climbs up Debdon Bank and Corby Crag 12:10pm Riders approach Alnwick 1pm Riders approach Belford and head to Bamburgh 1.20 pm Sprint through Seahouses 2pm Sprint through Warkworth 2.40pm Arrive in Morpeth via Amble, Widdrington and Ulgham 2:50pm Arrive in Bedlington via Guide Post and Choppington 3pm Riders pass through Blyth for the first time 3:10pm Sprint through Seaton Sluice 3:30pm Riders race back through Blyth for the finish Deputy Leader of Northumberland County Council, Councillor Wayne Daley said: “The preparation is almost complete and we’re ready to welcome the Tour of Britain, which will attract many visitors to the county, boost the local economy and showcase Northumberland’s magnificent landscape to a worldwide television audience. “ The council has worked hard to minimise disruption for its residents while the race takes place but this is a major international event so there will be a number of road closures in place to ensure the race can take place safely. “We will be working hard to ensure any disruption is kept to a minimum and would ask residents to familiarise themselves with some of the details and timings of the route so they can plan ahead. ” Access to Morpeth Bus Station, Morpeth Railway Station and public car parks in the centre of Morpeth will all be affected by the road closure between 2pm - 3.30pm so visitors should plan their journeys around these times as routes around Morpeth are likely to be busy during this period. There will be disruption to other bus journeys on 4 September, particularly with afternoon services. Details of all affected services are available via www.nlandtob.com All health services will remain open and fully functioning during the Tour and access to hospitals and GP practices along the route will be maintained, although in some cases diversions may be in place. Patients and visitors are advised to allow extra time for their journey. Professor Chris Gray, medical director at NHS England Cumbria and the North East, said: “The Tour of Britain is sure to be an exciting event, but with the added influx of people in the area, this may put additional pressure on health services. “If you are unfortunate enough to have a minor injury or illness, such as a sprain, strain, cut or fall, there are lots of options – ranging from pharmacist advice and basic first aid treatment to GP surgeries and NHS 111. Please keep A&E for life-threatening injuries and severe symptoms which come on suddenly.” For more details about Stage Two of the Tour of Britain, including maps detailing the route, road closures and estimated arrival times of the race, plus information about events going on in your local area, visit www.nlandtob.com
  16. Residents are being asked to play their part in tackling under-age sales in the county. The sale of age restricted products happens throughout the whole of the year and Northumberland County Council’s Trading Standards Service carry out regular test purchasing exercises whenever it receives complaints. The sales usually centre around alcohol and tobacco but can include any age restricted product, including knives, solvents, fireworks and aerosol paints, e-cigarettes and liquids. Apart from the known health effects of some of these products, issues can arise in terms of anti-social behaviour when some of the products are consumed or abused. Currently there are few complaints being reported about the selling of age restricted to those under the legal age and the Trading Standards Service is asking anyone who sees or knows of shops selling age restricted products to report it to them so that action can be taken. Councillor John Riddle, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning, Housing & Resilience said: “If residents know of any people selling age controlled products to young people, especially if they are selling alcohol or tobacco from their own home, they should report this to Trading Standards. “If you are approached by a young person and asked to purchase alcohol, tobacco or e-cigarettes always refuse. Buying such items for under 18s can lead to a fine, fixed penalty notice or even a criminal record.” Any concerns regarding age restricted sales should be reported via email to tradingstandards@northumberland.gov.uk Any information will be held in the strictest confidence. People can also telephone 01670 623870 and ask to speak to the Trading Standards Duty Officer.
  17. Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) is to take up the baton of promoting mental health awareness across the county. The Our Blue Light Torch relay is making its way across the UK’s emergency services and on Saturday, September 2 the baton will be handed over by bike from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service to NFRS, along with colleagues from Northumbria Police. Our Blue Light started in the north west of England with the specific aim of raising mental health awareness across all emergency services including fire, police, ambulance, search and rescue, the Prison Service and the NHS. The arrival of the torch relay heralds the start of a week of NFRS awareness raising events in Northumberland, including a cycle ride, demonstrations of the service’s swift water rescue techniques and a walk from Craster to Bamburgh, which people are welcome to attend. At the end of the week the torch relay will pass to colleagues from County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service and will also make an appearance at the Great North Run. Station Manager Andy Davison from NFRS said: “Recent high profile incidents in London and elsewhere have really highlighted the work of the emergency services and the challenges and stresses we face on a daily basis. “While the service already offers a range of support to promote both physical and mental wellbeing, it’s important we continue to realise that mental health issues can affect everyone and this relay is a great way of getting the message out there.” Councillor John Riddle, Chair of Northumberland Fire Authority, added: “While working in the fire service is one of the most rewarding jobs, by its very nature it can be stressful. “Their health and welfare is an absolute priority and we are delighted to be involved in this torch relay and awareness raising events.” Anyone interested in joining the awareness raising walk on Thursday, September 7 can contact Andy Davison on (01670) 621186 or via andy.davison@northumberland.gov.uk More information on the work of the charity is available via www.ourbluelight.com
  18. Up to 2,000 homes and businesses could benefit from funding to provide superfast broadband to more Northumberland communities. Through the iNorthumberland programme, Northumberland County Council and BT have agreed a fund of £2.2 million to bring the high-speed technology to some of the most expensive and technically difficult to reach communities in the county. The new iNorthumberland Community Broadband Fund works with a Community Fibre Partnership programme in which communities not currently in any fibre broadband plans can partner with Openreach, the local network business which is part of BT Group, to get superfast broadband in their area. These communities can now apply to use the new iNorthumberland fund, which can be matched by up to 50 per cent of additional private funding, on top of Openreach’s investment. If fully matched, the value of new broadband schemes could be more than £4 million. The fund will offer up to £2,000 matched funding per premise for a superfast broadband connection or up to £2,500 for ultrafast - with a maximum contribution available to a single community capped at £100,000. Each community will need to have a nominated person or organisation to apply for inclusion in the scheme. They will be responsible for getting a community fibre broadband quote from Openreach and also required to arrange payment of the community’s contribution to the scheme when the contract is agreed. Cllr Nick Oliver, cabinet member for corporate services at Northumberland County Council, said: “I am really pleased that we have been able to agree the funding for this scheme, and to get the ball rolling for a number of communities who are geared up to sign contracts, and get work underway. “We know that there is a high demand amongst households in these more hard to reach areas, and also that a number of businesses are struggling to sustain their current business models due to connectivity issues. “Securing schemes through this funding will help to increase access to services and allow greater adoption of digital services for rural residents. It will also help to grow the economy by both supporting existing businesses and encouraging new ones to become established in Northumberland.” By the end of this year the iNorthumberland programme will have delivered superfast broadband to 93 per cent of homes and business in the county - and it is envisaged that through this new community fund it could reach close to 98 per cent. These final premises are in some of the most rural and dispersed communities in Northumberland and providing connectivity to these areas has been both technologically challenging and costly. The iNorthumberland team has been working with BT, Openreach and local communities and groups across the county with a view to progressing with this scheme, and some communities are already gearing up to sign contracts. Some of the first communities set to benefit include Nunnykirk, Stanton near Netherwitton, Bolam, Pauperhaugh and Styford. Steve Haines, managing director of next generation access for Openreach, said: “It is great to be able to work with Northumberland County Council and communities from across the County to find a fibre broadband solution. “Openreach is committed to making fibre broadband as widely available as possible for households and businesses. The technology really does have the ability to transform the way people interact online.” Simon Roberson, BT’s regional partnership director for the North East, added: “This additional fund is quite literally going to help superfast broadband go that extra mile, reaching communities that would otherwise be unlikely to benefit from faster broadband speeds. This is fantastic news for Northumberland.” The iNorthumberland team will liaise with communities who have previously been in touch with the council or BT to support them through the process. Those who are interested will need to register with the iNorthumberland team, who will be able to provide support in completing documentation and starting the process. As well as the 50:50 funding option, there could be further opportunities for areas to become connected. In instances where Openreach cannot provide a quote under the criteria of the fund, there will be secondary funding within the scheme which could be used to seek alternative network solutions, such as fibre via a different network provider, fixed wireless or mobile 4G. The funding for the iNorthumberland Community Broadband Scheme has been made available due to efficiencies in the first phase of the iNorthumberland programme. iNorthumberland, a partnership between Northumberland County Council and BT, has already made fibre broadband available to more than 55,000 premises across the county. More than 40 per cent of Northumberland households and businesses able to upgrade to the new technology have already chosen to do so - a figure which is among the highest levels of take-up in the UK. BT was awarded the iNorthumberland contract in April 2013, whilst the second phase contract was signed in June last year. More than £29 million is being invested in the programme area by Northumberland County Council, the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) fund, BT and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). For further information and details of how to contact iNorthumberland visit www.inorthumberland.org.uk
  19. A flood and coastal group will oversee spending of more almost £22million to protect hundreds of homes across the north east as it sets out its objectives for the next year. The Northumbria Regional Flood and Coastal Committee (NRFCC) has launched its business plan for 2017/18, which will better protect around 743 properties from flood risk and another 100 from coastal erosion. It also announced in its 2016/17 annual report that it’s overseen 110 projects costing £24.5million over the past year, reducing the risk of flooding and coastal erosion to 1,291 properties. These include the dam on the Cotting Burn, the final part of the significant £28million Morpeth flood alleviation scheme which protects 1,000 homes and business in the town. The dam has been renamed ‘The Hargreaves Dam’ in memory of Jon Hargreaves, NRFCC Chairman who sadly passed away last October. The past year has also seen the completion of a £3million repair programme following the devastating floods during Storm Desmond in December 2015. The annual report and business plan together summarise the past year and look forward to the year ahead. It is the third year of a six-year programme of work which was agreed in January 2015. The business plan will be updated each year to take into account any adjustments to the £108million, six-year programme, which will better protect a total of 5,300 properties once complete. Councillor Nick Oliver, Northumberland County Council’s NRFCC member, said: “The Morpeth scheme is a great example of agencies working together on a hugely ambitious engineering project and the fact it has already been used more than proves its worth. “One of the cornerstones of the scheme has been the help and support of the local community, and their input and engagement has been absolutely invaluable throughout. “In Northumberland we are only too aware of the devastating effects of flooding and we welcome this latest plan which details continuing investment in schemes to protect communities across the region.” Leila Huntington, Flood and Coastal Risk Manager with the Environment Agency in the North East, said: “On completion of our £22million programme of work for the coming year, we will see a reduction in flood and coastal risk to around 843 homes and businesses in the region, as well as creating 30 hectares of new water dependent wildlife habitat. “The committee is a great example of true partnership working, with all local councils, the Environment Agency and Northumbrian Water pulling together on behalf of communities in the north east. “It has an essential role to play in developing and completing flood risk management projects which reflect local priorities and understand the needs of communities. “This is the third year of our six-year programme – so far we have already better protected 2,045 properties, bringing significant benefits to communities, properties, businesses and the environment, and this work will continue.” Most projects in the plan are carried out by the Environment Agency and local authorities, with some carried out by, or in partnership with Northumbrian Water. Anyone who would like a copy of the business plan and annual report can email: nrfcc@environment-agency.gov.uk
  20. Getting excited about the Tour of Britain coming to the county? Feeling inspired to go cycling - but don’t have a bike ? We’ve got the answer ! If you are over 18, live or work in Northumberland and would like to cycle more but don't have a bike - you can borrow one for just £25 a month. The Active Northumberland adult cycle loan scheme is a the perfect way to get back in the saddle without having the expense of buying a new bicycle. And with the school holidays underway, it’s a perfect way to enjoy Northumberland with the family. If after the month is up you would like to purchase the bike, you will be eligible to a discount which you can pay back over spread payments. Alternatively, you can purchase a refurbished bike through our cycling partner Watbike. Northumberland County Councillor, Cath Homer cabinet member with responsibility for leisure said: “ With less than a month to go until the Tour of Britain, the UK’s biggest cycle race passes through the county, excitement around the event and the sport is starting to build. “ Cycling is an activity that can be adapted for all ages and fitness levels. It is also growing in popularity. Many people are getting on a bike for the first time, and those who already cycle are cycling more often. We hope the arrival of the Tour and our bike loan scheme will inspire more people in Northumberland to cycle more often. ” Cycles can be loaned from Prudhoe Waterworld, Blyth Sports Centre or Concordia in Cramlington. To find out more log on to www.activenorthumberland.org.uk or call 01670 542222 . You will need proof of your address and photo ID to hire a bike. Watbike in Ashington also hire out bicycles for £25 for 10 days. Tel 01670 522111
  21. A new, FREE online VIP club has been launched for people who want to get the inside track on the Tour of Britain cycle race which will be speeding through Northumberland in just two weeks time. Members of the Tour of Britain VIP Club will be the first to find out the latest race news, entertainment and view interviews while also being in with a chance of winning some great prizes. Those joining the group will have the opportunity to enter into a prize draw to win a 3 night break for 4 in one of Kielder Water & Forest Park’s beautiful lodges and VIP passes for the start and finish of the Northumberland stage of the Tour will also be up for grabs. On Monday September 4, the Ovo Energy Tour of Britain, the UKs biggest and most prestigious cycle race will arrive in Northumberland The county is hosting an entire stage of the race including an exciting start in the heart of Kielder and a dramatic finish on the coast at Blyth. It will pass through 28 communities covering 211 kms along its route through the county. Northumberland County Council has worked closely with race organisers Sweetspot, start sponsors Northumbrian Water and finish sponsors Blyth Town Council to bring the race back to Northumberland. It was last here in 2015. Northumberland County Councillor, Cath Homer, cabinet member with responsibility for leisure said: “There is a great amount of local interest in the Tour of Britain. Our VIP group aims to bring residents together to share stories, highlight community events and activities and enable us to provide all the latest information about the race and the route.” To claim free membership to the Tour of Britain VIP Club, visit nlandvip.club and join this free facebook group.
  22. Flying the flag for Northumberland

    Hundreds of flags will soon be flying over the streets and roads of Northumberland as the countdown continues to Britain’s biggest cycle race. Spectators across the county will have the chance to see some of the world’s top riders during the Northumberland stage of the 2017 OVO Energy Tour of Britain on September 4 which starts in Kielder Water & Forest Park and finishes in Blyth. To guide both riders and spectators, over 100 flags will line sections of the route, which passes through 28 communities and is more than 200km long. As well as the flags there will be over 130 boards, 36 welcome banners and 12 national Tour of Britain banners installed. County Council Highways staff are busy installing the flags on lamp-posts in the county, with all flags expected to be up any day. Northumberland County Council has worked with start sponsors Northumbrian Water, finish sponsors Blyth Town Council and race organisers SweetSpot to bring the race to the county - and excitement is mounting with just over a fortnight to go. All of the top five teams in the current UCI WorldTour rankings – Quick-Step Floors; Team Sky; BMC Racing; Movistar Team and Orica Scott – will be taking part in the race. Northumberland County Councillor Richard Wearmouth, cabinet member for economic development, said: “With just days to go the excitement is really building and it’s great to see the infrastructure starting to appear along the race route.. “In 2015 the Tour of Britain gave a real boost to the local economy - to the tune of £2m - and we’re confident this year’s stage which is entirely in the county, will be great news for businesses in Northumberland. “With 115,000 people lining the route last time, many from outside the area, as well as live coverage of the whole stage on ITV4 it really is a fantastic opportunity for our communities to showcase everything that is great about this county.” David Hall, Head of Leisure, Strategy and Transformation at Northumbrian Water said: “We are counting down the days until the Tour of Britain comes to Northumberland and are busy readying Kielder Dam in preparation for the launch of Stage two. “We are proud to have such a prestigious event here in our county and to play our part in making it happen. It’s sure to be a fantastic day for all involved and something that will live long in the memory of those who get to see and experience it.” Councillor John Potts, Mayor of Blyth Town Council, said: “In 2015 when the cycle race came to Blyth the town was buzzing with excitement. Blyth Town Council is supporting the event again this year and hope the whole town gets involved in decorating the streets to show Blyth at its best. “The public will have great opportunities to see the cycle racers as they speed through the town and the last kilometre from Broadway to Waterloo Road where the race will finish will be truly exciting. “In addition, the velodrome, which will be situated at High Street car park, was very popular last time with children and adults alike. “This international event generates a huge amount of publicity which can only be of benefit to all of us. Come to Blyth to see the race.” Full Northumberland route details can be found at www.nlandtob.com
  23. Blue light service to go greener

    Solar panels are set to be installed on two of the county’s main community fire stations to make them more energy efficient. The project will generate significant day-to-day energy savings at West Hartford and Pegswood Stations with forecasts predicting income generation of more than £80,000 and energy savings of over £105,000 over the life of the scheme. The schemes will benefit from Feed in Tariff which is government backed for 20 years over the lifetime of the project as well as the direct energy savings from utilising Solar PV. Councillor Glen Sanderson, Cabinet member for Environment and Local Services, said: “We are always looking at innovative ways of saving money and generating new income streams. “These panels will save a significant amount of money over their lifetime, with the savings able to be reinvested in our communities.”
  24. Residents in Northumberland are being urged to be wary when approached by charity collectors following information that potential fraudsters have been calling at houses in Blyth. The warning comes from Northumberland County Council’s Trading Standards Service who say fake collectors prey on sympathy by asking people to make a charitable donation to a worthy cause and the official charity will never benefit from the money raised. Charities always need to be registered and have a license if they’re collecting in a public place. Anyone affected by this can check they’re authenticity by accessing the Charity Commission’s website at www.gov.uk/government/organisations/charity-commission If the charity is genuine, residents can check whether the collection is authorised. They can call the charity directly or look them up using a phone book or a website, but shouldn’t accept websites or numbers provided by a collector. If in doubt, tell the collector you’ll donate directly to the charity yourself. Residents will be able to donate through websites and at high street charity shops. Collectors would be expected to know about the organisation they are collecting for and a few questions regarding the charity may be able to help determine whether they are genuine or not. Councillor John Riddle, Cabinet member for Planning, Housing and Resilience said: “These fake collectors do this entirely for their own monetary benefit and the charities they claim to represent will not see any of the donations given. I would urge people to take precautionary steps to ensure that their hard earned money is going to the charities they wish it to.” David Sayer, Business Compliance and Public Safety Unit Manager, added: “We have received reports that bogus collectors have been attempting to collect money door to door. This underhand tactic is a form of fraud to make money for private individuals and we would welcome any information from the public with regard to this practice.” Anyone with concerns about collectors in their area can contact Northumbria Police on 101 or Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0345 404 0506.
  25. A much valued community funding scheme has been improved and relaunched by Northumberland County Council. One of the key improvements to the authority’s Community Chest Fund is a new grant aimed specifically at the under 18s. Under the new plans there will be a ‘Help For You’ scheme for young people. Grants of up to £200 will be available to help individuals under 18 in pursuing a particular ambition - whether it is sporting, musical or academic. Previous local and countywide elements of the community chest have been retained following a review and the authority is committing £375,300 this year to the fund. For local schemes, there will be a £5,000 upper grant limit with a maximum award of 75% of the cost of any proposal. These will be managed and allocated by Northumberland’s five local area councils. Each local area council will also have the flexibility to identify particular priority themes which are seen as particularly relevant to their communities. For the countywide element, the pot has been doubled to £60,000. There will be no upper grant limit, but the maximum grant award will be 75% of the project’s costs. Leader of Northumberland County Council, Peter Jackson said: “We are delighted to relaunch this much valued community funding scheme. We know that it has been of great benefit to communities across the county and wished to make sure that this benefit is enhanced in the future. “We have listened to views during a review and feel that we have made some very helpful changes. One of the most exciting improvements is that we have widened the appeal of the fund to the younger generation. We have introduced a grant specifically dedicated to individuals under 18s, called Help For You. This is aimed at assisting young people to pursue their ambitions which could be sporting, musical or academic. “We have also ensured that there is a consistent approach to assessing projects across the county, with the community chest budget managed and allocated locally by each area council and based broadly on the population living within that area.” The community chest fund has been in operation in Northumberland since 2009 and over its lifetime 1,450 awards totalling £2.6million have been made to voluntary and community groups to develop projects that enhance the environment, improve health and wellbeing and strengthen communities. Key features of the scheme are: A ‘Help For You’ scheme for young people; Community chest budgets managed and allocated by local area councils; The budget for each area council based on the population living in that area; Local area councils able to identify funding themes relevant to their communities; For local schemes, a £5,000 upper grant limit with a maximum award of 75% of the cost of any proposal; The countywide element of the fund doubled to £60,000, with no upper limit but the maximum grant award of 75% of the project’s costs, and Two funding rounds each year. The deadline for the first round of applications is scheduled for Friday 29 September and the second 12 January 2018. Find out all about the fund here.