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Durham

Durham County Council’s employee magazine

Employees thanked for award triumph. see page 3

Wedding belles

Proud mum conducts daughter’s marriage ceremony. see page 8

Cricket crazy?

Win tickets to Durham v Yorkshire T20 match. see page 12

April 2014

Council of the Year


welcome

George Garlick, Chief Executive

This month marks five years since the new unitary authority for County Durham was established. To be named Council of the Year at the Local Government Chronicle Awards is a fitting tribute to the hard work and dedication of everyone over the past few years. To gain such a prestigious national award recognises how we have successfully improved the way we work and the quality of services we provide for our residents, despite the huge changes we faced and the need to make significant savings. To also win this accolade when we were competing against the best councils across the country highlights how much we have achieved since the new authority was created and it is something that we all must be very proud of. So congratulations to everyone and thank you once again for your commitment to always delivering the best and ensuring the excellent reputation of our council. A new combined authority for the region has also been established this month. It will draw together the knowledge and expertise of seven north east councils and provide a more powerful voice to help deliver the area’s shared ambition for economic growth. More details on this can be found on page 10.

Lottery grant for First World War centenary project A new interactive website will map the story of County Durham and its people during the First World War. The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has awarded the council a £475,100 grant to develop the new site, Durham at War. The site will give people online access to archive, museum and archaeology collections relating to County Durham as it was between 1914 and 1918. It will also uncover new stories about local communities 100 years ago as volunteers will be able to submit information to help build up a clear picture of the county’s wartime experience. By displaying the information on a map it will be easier to visualise the impact of the war on Durham’s industrial towns, mining villages and the rural communities. The Durham at War site will also map centenary commemorative events and Replica tank outside the Miners’ Hall projects taking place in each at Murton, County Durham, 1918. locality, as organisers will be able to promote their activities on a modern map layer on the website. The County Record Office, Durham Light Infantry Museum and Archaeology Service will lead a major volunteer programme over the next four and a half years to coincide with the First World War centenary commemoration. Councillor Neil Foster, cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “Everyone with a family connection or interest in County Durham will be able to use this website to ensure that the wartime experiences of its citizens 100 years ago are discovered, shared and remembered.”

Local Government Chronicle online Council employees now have free access to the Local Government Chronicle online. To access the magazine, you must register within a council building by visiting www.lgcplus.com/register-now Then log in at www.lgcplus.com/sign-in If you experience any problems please contact Lynsey Smith on 03000 268 043.

Your magazine…your news

Do you have a story you would like to see included in the next edition of Buzz?

Just let us know by contacting: buzz@durham.gov.uk, call 03000 268 067 or write to Buzz, Internal Communications, Durham County Council, County Hall, Durham, DH1 5UF. 2

Cover: Thumbs up - staff celebrate winning Council of the Year award. Page 3


awards

Our achievements over the last year

Thank-you… Employees and councillors were thanked this month for helping make the authority the best in the country. Chairman Pauline Charlton formally presented the Council of the Year trophy to leader Simon Henig at a meeting of the full council, following the authority winning the top honour at the Local Government Chronicle (LGC) Awards last month. Councillor Charlton said: “I would like to thank all councillors and staff for their hard work and doing the best they can for residents and local communities.” In awarding the accolade to Durham, LGC judges praised the authority’s work in supporting businesses, transferring community assets to voluntary and other groups, engaging with staff and the public, and contributing to the development of the region. Councillor Henig said: “I am delighted to accept the prize on behalf of our staff, councillors and partners. “This is probably the most prestigious

award in local government and is testimony to the hard work of so many people. “It really puts a seal on a successful first five years as a unitary authority and it’s all been achieved despite huge funding cuts.

l Delivering 2013 Durham’s Year of Culture, including an Ashes test, the Lindisfarne Gospels exhibition and Lumiere. l Progressing the County Durham Plan to one of the most advanced stages in the country. l Starting work on Hitachi factory in Newton Aycliffe and Freeman’s Reach in Durham City. l Progressing the transfer of the council’s housing stock. l Staging one of the largest ever participatory budgeting exercises with communities in the country. l Improving educational attainment for 11 years in a row. l Leading efforts to establish a combined authority for the North East. l Working with communities to transfer over 100 buildings into community ownership.

”Thanks and congratulations to everyone, this award is for you all.” The council was also highly commended in the efficiency category for its work on waste management, recycling and rubbish collection, and was finalist in the energy efficiency category.

Logo online

You can download the LGC Council of the Year logo to add to your emails and other communications from the intranet. This can be found on the council logos page in the corporate communications section.

l Introducing alternate weekly collections, improving recycling and customer satisfaction rates and saving £5 million a year on our waste management costs. l Meeting our challenging target of reducing carbon emissions by 40 per cent by 2020 - six years ahead of schedule.

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leisure

Explore the past Families are being given the chance to find out more about the history of County Durham at a family fun day. Durham County Record Office is holding the free event at County Hall on Friday, 30 May, from 9.30am to 12.30pm. Visitors can enjoy a range of photography-themed activities, including a chance to make a pinhole camera and try their hand at ‘tinting’, which is the process of adding colour to black and white images. There will also be the opportunity to tour the strongrooms, where archive documents are stored. Pre-school children can join in as there will be old-fashioned toys to play with and clothes from by-gone times to try on. No booking required, however, children should be accompanied by a parent/carer at all times. For more information call 03000 267 626 or email record.office@durham.gov.uk

Killhope opens for business Killhope: the North of England Lead Mining Museum will re-open this month after its winter break. The multi-award winning venue will open its doors on Friday, 18 April with new displays and a packed programme of activities and events planned for the year ahead. This spring, visitors can enjoy seasonal themed activities, including spar box workshops, stargazing, kid’s geology sessions and den building.

Change to museum and art gallery times The DLI Museum and Durham Art Gallery will now open to the general public from 10.30am to 4pm, Wednesday to Sunday. On Mondays and Tuesdays, the museum will be open only to school parties, allowing staff to dedicate their time to delivering the DLI’s new First World War primary and secondary education programme.

advantage of having greater use of the museum and the full attention of our staff.” The DLI Museum and Durham Art Gallery will continue to open to the public on Bank Holiday Mondays and on Tuesday during school holidays and half-term breaks throughout the year.

Gillian Robinson, manager of the DLI, said: “Our visitor numbers show that Mondays and Tuesdays are our quietest days so we have decided to devote those days to catering for school parties.

The museum has recently unveiled three new exhibitions – a selection of paintings by Theodore Major, on loan from Durham University, The Last Full Measure of Devotion by Kate Wilson and new work by County Durham artist Anthony Wilson.

“Schools will still be welcome to visit throughout the week but on Mondays and Tuesdays there will be the added

For more information, call 03000 266 590, email dli@durham.gov.uk or visit www.dlidurham.org.uk

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For more information, call 01388 537 505 or email info@killhope.org.uk

Chairman’s charity golf day Keen golfers are being invited to swing into action for charity. The 2014 Chairman’s Golf Day will take place on Friday, 12 September at Ramside Hall Hotel, Durham. The cost is £160 per team of four. There is also the opportunity to sponsor a hole. For more information, contact Beryl Anderson on 03000 264 602 or email beryl.anderson@durham.gov.uk


news

Children’s Services are changing The way the council delivers services to families is changing.

Views sought on council services

From April, if parents or young people need help or support, or if anyone needs to raise concerns about a child’s welfare, they just need to call one number.

Community-spirited people across County Durham are being asked for their ideas on how the council can provide services.

Called First Contact, the new name reflects the council’s commitment to giving families and children the help and support they need quickly and effectively.

In response to continuing budget reductions, the council is inviting community groups, voluntary organisations and businesses to consider how they can get more involved in running services, such as leisure centres, libraries, play areas, household waste recycling centres, museums and theatres.

The council is working closely with agencies, such as the NHS, police, One Point service and social care services, to make sure appropriate support, advice and assistance is offered.

Simon Henig, leader of the council, said: “I want to build on the very strong message that we’ve had from the public that they want us to involve them further in developing a way forward through the challenges we face.

Carole Payne, head of children’s services, said: “We want to offer help earlier, before families get to the point they need specialist services. “We have worked to reduce the amount of paperwork and simplify our systems so we only have one assessment process with all agencies working together to provide effective early help.”

“Local groups, local councils and volunteers have made real successes of taking on assets and delivering a service to the public. So I want to invite our communities, our partners in the voluntary sector and town and parish councils to work with us over the coming months to develop creative ideas to achieve as much as possible with our reduced resources.” Communities have already successfully worked with the council to maintain and improve services, such as the transfers of Deerness and Coxhoe leisure centres into local ownership, and working with local groups, councillors and Durham Area Action Partnership to launch a major restoration project at Wharton Park in Durham. The council has made £120 million of savings to date but is now looking at how some frontline services can be delivered differently, as the authority needs to save a further £100 million by 2017. No firm plans have been agreed. At this stage the council is only looking for ideas that can be considered over the coming years as it seeks to tackle the ongoing financial challenges. Employees will be consulted when proposals are being developed, however, if anyone has ideas before this they can email them to open.doors@durham.gov.uk

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green living

Stride out during Walk to Work Week Take the walking challenge and stride out during Walk to Work

12 – 16 May

Living Streets’ annual workplace campaign is a fun way to have some healthy competition between colleagues, encourage greater physical activity and gain the benefits of walking during the working day.

l count all your walking, whether it’s to work, at lunch or for a meeting l get competitive with your colleagues and take part in individual and team activities l raise money for your favourite charity.

During the week you can use the campaign’s website to: l log your walks to see how they add up to burn calories and save carbon dioxide l view live workplace and team totalisers and leaderboards to spur you on

Sign up now and download our free event toolkit at www.walktoworkweek.org.uk

Residents across County Durham are being reminded to dispose of their household waste using the correct bins. The six-month campaign takes place from April and will encourage people to ‘Bin it right’ and remind residents of what items go where. Stickers will be placed on recycling bins in key areas where residents aren’t recycling their waste correctly and leaflets will be distributed to all households between May and June. Recycling assistants will also be on hand carrying out home visits to explain the recycling process in known contamination hotspots. Posters will be displayed in public buildings, including libraries and Customer Access Points. The education campaign will encourage residents to recycle more by helping them to better understand what items can and cannot be recycled. To check what items go in which bin, visit www.durham.gov.uk/whatgoeswhere or call 03000 26 1000.

tins, cans & aerosols

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plastic bottles & tubs

paper, cardboard & cartons

Clean the Carrs

Fed up with seeing litter? Then help the Countryside team to tackle unsightly rubbish dropped or blown into Ferryhill Carrs Local Nature Reserve. It’s just one of the many events being held as part of the council’s Big Spring Clean campaign and will take place on Sunday, 27 April, between 10am and noon. Meet at Duncombe Cemetery car park, Cleves Avenue, then walk into the site (Postcode: DL17 8BN; Grid Reference: NZ301322). For more information contact the Countryside Service on 03000 264 589 or visit Durham Countryside Volunteers on Facebook. For more information about the Big Spring Clean visit www.litterfreedurham.org


awards

Top award for Park and Ride Durham City’s Park and Ride has been hailed as the best in the country after scooping a national award.

Members of staff recognised for their work this month include: l Belinda Snow, education and enforcement manager l Gary Parsonage, neighbourhood warden l James Simmons, neighbourhood warden l Lyndsey Cartwright, neighbourhood warden l Catherine Cullen, neighbourhood warden l Julie Fletcher, pest control officer l James Sheridan, gardener l Paul Cook, gardener l Ian McDonald, gardener l David Gillett - clean and green team leader

Teams:

l Drainage and Coastal Protection team l Flooding Investigations and Flooding Prevention team l Dene Bank Primary School work carried out by council and Durham City Homes employees: Gordon Slater, Steve Lyons, Kevin Fenwick, Chris Jefferson, Les Todd, Jonathon Norman, Kelvin Briggs, William Richardson, William Franks, Lee Emery, Aidan Layton, Dave Chatterton, Fred Adamson, Stuart Todd, Roy Shield, Lee Huntley, Chris Chatterton and Brian Neal.

The service won Best Car Park Operation in the British Parking Awards, which highlights the best in parking management, design and innovation. Durham Park and Ride, which is run by the council in partnership with NSL, has sites at Belmont, Howlands and Sniperley. Across the three sites it provides more than 1,200 parking spaces as well as electric charging points and secure cycle stores. For more information on Park and Ride, visit www.durham.gov.uk/parkandride

National honour for County Durham museum

A County Durham museum is once again in the running for a national tourism award.

Killhope: the North of England Lead Mining Museum has been named as one of five finalists in the Sustainable Tourism category at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2014. The honour recognises tourism businesses that demonstrate innovation and excellence in their commitment to sustainability. Mike Boase, museum manager, said: “We are thrilled to have been chosen as finalist for such a significant national award. Sustainability is extremely important to us and we make every effort to ensure our day-to-day activities preserve and conserve our natural environment.” All finalists receive a gold, silver, bronze of highly commended award, which will be presented at a ceremony in May.

For further information on Great Staff, Great Stuff visit the intranet.

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news Lesley O’Dell with daughter Louise and son-in-law Glyn.

Angling project helps youngsters A retired police officer is angling to keep youngsters out of trouble with a new fishing project.

Proud moment for mother-of-the-bride A council worker enjoyed the proudest moment of her career when she conducted her daughter’s marriage ceremony. Superintendent registrar Lesley O’Dell presided over the wedding of Louise and Glyn Wensley on Saturday, 15 March in The Park Head Hotel, Bishop Auckland. Lesley, who works in Bishop Auckland and has been a registrar for 33 years, has carried out thousands of ceremonies and registrations over the years but said it was the proudest day of her career. “I have always thought that being a part of any couple’s marriage

celebration is a privilege,” said Lesley. “But when Louise and Glyn asked me to conduct their marriage it was the greatest honour they could bestow on me. “The ceremony was very emotional and to finish the service I wrote a special poem to mark the occasion.” Lesley, who wore her council uniform for the ceremony, added: “It somehow would not have felt official if I had worn my wedding outfit so I changed for the service. But once the newlyweds had left the ceremony rooms I changed and was back to being mother-of-the-bride and enjoying the rest of the day with Louise, Glyn and our families.”

Fundraising helps foodbank Three Durham City Homes apprentices have been raising money to help people in need. Beth Heslington, Bethany Martin and Laura Hornsby held a Sweet and Savoury event to collect funds for Durham Foodbank during National Apprenticeship Week, at the beginning of March. The trio raised £206 from their sale of tasty treats and donated this and a box of food given by staff to the organisation. For more information on Durham Foodbank visit www.durham.foodbank.org.uk L-R:Cllr Neil Foster, apprentice Laura Hornsby, Durham Foodbank project manager Bev Anderson and Involvement team leader and apprentice mentor Jean Steel.

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Alan Lunn, who works as a stagedoor keeper at Gala Theatre and was a police officer for 25 years before retiring in 2009, is spending his spare time supporting Somet Fishy, a sea angling scheme for 12 to 16-year-olds who are in danger of getting into trouble in east Durham. The ten-week diversionary programme, which is the idea of his friend and serving police constable Kevin Woodcock, involves classroom-based lessons on topics such as dishonesty, violence and anti-social behaviour. Those taking part in these sessions are rewarded by being taught about sea angling and then taken out by Alan and other police officers and street wardens to try out their new skills along the Durham coastline.

Alan (pictured above) said: “Giving young people an interest in something new helps keep those who are on the fringes of the justice system out of trouble. “We hope this project will continue as it boosts youngsters’ confidence and social skills, and is fostering better relationships with them and the police. The initiative is being supported by the Educate, Divert and Develop Young People (EDDY) project, Durham County Council and Durham Constabulary.


news Local Produce Champion award recipients at the Taste Durham ceremony.

Taste Durham scheme has right ingredients Tourism inspectors have once again hailed County Durham’s high quality of food and drink, with more businesses than ever getting top marks.

Produce Champion, underlining their commitment to sourcing from surrounding areas, something valued by visitors and locals alike.

A record number of 63 establishments took part in this year’s Taste Durham awards, with Byron Restaurant at Seaham Hall and Dowfold House in the Durham Dales scoring so highly they were ranked in the top three per cent in the country.

Melanie Sensicle, Visit County Durham’s chief executive, said: “We understand that consumers want independent and trusted information about where to eat, which is exactly what the Taste Durham mark can provide.

The latest evaluations by national assessors Quality in Tourism also awarded 26 businesses the Highest Quality Assured status, the largest ever number. There were also 28 other businesses awarded Local

Broadband boost

Thousands of rural homes and businesses in County Durham and Tees Valley are to benefit from high-speed fibre broadband thanks to a government funding boost. More than £1 million via an application under the Rural Community Broadband Fund is to be invested in extending fibre broadband coverage in the Durham and Tees Valley areas, following the success of a collaborative bid between Durham County Council and the Tees Valley councils. The money, along with an additional investment of £300,000 from project partner BT, will mean the programme will extend the reach of next generation fibre broadband to a further 3,500 homes and businesses.

“The aim of the scheme is to showcase local eateries that provide a quality dining experience from cafés to fine dining restaurants across Durham.” For more information about Taste Durham establishments, visit www.thisisdurham.co.uk

Project reaches award finals A project which helps more people get online has received regional recognition. The Time to Get Online programme was a finalist in the ‘I Made a Difference’ Award, which celebrates people and groups who help with basic online skills. The initiative is a partnership between the council and Dale & Valley Homes, Derwentside Homes, Durham City Homes, East Durham Homes and Teesdale Housing Association. The programme, which has seen a series of workshops take place across the county, helps to raise awareness of the benefits of getting online and increasing digital skills.

Managed as part of the Digital Durham programme, the additional resource complements the Broadband Delivery UK roll out, and will help achieve fibre coverage across 98 per cent of County Durham. Further funding opportunities will be explored with the aim of extending coverage to every home, business and community in the county. Digital inclusion co-ordinator Debbie Howe.

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news

Pension changes reminder Changes to the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) were introduced on Tuesday, 1 April. As part of these changes, an employee’s pension will be based on a career average for the benefits built up from 1 April 2014, rather than a final salary pension. Employees who are currently paying into the LGPS have been automatically transferred onto the new scheme. The average cost for employees remains 6.5 per cent of their monthly pay, however, from April contributions for anyone earning more than £43,000 a year will increase.

Part-time staff could also pay less as the contributions are now based on actual part-time pay instead of the full-time equivalent pay, which was previously the case. In the new scheme, payments for all overtime or any additional hours worked has also become pensionable. This could affect a person’s contribution rate which is based on the annual rate of contractual pay plus an estimate of pay for overtime, or additional hours using information from the previous year. Contribution rates will be assessed each year and also when an employee changes their working

New appointment for internal audit Paul Bradley has been appointed as chief internal auditor and corporate fraud manager for the council. Paul will be responsible for the management and development of the authority’s internal audit plan, risk management strategy and the work of the Corporate Fraud team. Paul has worked in local government for 19 years and joins the authority after leaving his previous role as group accountant with Gateshead Council, which he held for three years. He said: “I’m looking forward to working with everyone and I’m excited about taking on my new role and the many challenges ahead of me.”

On the road

A new fleet of pool cars are now available to use at main council sites.

Anyone who needs to drive as part of their job should use these vehicles when possible to help the 1 council make big savings. 2 More than 850

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members of staff signed up to

the scheme during the roadshows. But if you weren’t able to attend one of these events you can still register online. You will also need to email a copy of both parts of your licence to joanne.mitchell@durham.gov.uk

Once your account is activated, all you will then need to do is to book online the time you require the vehicle, and then collect a car located near you.

To sign up, visit the Pool Car pages on the intranet.

hours or moves to a job on a different rate of pay. Once all the changes to the scheme have been confirmed, the council’s pension fund will write to all members giving full details. For more information, visit www.lgps2014.org or contact the Pensions team at pensions@durham.gov.uk or call 03000 264 322. Your contribution rate in the new LGPS can be found on your April payslip. If you think this is wrong contact HR Operations at HRoperations@durham.gov.uk or call 03000 267 237.

Combined authority established The North East Combined Authority has been established. The new body, made up of Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Sunderland councils, was introduced on Tuesday, 15 April. The combined authority will be chaired by leader of Durham County Council Simon Henig, and Councillor Mick Henry of Gateshead Council and Norma Redfearn, mayor of North Tyneside, will be vice chairs. It will help deliver a more coordinated approach to important issues affecting the whole region, such as transport, skills and investment. It will not replace individual councils. For further information visit www.northeastca.gov.uk


close-up In each edition of Buzz we profile a team or member of staff, highlighting the important work they do for the council. This month it’s the turn of the Construction Services team.

Whether it’s carrying out a multi-million pound scheme to extend a school, refurbishing a council library or building new premises, it’s all part of the job for the Construction Services team. “We pride ourselves on providing a quality product at a competitive price,” explained construction services manager Ian Wilson. “We have a broad range of expertise, and the team acts as a one-stop shop for any construction project, offering a full service from design through to completion.” The in-house team delivers services such as brick and block laying, decorating, roofing and mechanical and electrical work – all of which allows the council to deliver major bespoke construction projects. “We undertake around 243 construction projects each year,” said Ian. “This equates to us starting one new project every working day and these can range from £50,000 schemes to those worth more than £9 million.” If juggling this volume of work isn’t already an impressive feat, the team also needs to secure enough work for the year ahead while competing with the private construction market. “To remain viable we need a turnover of £1 million each month and to achieve this at the same time as meeting our key aim of providing the best value to clients and stakeholders,” added Ian.

from the Considerate Constructor’s Scheme (CCS) for extension work at Ouston Primary School. Once completed, the project will see the merger of the infant and junior schools, and create space for an additional 60 pupils.

“The service prides itself on keeping its promises and always endeavours to complete projects to a high standard, on time, within budget and safely, and knowing our customers are pleased with the work we do is always rewarding.” The Construction Services team, overseen by Ian, is one of six service areas managed by Direct Services’ building and facilities maintenance manager Paul Burr. Its main customers include schools, community centres, public buildings and leisure centres “We all get a lot of satisfaction from doing a job well, but it’s always very rewarding carrying out work that improves the communities where we live, work and spend our leisure time,” said Ian. The team’s success in managing large-scale community projects was recognised last year when Durham Crematorium’s improvement scheme was shortlisted for Construction Excellence Project of the Year. The £2.5 million initiative was completed without any impact on the 2,000 cremations that took place during the work. Recently the team also reached the landmark 100 Registered Site Status

Construction services manager Ian Wilson, headteacher Louise Lavelle and deputy headteacher Sue Purvis from Ouston Primary School.

This accreditation recognises the commitment and professionalism of the Construction Service, and highlights how the team goes above and beyond the necessary standards of construction work. “I am extremely proud of the team’s achievements and I’m sure this year will be equally successful as we work together to make a difference to our communities,” concluded Ian. “And despite the current economic climate, the team has a lot to look forward to, particularly the projects which are yet to start, including two further Gypsy Roma Traveller sites, Langley Park Primary School and Phase 2 of Green Lane offices. For more information on Construction Services contact Ian on 03000 269 375 or email ian.wilson2@durham.gov.uk

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downtime

Festival offers a feast of family fun

There will be something to tickle everyone’s tastebuds when an annual food festival takes place this month.

Live cookery demonstrations by the Sunday Brunch presenter Simon Rimmer are among the many highlights of this year’s Bishop Auckland Food Festival, which takes place in the Market Place, Town Hall and the grounds of Auckland Castle on Saturday, 26 and Sunday, 27 April.

The free event showcases the best in home-grown and handmade produce from County Durham and the wider region, with more than 160 handpicked producers.

This year’s festival also promises to be fun for all the family, with more family entertainment and children’s activities, including the launch of the event’s first Kids’ Club, a visit by CBBC star Stefan Gates, edible story sessions with CBeebies presenter Katy Ashworth and street entertainment.

Have a blast…

Cricket fans will be bowled over by the fast paced, big hitting, all-round entertainment that will be on show when the NatWest T20 Blast season gets underway.

Audiences will have the chance to watch some of the world’s best cricketers live at the Emirates Durham International Cricket Ground this summer. Tickets to see the Durham Jets in action cost £15 for adults and £5 for juniors. For more information on fixtures and tickets visit www.durhamccc.co.uk

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Win!

Win !

Durham County Cricket Club is offering two lucky winners the chance to win a family ticket (two adults and two children) to Durham v Yorkshire T20 match on Friday, 11 July.

To win, email the answer to the question below to buzz@durham.gov.uk stating ‘T20’ in the subject box. Alternatively post to Internal Communications at the address listed on the bottom of page 3.

Durham Gin will be among one of the many new products on sale at this year’s event.

The craft distillery, which produced its first batch of gin last month, will be demonstrating how to make gin and offering people the chance to try a Durham Gin Martini.

Award-winning Grasmere Gingerbread will also be making its first appearance at the festival, offering all things ginger, from gingerbread and lip balm to popcorn and Turkish delight.

And County Durham company Wellybix will be bringing its hand-baked, healthy dog treats to the festival so that even four-legged visitors won’t be left out. The event is organised by Durham County Council in partnership with the Auckland Castle Trust and Bishop Auckland Town Council. For more information visit www.bishopaucklandfood festival.co.uk

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Saturday 17 May, 11am-3pm Seaham Hall Beach car park

Free family event, including rockpool ramble with expert guide at 11.15am.

Geology and Heritage walk around Seaham at 12.30pm; Story telling tales from Captain Raggy Beard, and much more.

For more information call 03000 268 131 or visit www.durhamheritagecoast.org

What colour is the new Durham Jets Twenty20 kit?

Argos vouchers: Jon Hogarth, Traffic section; Mark Spensley, Youth offending team; Tim Head, Revenues and Benefits.

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Buzz april 2014