Page 1

Autumn 2020


Coronavirus Support

Communities working together through the pandemic Investing in County Durham

Creating more and better jobs for our county Durham Book Festival online

Bestselling authors, workshops and more


to the autumn edition of Durham County News I’m pleased to welcome you to Durham County News after a short break in publication due to the coronavirus pandemic. Councillor Simon Henig, These are certainly challenging times and, in this edition, you can read about the steps we have taken Leader of the Council to keep essential services going during the lockdown and to reopen our venues safely as restrictions ease. Whether that be supporting those in need, keeping our parks safe and tidy, maintaining bin collections or moving events online – we have adapted quickly, redeploying staff where necessary, to ensure these important services continue. You can also find out about a range of schemes to provide assistance, as well as the help we have given to businesses and jobseekers. Despite the challenges, we have worked with our partners to keep key investment projects on track, such as Integra 61, NETPark, Milburngate, Jade Business Park and Forrest Park, Newton Aycliffe. You can read about the important role these sites will play in our county’s economic recovery and the creation and safeguarding of jobs, which are now more important than ever. Tourism also has a major part to play and we have suggestions for days out and short breaks where you can support local attractions, shops and hospitality businesses. And most importantly, there is information about staying safe and well, as it is vital we continue to take care of ourselves and others.

Simon Henig


Pages 18-19 Wellbeing and support

Pages 4-7 News

Page 28 Green living

Page 14 Amazing days and amazing stays Pages 8-11 Investment

Page 15 Northern Saints Trails

Pages 24-25 Area Action Partnerships

Page 20 Coronavirus advice

Pages 30-31 What’s on this autumn

Pages 21-22 Health services

Pages 12-13 Employment

Pages 16-17 Durham Book Festival

Front cover: Ruth Smedley from King’s Church Durham, which has been working with Durham Area Action Partnership to provide support during the coronavirus pandemic.

If you live in the Durham County Council area and haven’t received a copy of Durham County News at your home address, please contact us. To contact the editorial team, call 03000 268 059 or email durhamcountynews@durham.gov.uk


Pages 26-27 Towns and villages

Back page Supporting communities

Look out for extra content… You can now view extra content wherever you see this icon by going to www.durham.gov.uk/dcn Durham County News is written and designed by Durham County Council, printed by Acorn Web Offset Ltd and distributed by Smart Distribution Services Ltd and Royal Mail. It costs 16p a copy. When you have finished with this magazine, please recycle it.

Out and about

Coast along for better health A trip to the seaside is a great way to blow the cobwebs away – and give yourself a health boost too. Research has found that taking a walk along the coast can help improve our mental and physical wellbeing, so a visit to Durham’s Heritage Coast could be just what the doctor ordered. With beautiful beaches, dramatic clifftop views and plenty of places to explore, our coastline has lots to offer visitors.

Crimdon has always been a popular spot for day trips, with its breathtaking views and a sandy beach to walk along but, please remember to keep to the tracks to protect both the sand dunes and the colony of rare little terns who return every year from Africa.

For walkers, the England Coast Path offers a stunning coastal route with exhilarating views of unique magnesian limestone cliffs. You may even spot skylarks, orchids and the Durham Argus butterfly. Details of shorter circular coastal walks are available online. For a more leisurely outing, visit Seaham Marina with its cafés and shops and heritage centre. The marina also boasts a water sports centre and facilities for disabled visitors are provided too. Seaham itself has an abundance of shops, cafés and restaurants to enjoy. A little further down the coast, Nose’s Point at Dawdon is a great picnic spot and has paths suitable for wheelchairs and buggies. Or you may want to explore Easington Local Nature Reserve at the bottom of Seaside Lane, where there are also beautiful sea views, or follow the waymarked trails into the dramatic wooded gorge at nearby Castle Eden Dene National Nature Reserve.

Find out more at www.durhamheritagecoast.org or call 03000 268 131. Search ‘Durham Heritage Coast’ on Facebook for up-to-date information on beach cleans and events.



Contact us:

New way to use council services New technology is helping us to tackle the challenges posed by coronavirus. Visit our website to use online services 24 hours a day 7 days a week www.durham.gov.uk/ doitonline If you need to phone us, call

Customer Services

03000 26 0000 8.30am-5pm (Monday-Thursday) 8.30am-4.30pm (Friday) Out of hours emergency service available. For social care and independent living enquiries or adult and children’s welfare issues: Social Care Direct/Children’s First Contact Service

03000 26 79 79


With more services being delivered virtually, we’ve expanded the ways in which people can get in touch. › Our online web chat service means it's now quicker and easier to make an enquiry. Customer service staff can provide immediate help with a range of issues such as garden waste, refuse and recycling, pest control, benefits and council tax, housing solutions and coronavirus support. › More than 120 of our services are available online, so you can contact us when it’s convenient to you, including outside of normal office hours. Fifty-five per cent of antisocial behaviour reports and 70 per cent of noise complaints are now made online. › Voice Recognition Software in our contact centre is automatically redirecting telephone enquiries to the correct department, improving call answer times by 10 seconds, and SMS messaging is being used to inform people of issues such as waste collection delays and road closures in their area. Access our web chat and online services at www.durham.gov.uk

@DurhamCouncil /durhamcouncil linkedin.com/company/ durham-county-council /DurhamCouncil /durham_county_council Please ask us if you would like this document summarised in another language or format. Braille


Large print

durhamcountynews@durham.gov.uk 03000 268 059


Applying for a school place for next year Applications for primary and secondary school places are now open. Apply online and find out more at www.durham.gov.uk/ schooladmissions or call 03000 265 896 for paper applications. Applications close at midnight on 31 October 2020 (secondary) and 15 January 2021 (primary).


Green light for bus station plans Durham City’s outdated bus station is to be replaced with a modern and spacious new facility. Work is due to begin at the site in North Road this autumn after plans were approved last month. Investment in the new station is part of the council’s plans to support the county in its economic recovery following the coronavirus pandemic. The new bus station will feature improved facilities, including additional toilets, changing facilities, increased seating and a light and spacious waiting area. It will also provide increased visibility and safety for buses entering and leaving the station and help to support businesses by improving transport links and providing a positive first impression for visitors. The existing bus station will be demolished early next year, and during the construction period, services will be moved on-street with stop locations and timetables advertised in advance. The new bus station is due to be completed and open to the public by Summer 2022. To find more about the important role investment will play in the county’s recovery see pages 8 to 11.

A new way to see Seaham Work has begun on a new smartphone app which will showcase the sites and stories of Seaham.

Bringing history to life online Technology is set to bring local history to life for school pupils during a programme of Remembrance. The Durham Light Infantry (DLI) Collection’s new Remembrance programme for schools will include two new activities delivered via video link. Actor Martin Bloomfield, will play ‘Tommy’ Private Hugh McDonald in an online Remembrance assembly and workshop, looking at why and how we remember and exploring the lives and stories of real DLI soldiers. Combining digital resources, real objects and hands-on activities such as creative writing and art projects, students will learn about the importance of Remembrance Day as part of the national anniversary.

Residents and representatives from local history organisations are helping to develop the app, which will allow users to explore the history of the town through a range of walking trails. The project is part of the Seaham Townscape Heritage Project, a £1.6m scheme supported by funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund and aimed at enhancing Seaham’s historic town centre. The app, which launches later this year, will be free for both Android and Apple devices. For more information, visit https://www.durham.gov.uk/seahamtownscape



Warm Homes Fund Do you have a solid fuel boiler or electric storage heaters in your home? If so, you could qualify for the Warm Homes Fund: ✔ If you use solid fuel to heat your home ✔ Have no more than one radiator

Preventing evictions and homelessness

✔ If you have electric storage heaters

Landlords, are you thinking of serving notice to your tenants?

✔ Or are in receipt of certain benefits or have a long-term illness or disability

If so, please Stop B4 You Serve as we may be able to help with:

Working with EON Energy Installations Service Limited and 0800 Repairs, Durham County Council is providing grants to make homes warmer and more energy efficient.

› Non-payment of rent (COVID-19 and non COVID-19 related rent arrears) › Assistance with benefit applications

✔ Live within 23 metres of the gas mains ✔ Have a total household income less than £26,000

For more information call 03000 260 000 or 0808 169 7127 or email warmhomes@durham.gov.uk

› Provide mediation services between landlords and tenants › Help with other tenancy related issues

We recognise that eviction is often the last resort and can be a costly and lengthy process, so Stop B4 You Serve. Contact our free specialist service for support. For further information, call 03000 260 260, email PRSLettings@durham.gov.uk or visit www.durham.gov.uk/preventeviction

Checking your benefit entitlement Our Welfare Rights Team have been busy helping elderly residents ensure they are receiving the benefits they are entitled to. Over the summer, the team helped residents aged 75 and over check their entitlement to Pension Credit and provided help to claim where appropriate, so they would continue to be eligible for a free TV licence when the Government funding ended in August. In the first quarter of 2020/21 the Campaign team raised £489,766.61 in unclaimed benefit. During this period they have also assisted 119 residents within the County with advice and support. Being in receipt of Pension Credit brings other benefits too - you could get £140 off your electricity bill this winter under the Warm Home Discount Scheme. Applications for the scheme must be submitted to your utility supplier. Most utility suppliers are part of the Warm Homes Scheme. To check your benefit entitlement or for advice, contact the Welfare Rights Team on 03000 268 968.



Coronavirus - advice and support Coronavirus is a rapidly evolving situation – keep up-to-date with developments by reading the latest Government guidance at www.gov.uk/coronavirus Find NHS information at www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19 You can also find information about changes to council services on our website at www.durham.gov.uk/coronavirus

Easier access to affordable savings and loans A new credit union branch and a mobile app will help support people in creating their own financial safety net.

New Elvet Bridge closure Drivers are being encouraged to plan their journeys as critical works take place on one of Durham City Centre's bridges. New Elvet Bridge closed to traffic and pedestrians in July. It will remain closed for up to 14 months, while essential repairs are carried out to make the bridge structurally sound. Drivers are asked to plan their journeys in advance to avoid peak travel times, leave additional time for their journeys, and where possible to consider alternative routes and alternative forms of transport, such as public transport or park and ride services. View diversions and see the latest live traffic conditions at http://www.durham.gov.uk/newelvet

NEFirst Credit Union’s affordable and accessible savings and loan accounts offer an alternative to high cost lenders and loan sharks who prey on the most vulnerable in our society. From this month, the union’s services will be even easier to access, as it opens a new branch on Stanley’s High Street, and launches a new mobile app. The mobile app will allow people to join the credit union and members will be able to make withdrawals and transfers and access their internet banking and transaction history round the clock. Find out more at https://nefirstcu.co.uk/how-to-join or telephone 0330 055 3666.

Apply for employment and business funding Do you have a project that focusses on supporting people into employment, business start-up ideas, development of business spaces or helping businesses to grow? Our Community Led Local Development programme can provide support through the European Social Investment Funds. The grant can be used to support initiatives which focus on long term unemployed people, helping small and medium size businesses to develop, encouraging people to start their own business or developing underutilised space for business use. Projects must be completed by 31 December 2021. For further information visit www.durham.gov.uk/clld



Creating more and better jobs We’re working with our partners to safeguard jobs and create new employment opportunities for County Durham residents. Over the next decade, we’re expecting to see £3.4 billion of investment in the county, resulting in the creation of up to 30,000 new jobs by 2035. Here, we look at some of the strategic investment sites in the county where many of the jobs will be created.

ads Aykley He

0 up to 4,00


£100 million invested in Project Genesis regenerating the former steel works area in Consett.


Aykley Heads A proposed new business park that will deliver up to 4,000 jobs in phases 1 and 2 and has attracted £6 million of government funding.

te Milburnga


0 jo up to 1,00


NORTH PENNINES AONB Middletonin-Teesdale


The Riverwalk – a mixture of retail, leisure and student accommodation.


Raby Castle Barnard Castle

Over £240 million invested on Durham’s riverside including:

Milburngate – a mixed use development which will include office, retail, leisure, residential and hotel space.


Raby Castle, Gardens and Park: £13 million development plans to significantly expand the visitor attraction bringing jobs, economic benefit and restoring historic buildings.

£90 million of investment by GlaxoSmithKline into a new manufacturing facility in Barnard Castle.

Integra 61 - £189 million development next to A1(M). 1,000 permanent jobs already announced by Amazon. Beamish Museum £17 million Remaking Beamish project.

, Integra 61

£200 million Jade Business Park Manufacturing and distribution opportunities on a fully serviced site next to A19 near Seaham. Phase 1 of work is complete and the first tenant has started operations.

am Jade, Seah

0 jobs

up to 2,50


0 jobs

up to 3,70

Beamish Stanley

Chester le Street

Seaham A19



Peterlee A1(M) Crook


Bishop Auckland A688

£120 million Durham Gate development near Spennymoor and £10 million in surrounding developments. New £13 million railway station at Horden opened June 2020.


Newton Aycliffe


wton Aycli

rk, Ne Forrest Pa

0 jobs

up to 3,28

Over £5 million expansion of NETPark at Sedgefield - home to the North East’s only science and technology park.

Bishop Auckland - over £210 million investment into the town, castle and surrounding area by The Auckland Project and the county council.

Forrest Park next to A1(M) at Newton Aycliffe - £170 million expansion of Aycliffe Business Park.

hase 3

NETPark, P

0 jobs

up to 1,40



Investing in our future Attracting investment and strengthening our £955 million visitor economy have long been priorities for the council. At a time when safeguarding and creating jobs is more important than ever, ambitious public and private sector investment projects across the county are becoming a reality. Together with our world-class tourism offer and improvements to our transport infrastructure, these key employment sites will play a crucial role in County Durham’s recovery from the impact of coronavirus. They also demonstrate the county is open for business, helping to attract additional funding for our area.

Junction improvements with far-reaching benefits Multi-million-pound infrastructure works at junction 61 of the A1(M), at Bowburn, are now complete, paving the way for a major industrial and logistics centre. The Integra 61 development has already attracted the online retailer Amazon, securing more than 1,000 permanent new jobs for the area. The £5.5 million works will significantly improve access to the site and address longstanding congestion and safety issues. The improvements were carried out by the council and jointly funded with the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Highways England and Roadchef. David Cullingford, project lead for the Citrus Group, owner and developer of Integra 61, said: “The support we have had from the county council, the North East LEP, the local community and other stakeholders has been fantastic and demonstrates what can be achieved by working in partnership.” Visit www.integra61.co.uk

A dynamic vision Proposals to create a major new business park at Aykley Heads near Durham City are gathering pace. The council has submitted a planning application for the site, including land currently occupied by its headquarters, and has also secured £6 million from the Government’s Getting Building Fund. The proposals contain detailed plans for office use on ‘Plot C,’ as well as an outline submission for the scheme’s first two phases. These have the potential to create 4,000 jobs, with an additional 1,800 during the construction period. James Ramsbotham, chief executive of the North East England Chamber of Commerce, said: “It’s fantastic that the Government has agreed to provide funding for this exciting development. It’s a big step towards the vision of establishing a dynamic business park in the north east becoming a reality.” Visit www.durham.gov.uk/AykleyHeads


The perfect location Two new business parks have announced their first tenants. Japanese firm Sumitomo Electric Wiring Systems Europe (SEWS-E), has relocated to Jade Business Park, near Seaham. The park is owned by the council, managed by its economic development arm Business Durham and developed by Highbridge Properties PLC. Once complete, it is set to create in excess of 2,500 jobs. Mike Hall, DC Manager at SEWS-E, said: “The site’s location and offer is perfect for us. It is just six miles away from our previous facility, which we have outgrown, and is close to the motorway and to our major customers.” Visit www.jadebusinesspark.co.uk/

Over in Newton Aycliffe, Euro Garages has confirmed it will begin developing a plot at the front of the Forrest Park site this month. The development will create 65 jobs and provide a gateway between existing food and retail outlets and the new £140m business park. A joint venture by the council and the Forrest family, supported by commercial property developer Richardson Barberry, Forrest Park has the potential to create up to 3,200 jobs. Nearby, in Murton’s Dalton Park, 150 retail jobs will be created at Morrisons by December 2020.

Exciting opportunities In Durham City, the first phase of the multi-million-pound Milburngate development in is now underway. The first phase will see the creation of a boutique cinema, a 92-bed flagship Premier Inn Hotel and premium bars and restaurants and will bring 400 new jobs to the city. Located on the banks of the River Wear, the development is set to create up to 1,000 jobs in total. Visit www.milburngate.co.uk Plans have been approved to replace Durham Bus Station on North Road with a modern and spacious new facility. The investment will play a key part in the county’s economic recovery, increasing footfall and trade in the city centre by improving transport links.

Driving forward transport improvements In June, a new £13 million railway station opened at Horden, linking the east of the county into the local, regional and national rail network and supporting the wider regeneration of the area. The station is a joint project between the council, Network Rail, Northern and Story Contracting. Visit www.durham.gov.uk/ horden

A destination that delivers Significant investment has been made in County Durham’s visitor offer in recent years and it is now worth almost £1 billion to our economy. From the opening of Hotel Indigo in Durham City, to the restoration of Auckland Castle and enhancements to Seaham Marina, public and private sector investment in the sector has resulted in a 13 per cent increase in visitor expenditure and 12 per cent increase in tourism employment since 2014. And there’s more in the pipeline, including the £5 million refurbishment of Redhills Miners’ Hall, the opening of Beamish Museum’s 1950s town and plans to develop Raby Castle, Park and Gardens as a landmark tourist destination. The sector has been hit hard by the pandemic, but it is set to play a key role in the county’s recovery. Rising demand for staycations, means there is an opportunity for attractions and accommodation providers to thrive once again by providing safe and enticing alternatives to foreign travel. Visit County Durham has launched a new campaign, Worth the Wait, to encourage people to enjoy days out and staycations in the county. Information about the campaign and ideas for days out and short breaks can be found on pages 14 and 15. Visit: www.thisisdurham.com



Employability Durham.

Supporting employment Ensuring businesses and individuals have access to the training and support they need is more important than ever, as the county recovers from the economic impact of coronavirus. Along with our partners, we’re working hard to help jobseekers, businesses and employees prosper in 2020 and beyond.

First step on the career ladder An apprenticeship can be a great way of getting a first taste of fulltime employment. More than 30 new recruits recently joined the council via our annual apprentice recruitment drive, helping to deliver services while gaining valuable skills and experience. To find out more about apprenticeship opportunities and other vacancies at Durham County Council, visit www.durham.gov.uk/jobsandcareers Organisations interested in finding out more about the benefits of recruiting apprentices, including funding available, can do at www.gov.uk/employing-an-apprentice


Time for a change? When former chef Steven Dean wanted a career change, he approached Employability Durham for support. The service helps people move into or towards employment, offering one-to-one support, information and advice. With the team’s help Steven completed training and was on track to employment when the pandemic hit. Thankfully, Steven was able to keep in touch with his advisor, Emma West, virtually and went on to secure a job at B&M in Durham. Steven said: “Emma has been fantastic. I am happy to find a job that has so much potential”. Steven was assisted through the Durham Advance programme, which is supported by the European Social Fund and helps people with health conditions or those aged 50 and over. Visit www.durham.gov.uk/ employability to find out more.

Interested in a career in the care sector? We launched our Care Academy to support the development of a skilled and valued adult social care workforce. When coronavirus struck, the Academy began a fast-track recruitment programme, offering remote training to help care providers recruit care workers, domestic assistants and kitchen assistants. For information, visit www.durham.gov.uk/careacademyrecruitment. Updates can also be found at www.Facebook.com/ CareAcademyDurham/recruitment.

Finding employment A new support service is connecting jobseekers with urgent vacancies in County Durham. County Durham Jobs Fuse has been created by the council, the National Careers Service and the Department for Work and Pensions to support those who have lost their jobs or whose jobs have been affected by coronavirus. Contact the National Careers Service helpline for free, impartial and expert careers advice, plus guidance such as CV writing and access to training. Call 0800 100 900 or visit www.nationalcareers.service.gov.uk Employers can get in touch by calling 0808 1963 596 or emailing JobsFuse@educationdevelopmenttrust.com

Support for businesses It’s vital that businesses can support and develop their workforce. Durham Employment and Skills works with employers to deliver bespoke training programmes and industry recognised qualifications. The team also helps those made redundant and long-term unemployed people get back into work by providing coaching, training and support. Training programmes are continuing online during the pandemic. Contact DES@durham.gov.uk or call 03000 266 644. Digital Skills for Growth.

Digital skills are essential for many jobs The Digital Skills for Growth programme is designed to help professionals working in the public, private and voluntary sectors gain digital skills. Delivered by Teesside University, courses are open to anyone who works in County Durham. It covers coding and digital marketing, data visualisation and protecting businesses from hackers as well as courses for teachers, including design and 3D animation, teaching music through computing and web production. For more, visit www.tees.ac.uk/sections/business/training/digital_skills.cfm or contact digitalskillsforgrowth@tees.ac.uk

Improve your skills Our Adult Learning and Skills Service offers free courses to help those who wish to learn a new skill. It works with voluntary organisations, employers and public health and offers face-to-face sessions and distance learning courses, including maths, English, computer skills, health and social care. Emma Sewell recently completed a Level 3 Business Administration Apprenticeship course. “I have gained new skills and knowledge which I am now confident in using in my role,” she said. “Thanks to the course I have secured a full-time job and become manager of a local football team.”

Tiny Treasures.

Meanwhile, the DurhamWorks employment grant is available to help small employers create jobs for unemployed 16 to 24-year-olds. In the past year, it has supported more than 50 businesses with financial packages up to £2,500 towards salary costs. Sharon from Tiny Treasures, a childcare service in Seaham, employed an additional member of staff with help from the grant. Sharon said: “My business has benefited from young people being part of our workforce, and I truly believe it has developed in ways that would not have been possible without them”. Call 03000 262 930, email DWgrant@durham.gov.uk or visit www.durhamworks.info/employers DurhamWorks offers support to young people aged 16-24 years old looking for training, employment or education. Get in touch with the team to find out more www.durhamworks.info

For more, visit www.durham.gov.uk/adultlearning or call 03000 266 115.


Amazing days and amazing stays… in County Durham After weeks of lockdown and uncertainty over international travel, there’s never been a better time to enjoy the amazing landscapes, attractions and activities on your doorstep… It was worth the wait.

Family fun at award-winning attractions

From towns and city, to countryside and coast, the perfect staycation can be found right here in County Durham.

Whatever the time of year, you’ll find something to keep the whole family entertained. Discover the county’s role in the development of the railways at Locomotion, or take a step back in time at Beamish, The Living Museum of the North.

And by holidaying ‘at home’ you’ll also be supporting local businesses and contributing to the county’s economic recovery from the pandemic.

world-famous Durham Cathedral and Castle UNESCO World Heritage Site for an Instagram-worthy view. For those wishing to delve into the county’s past, explore themed galleries showcasing fine and decorative arts at The Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle, or discover one of England’s finest medieval castles during a visit to nearby Raby.

Home from home With rolling countryside, a breath-taking coastline and a historic city at its heart, you don’t have to leave County Durham to enjoy a change of scenery. And there are plenty of options for the perfect place to stay, from stylish hotels and historic houses to cosy B&Bs and homely cottages. If a night under the stars is more your style, there are dozens of campsites across the county offering the chance to discover the magic of County Durham’s dark skies.

Lots to see and do No matter how you like to spend your days, there’s plenty to keep you busy during a staycation in County Durham. If you don’t want something too strenuous, take a leisurely stroll through the historic streets of Durham City to the

Feeling energetic? On two feet or two wheels are great ways to explore the county’s great outdoors. Discover breathtaking views in the Durham Dales and North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and UNESCO Global Geopark, home to the mighty High Force waterfall, or visit the dramatic Durham Heritage Coast for seaside strolls. Scenic Hamsterley Forest is a magnet for mountain bikers and those in search of the Gruffalo. Or, for a chance to spot wildlife from the water’s edge, visit Derwent Waterside Park. If you prefer shopping to sightseeing, head to Dalton Park, the biggest outlet shopping centre in the North East. Or take in the charm of Durham City and our market towns, such as Barnard Castle, with their many independent retailers.

You could even make some new friends at the county’s farm attractions and, for the perfect picnic spot, head to Wharton Park in Durham City, Riverside Park in Chester-le-Street, or Hardwick Park in Sedgefield. For inspiration and ideas, visit www.thisisdurham.com/worththewait

October half term – Explore from your door The half term holiday is just around the corner so why not take the opportunity to ‘explore from your door’. With so many walks, rides, beauty spots and attractions on your doorstep, there are plenty of options for a family day out in County Durham. For more information, visit www.thisisdurham.com/hiddengems

Please note: venue opening is subject to change, please check before you visit.


A series of six new walking trails are bringing the fascinating stories of the region’s saints to life.

The Way of Learning

Jarrow – Sunderland – Durham A walk to enlighten your mind. Follow the trail of St Bede, one of the greatest Christian scholars, while uncovering the North East’s unrivalled spirit of industry and innovation.

The Way of the Sea

Warkworth to North Shields Every mile is linked in some way to the sea, for it was this that allowed fishing and coal mining to flourish, and created the need for castles and lighthouses.

The Angel’s Way

Seaton Sluice to Durham The Angel’s Way traverses Tyneside, visiting a wealth of landmarks, including Antony Gormley’s iconic Angel of the North, which symbolises the rise, fall and rebirth of the North East.

Northern Saints Trails The Northern Saints Trails reflect the saints’ journeys and their connections with the North East. At the heart of the trails is Durham Cathedral, which has been a destination for pilgrims for centuries. Whether you are looking to take on a walking challenge, want to get back to nature or enjoy family time, be guided by the Northern Saints and discover stunning landscapes and fascinating history along the way.

All routes can be walked in any direction for any duration, with public transport links at the start and end of each stage. Please Respect, Protect and Enjoy the county’s great outdoors by following the Countryside Code, which provides guidance on visiting the countryside during the pandemic.

For more information, including route descriptions and maps, visit www.northernsaints.com

The Way of Love

Hartlepool to Durham St Hilda, St Helena and St Mary Magdalene are the female saintly trinity at the heart of this trail. Their legacy is still apparent today in the form of monasteries and monuments that are standout highlights of the trail.

The Way of Light

Heavenfield – Hexham – Durham This fascinating trail illuminates the early history of Christianity in the North East, shaped by St Oswald and St Cuthbert. Walkers will discover wonderful views, historic battlefields and breath-taking architecture.

The Way of Life

Gainford to Durham City From its source at St Mary’s Well, whose waters were long held to have healing powers, this route will soothe, calm and rejuvenate walkers just as it did the pilgrims of old.

Please note: venue opening is subject to change, please check before you visit. Images: Visit County Durham


D ur h a m B ook Fe s t i val

Durham Book Festival moves online A celebrated crime writer whose compelling stories have showcased the North East to a global audience is among the famous faces appearing at Durham Book Festival next month. This year, in light of the coronavirus pandemic, we have moved many of our festivals and events online so that people can enjoy them safely at home. This includes Durham Book Festival, which will offer a diverse programme of free virtual activities for people of all ages from Friday 9 to Sunday 18 October. Ann Cleeves is just one of the highprofile international authors appearing at the virtual event. The Vera Ann Cleeves. Photo David Hirst author has also written a new story exclusively for the festival. Set in Durham City, Written in Blood has been selected as this year’s Big Read and 4,000 free copies will be given out to residents across the county.


Other big literary names include: Brit Bennett, whose novels The Mothers and The Brit Bennett. Photo Emma Trim Vanishing Half were New York Times best sellers; acclaimed writer and journalist Fatima Bhutto; journalist,

Fatima Bhutto. Photo Paul Wetherel

author and former political aide Alistair Campbell; and award-winning novelist Jenny Offill. Jenny Offill. Photo Emily Tobey

There will also be events for schools, Alex Wheatle. families and young people with Guardian’s Children’s Fiction Award-winner Alex Wheatle; the recent Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize-winner, Sharna Jackson; and the creators of the picture-book Llama Glamarama, Simon James Green and Garry Parsons. Other festival highlights include poetry readings, live drawing, writing workshops, literary quizzes, podcasts and social media takeovers, as well as the announcement of the Gordon Burn Prize 2020. This year’s shortlist features Paul Mendez, Lemn Sissay and Lisa Taddeo.


The Little Read is also set to return, with 1,500 copies of Greta and the Giants to be distributed to every primary school and nursery in the county. Children and families will also be invited to take part in fun activities inspired by Zoë Tucker and Zoe Persico’s popular picture book and its climate change theme. Moving the festival online means the events can be accessed from anywhere in the world, shining a spotlight on the North East and its stories. This includes at least 20 newly commissioned works from writers such as David Almond, Lisette Auton, Andrew Hankinson, Richard T. Kelly, and Mim Skinner. Founded in 1990, Durham Book Festival is one of the country’s oldest literary events. Commissioned by Durham County Council, the festival is produced by New Writing North with support from Durham University, Arts Council England and BBC Newcastle.

Keeping the pages turning We know how special borrowing a book and getting lost in a good read can be. We have worked hard to continue providing library services as far as possible throughout the pandemic, offering access to eBooks, eMagazines, audio books, Ancestry and more through our Library Online facility. We have also helped keep youngsters entertained with virtual storytelling sessions and modified our Books on Wheels service to ensure those receiving book deliveries to their door could continue to do so. In July, we introduced a Pick and Collect service to enable contact free book collections. This allowed more than 13,000 books to be safely collected from designated Pick and Collect library sites.

As restrictions ease, we are updating our library services regularly to try and ensure people are still able to access library resources, whilst keeping our staff and the public safe.

Friday 9 to Sunday 18 October To book free tickets and find out more, visit


Visit www.durham.gov.uk/libraryonline for the latest library information and how to join using Library Online. Please be aware you will be required to wear a face covering when entering the library.


Wellbeing and suppor t

Wellbeing for Life The coronavirus pandemic has made life difficult for many people but help is at hand.

Staying happy and healthy –

The Wellbeing for Life service has supported 5,942 people across County Durham with telephone calls since the start of the pandemic, helping them with essentials to stay home and stay safe.

inside and out In these challenging times, it is really important to take extra care of your mental and physical health. Whether you need someone to talk to, some advice on how to stay fit, or want to work on your personal resilience, there are ways to get that extra help to take care of your mind and body.

The service works with the County Durham Together Hub and other support organisations. Call 0800 876 6887 or visit www.wellbeingforlife.net

Mental health Mental health issues can affect all areas of our lives but there is plenty of support available.

Workplace support Employers have a responsibility to look after the mental health of their staff. We’ve joined forces with Hartlepool and East Durham MIND to support small and medium-sized enterprises and the voluntary and community sector by offering free mental health training and support across the county. Visit https://countydurhamtraininghub.co.uk/ for more information.

World Mental Health Day Talking about mental health is vitally important if we are to reduce the stigma and discrimination often associated with it. The County Durham Time To Change Hub and Stamp it Out will be using World Mental Health Day on Saturday 10 October to raise awareness and encourage conversations about our mental wellbeing. What could you do for World Mental Health Day this year? ✔ Post positive stories about mental health on social media ✔ Contact someone you’ve been thinking about to see how they’re doing ✔ Organise a quiz including questions about mental health For more information on how to get involved in activities and events contact info@investinginchildren.net or call 0191 3077030. For free resources go to https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/resources The hub is also looking to recruit Time to Change Champions who are willing to share their experiences. For more information, visit https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/champions


Crisis advice A new freephone line for people in mental distress to access urgent help is available through Tees Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust. Call 0800 0516171 in a mental health emergency. Advice is also available at www.tewv.nhs.uk/ crisisadvice

5 ways to Wellbeing Looking after your mental wellbeing and developing emotional resilience can reduce the impact of stress on your life. The 5 ways to Wellbeing are small changes that could make a big difference. ✔ Connect – Stay connected with friends, family and colleagues and talk about your worries. ✔ Be Active – Being active is a proven way to make us feel better. Go for a walk, run or bike ride (keeping a safe two-metre distance from others) or workout at home. ✔ Take notice – Sometimes we’re just too busy to notice our surroundings so take notice of your environment. ✔ Keep learning – There are lots of free tutorials and courses online and plenty of inventive ways to get involved virtually, such as online quizzes and music concerts. ✔ Give – Supporting someone else can make you feel good. Message someone to say hi or look for community groups you could support.

Financial help

Physical health Exercise not only improves our physical health but can benefit mental health too.

Leisure centres reopen Lockdown and the increase in home working has led many people into bad eating habits and a lack of exercise. Those wishing to get their workout routine back on track can do so at our leisure centres, which have now reopened. Thrive card holders can now book to attend gym and fitness class sessions and there are new measures in place to protect customers and staff – from the repositioning of equipment to accommodate social distancing, to limiting numbers and movement during classes, to introducing new hand sanitiser stations and signage. The majority of our pools are also open for lane swimming, aqua classes and family fun sessions but sessions must be booked in advance. Swimmers are also being advised to expect a number of changes to allow for social distancing and to reflect public health advice. To find out how you can #makethecomeback or order a thrive card visit www.durham.gov.uk/leisure

Live a healthier life Public Health England has launched a Better Health campaign to support people wishing to lead healthier lives. A range of support is available to help you make changes, including a new 12-Week Weight Loss Plan app.

Money worries can have a significant impact on mental health. If you’re having trouble managing your money, such as struggling to pay your household bills or dealing with debt, you should get help as soon as possible. We can offer advice on Benefits, Discretionary Housing payments, Council Tax discounts, disregards and exemptions and check whether you are entitled to other financial support; particularly if your circumstances have changed and you need immediate assistance. We can also help if you need advice when dealing with other agencies or if you are looking for specialist support. For more information, visit www.durham.gov.uk/debtadvice or call 03000 260 000.

For more information, visit nhs.uk/better-health

Don’t wait to quit Stoptober is approaching but smokers in County Durham are being urged not to wait to quit smoking. People who smoke are at greater risk of developing life-threatening complications from the COVID-19 virus. Stoptober has helped more than one million people start their journey to quitting to date. And research shows that if you can stop smoking for 28 days you are five times more likely to stay smokefree for good. Find local support at smokefreecountydurham.co.uk or by calling 0800 772 0565.



Coronavirus is still out there

HANDS, FACE, SPACE – GET A TEST We have moved into a new phase of the coronavirus pandemic where a range of national restrictions on the general population have been eased or lifted altogether. Although this is great news for residents, communities and businesses alike it also means there is now the potential for coronavirus to begin to circulate more freely. It is, therefore, more important than ever that we continue to protect ourselves, our family and friends, and our community. We can all do our bit by continuing to practise simple precautions. Think hands, face, space – get a test.


For 20 seconds and often

Help is available from the County Durham Together Community Hub Many people will have the support of friends, relatives, local groups and services, all of which should remain the first point of contact when seeking help. For other needs, a list of local support groups and organisations is available at www.durhamlocate.org.uk. Just enter your postcode and what you need in the coronavirus section. Help and support is also available through the #CountyDurhamTogether Community Hub. The hub can provide assistance to access essential supplies, local activities or befriending services as well as advice on money matters, housing, health or employment issues. Anyone unable to access support by other means should contact: communityhub @durham.gov.uk www.durham.gov.uk/ covid19help 03000 260 260 between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday.


Use soap and water to wash hands or use a hand sanitiser. It is especially important to do this when you: • Get home or into work • Blow your nose, sneeze or cough • Eat or handle food

Cover FACE

Wear a face covering when possible Especially in enclosed public spaces where social distancing may be difficult and where you are in contact with people you would not normally meet.


Stay 2m apart from others where possible Continue to follow current government guidance on social distancing.

Get a TEST

If you have symptoms of coronavirus Self-isolate in line with current government guidance and get a test.

Play your part to stay safe in County Durham www.durham.gov.uk/coronavirus

Health services

Protect against flu this coming winter It’s never been more important to have a flu vaccination Flu spreads easily and it can be extremely serious. Those most at risk from flu are also more vulnerable to COVID-19. This year, the NHS is asking you to #doyourbit to protect yourself, to protect your loved ones and to protect the NHS and your community by having the flu vaccination. The NHS is working hard to roll out the biggest flu vaccination programme ever and also to reassure the public that it is safe to have a vaccination. The free flu vaccination is offered on the NHS to those who are at increased risk from the effects of flu including: ✔ People aged 65 and over ✔ Patients on the shielded list and their households ✔ Pregnant women ✔ Those with underlying health conditions (aged 6 months to 64 years) ✔ Children aged 2-3 years ✔ Primary school age children and year 7 pupils Go to www.nhs.uk/fluvaccine for a full list of those eligible for the NHS flu vaccine and for the latest information for people aged 50 to 64 who may be given a flu vaccine later in the year. For the vast majority of people, the vaccination will be provided by GP practices or pharmacies. Pregnant women will be offered the vaccination through their maternity services and some patients may be offered the vaccine while attending hospital. The vaccination programme will begin in late September/October with the highest priority groups encouraged to get vaccinated as early as possible. Many GPs and pharmacies will be asking people to book appointments and not just to turn up.

Preventing the spread The flu vaccination is the best way to protect yourself, your family and your community against flu. You can have flu without any symptoms and pass it on to others who may be at increased risk. It is also particularly important for young children to be vaccinated, not only to protect themselves but to also stop them spreading it to their families and the wider community. You can #doyourbit by remembering to wash your hands and social distance. If you sneeze, remember to catch it, bin it and kill it.

COVID-19 and flu Having a flu vaccination will not protect you against COVID-19 however it will help you stay well this winter and help the NHS by reducing demand for hospital services. The flu vaccine is designed to prevent infections from influenza viruses. COVID-19 is a different virus. It can be difficult to spot the difference between COVID-19 and flu as the symptoms are similar. The main symptoms of COVID-19 are: More › High temperature › New, continuous cough › Loss or change to your sense of smell or taste


For the most up-to-date NHS advice on treating flu, go to www.nhs.uk/conditions/flu For the latest guidance on COVID-19, go to www.nhs.uk/conditions/ coronavirus-covid-19

Even if you only have To find out more about staying well one of the above this winter, go to symptoms, it could be www.durham.gov.uk/ COVID-19, so always follow warmandwell the latest NHS guidance.


Health services

Using your health service

The way we use health services may have changed in recent months, but one thing remains the same – it is still vitally important to attend medical appointments and to seek advice if you are concerned about health matters.

Visiting your GP If you are feeling unwell, require tests for a pre-existing condition or are due a routine vaccination, you should contact your GP as normal. All surgeries are running a “total triage” model, which enables patients to be directed to the most appropriate service. This includes telephone, email and video consultations as well as referrals to external services or, if clinically appropriate, a face-to-face appointment. Repeat prescriptions can still be requested online, or by using the NHS App. Patients without internet access should contact their surgery for advice on how to order medication.

Need help getting to an appointment? Wherever possible, telephone and video consultations are being used to reduce the need to travel to hospital, outpatient clinics and GP appointments. Anyone who has a clinical need for a face-to-face hospital or medical appointment is asked to make their own way there. If this is not possible, several services are available.

✔ Help To Health is a volunteer driver service, available 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Its costs 50p per mile (minimum charge £1) to a maximum of £10, plus any parking charges. Register free by calling 0300 330 9242 or visit www.helptohealth.org.uk. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer driver, call 0300 330 9424. ✔ Link2 Bus – is an accessible dial-a-ride service for people who are not on a bus route or are unable to access regular services due to mobility issues. Contact 03000 269 999 Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5pm. For more details: www.durham.gov.uk/Link2. ✔ Friends of Darlington Memorial Hospital – offers a volunteer driver scheme for patients living in Bishop Auckland and Darlington. The service is free, although donations are welcome. Call 01325 743 866. ✔ Claiming Back Travel Costs – County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust (CDDFT) operates a Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme (HTCS). For more information visit: www.cddft.nhs.uk.

Don’t just turn up to A&E People are being urged not to visit A&E without first seeking advice. If your condition is NOT life threatening you should contact your local pharmacy, GP practice or 111 online. Out of hours call NHS 111. If you do just turn up at A&E a senior clinician may decide your health need may be better met by a pharmacist or GP and could make you an alternative appointment. Please remember A&E departments are for serious conditions only, please use them appropriately and seek advice before just turning up.


COUNTY DURHAM Get the flu vaccine this year

It s never been more important




Area Action Par tnerships

Grants fund coronavirus support The coronavirus pandemic has placed huge pressures on communities across the county. As part of our efforts to support residents, Durham County Council allocated £1.4m extra funding to our 14 Area Action Partnerships (AAPs) to share out among projects that have been helping those in need. A total of 825 schemes have benefitted from funding, with initiatives ranging from delivery of essential items, creating activities for those isolating and providing mental health support, to helping to sustain community groups and buildings during lockdown. We also approved 47 applications for support from ward councillors’ Neighbourhood Budgets, with the money allocated totalling more than £222,000. Here are just a few examples of the many great causes which received funding to help others in this difficult time.

Eden Hill People’s Centre As a relatively new group, Eden Hill’s People’s Centre, in Peterlee, was actively engaged in the community throughout lockdown. The centre provided food parcels and emergency supplies to those in the area in need of support, partnering with Horden and Peterlee Rugby Club. The centre has also been running a school uniform project. To alleviate the expense of new school uniforms, the centre has been collecting donations of good quality uniforms for schools in the area to give to families who are struggling financially. Instead of being able to deliver its usual summer programme for younger people in the area, the centre set up a four-week ‘summer at home’ programme. This consisted of one activity bag per week and three days of ‘make your own lunch’ packs for each family to make food together. The projects have been supported by East Durham AAP and local councillors.


It’s In the bag! project Weardale AAP was awarded funding for its project, It’s In the Bag!, which has seen volunteers deliver food cupboard essentials to more than 100 families whose children live or go to school in the Weardale area. Every fortnight, volunteers packed and distributed bags to families who needed additional support during lockdown because their finances had been impacted by a lack of work or furlough or because children were not at school. The scheme ran until the end of the school summer holidays. Feedback from families has been positive and the volunteers are pleased with the success of the scheme.

Jack Drum Arts The 3 Towns Partnership awarded more than £13,000 to Jack Drum Arts to cover its monthly overheads for three months. The money also helped the group deliver free packs of art materials to children aged 6 and over whose family were in receipt of benefits. The packs were also available at a small cost for families not experiencing financial hardship. The grant also enabled Jack Drum Arts to commission a further 10 weeks of online courses aimed at children, adults, families and older and vulnerable people, with artists hosting virtual sessions including singing, dancing and music technology. During the May half-term and summer holidays, the group performed Doorstep Gigs for children in the area. The free storytelling performances were put on by costumed actors on the families’ doorsteps, with priority being given to low-income families, those supporting a shielded individual and the children of key workers. All the fun happened from a safe distance, in line with social distancing guidance, with audiences able to watch the recitals from their window or doorstep.

Esh Winning FC Esh Winning Football Club was awarded a grant of £6,129 by Mid Durham AAP to ensure its building and its future as a club were both protected while it was closed due to coronavirus restrictions. The funding was used to secure the club’s premises and enhance security after being targeted by vandals during the temporary closure. It is being spent on urgent repairs to the building’s alarm system and the installation of CCTV. It will also cover other costs, such as utility bills, while the club is closed.

Durham Deafened Support Two organisations which collaborated on a project to help the county’s deaf residents received support from Durham AAP. Durham Deafened Support was awarded £920 to help reduce isolation among its members. The charity used the funding to contact people by post, providing a range of exciting and inspiring activities. With a little help from a local secondary school, the grant also allowed staff and volunteers to visit members for a catch-up in their gardens. The Garden Chat project saw volunteers visiting members for a socially distanced talk outside their houses. However, a lot of its members rely on lip reading, which cannot be done if visitors are wearing protective fabric masks. Framwellgate School Durham supplied the solution, thanks to a £1,197 grant from Durham AAP. The school used its facilities to make PPE, including full face visors, which it is now providing to Durham Deafened Support so members can see volunteers faces when they chat.

Find out more about the county’s 14 AAPs and their work to identify and tackle community priorities at www.durham.gov.uk/aaps


To w n s a n d villages

Focus on Sacriston and Willington

n o t s i r c a S Willingt on

Our Towns and Villages programme has seen us working to reinvigorate high streets across the county. Explore the latest in the series of creating attractive and vibrant retail areas. Local high streets and shops have proven essential during the pandemic. Improving them has never been so important, as retailers welcome more customers back with social distancing measures in place. In Sacriston and Willington plans are being developed to improve parking provision, support businesses and bring empty buildings back into use.



In Willington designs have been commissioned to improve the car park on the High Street, which will be resurfaced with marked bays introduced. We are also undertaking a feasibility study to see if it is possible to install an electric vehicle charging point in the car park. We are supporting businesses to install decorative vinyls on unsightly security shutters to enhance the appearance of empty units and food retail businesses that are only open in the evening. To date, seven retail businesses have expressed an interest in the scheme. The decorative vinyls have also recently been installed on the shutters at Willington Library. The vinyls feature images created by local primary school. To brighten up the high street further, we’re investing in improving shop fronts in the village. Foster Opticians is just one example of a business which has received

funding to improve its premises. When the owner announced his retirement, an existing member of staff took over the business to keep it local. We offered funding for the installation of a new shop front to modernise the shop’s exterior. Practice manager, Jan Clewes, said: “The previous owner hadn’t done any marketing, instead relying on word of mouth and it wasn’t obvious from the outside what the shop was or that Willington even had an optician. We’ve definitely seen an increase in customers since we made the shop front changes and I’m not sure we could have done it without help from the council.”

Local retailers and the community told us there was insufficient car parking space in Sacriston, so we have identified land suitable for a new car park. Engineering drawings have been commissioned to create the car park, which will offer 16 new spaces to help the community access the retailers in the area and shop locally. In addition, we are offering grants to support Shop Front Improvements to retail premises in Sacriston, as well as helping to bring empty premises back into use. The Community Economic Development team is currently engaging with local businesses and has made one grant offer to date, with six businesses completing the application process. Lauren Burn opened Bespoke, a tearoom and gift shop, in the former Lloyds Bank building. She said: “It’s always been an ambition to have my own business in the village I care a lot about. We support several local producers and try to support other local businesses in the area. It was great to have the council’s support to get funding.”

Please note: business opening is subject to change, please check before you visit.


Local businesses can find out more about the support we can offer them by emailing CED@durham.gov.uk or visiting www.durham/gov.uk/retail

High Streets Safely

You can also find guidance on how to reopen your business safely by visiting www.durham.gov.uk/reopenyourbusiness

We have been working with businesses across County Durham to reopen your high streets safely.


During the lockdown Bespoke supported its local community for 13 weeks by cooking and delivering food from the Community Centre for residents who needed help. Sacriston’s derelict former Co-op Building is being transformed into Sacriston Enterprise Workshops, housing a group of social enterprises, charities, workshops and retail start-up spaces. Our Towns and Villages programme has committed £200,000 to help develop and deliver the reinstatement and restoration works to the main building. Following the completion of structural reports, demolition of Unit 2 in the rear courtyard has been commissioned for September 2020. A request for tenders to appoint an architect has also been drafted and will be issued shortly. Four community enterprises - Sacriston Youth Project, Woodshed, Live Well North East and RecycleLD - are currently developing internal plans and securing external funding bids in a joint effort to breathe new life into the building. For more up-to-date information please see the Facebook page Sacriston Enterprise Workshops.

Now that our town centres are starting to 21/08/2020 welcome back shoppers, we have introduced some temporary measures to make sure you can shop safely. We will continue to monitor and adapt these measures as necessary.

50434 REG ReOpening Advert DCN.indd 1

We’ve introduced social distancing signage, road closures to give pedestrians priority and suggest using contactless payment in shops. Where possible you should keep your distance from people outside your household and wash your hands regularly. If you can, please walk, cycle or drive to your local high street, or use our re-opened park and ride services.

Please note: business opening is subject to change, please check before you visit.



Green living Garden waste days stay the same Garden waste collections will continue to operate on Mondays and Saturdays throughout 2020. We are contacting residents who have signed up to the scheme to make them aware but please continue to place your bins out as you have been doing since the changes came into force earlier in the year. For more information about collection days, enter your house name or number and postcode at www.durham.gov.uk/ mydurham

New neighbourhood wardens Thirteen new neighbourhood wardens have joined the council to help combat anti-social behaviour and enviro-crime. Following feedback from residents about the importance of tackling fly tipping, four of the team will focus solely on this issue. Some of the new recruits, who have completed intensive training, will head to the streets of Durham City, whilst others will concentrate on towns and villages across the county.

Electric vehicle charging points Ten new electric vehicle charging points across Stanhope in Weardale are the first to be installed through a new initiative to encourage greener travel. The Scaling on Street Charging infrastructure project will see 100 charging points installed in County Durham. The Stanhope project, which is financially supported by Innovate UK and delivered in partnership with Weardale Electric Vehicle Accelerator, aims to encourage people to think about using an electric vehicle. It is anticipated that several thousand electric vehicle charging points will be installed across the county over the coming years, as internal combustion vehicles are gradually phased out.

Improving walking and cycling provision around Durham City More space for walking and cycling has been introduced at six locations around Durham City. The changes follow a successful bid by the council for almost £400,000 from the government's Emergency Active Travel Fund. As well as supporting the increasing number of families enjoying exercising outdoors as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the measures will also help cut carbon emissions by reducing reliance on cars. The £392,999 grant has been used for projects such as the introduction of protected cycle lanes and path resurfacing work, as well as reduced speed limits. An application has also been submitted for additional funding, which would allow schemes to be delivered at more locations around the county. For more information about the improvements at www.durham.gov.uk/activetravel or find inspiration on where to cycle in County Durham at www.durham.gov.uk/cycling


Recycle Week 2020 We’re supporting this year’s national Recycle Week, which runs from Monday 21 to Sunday 27 September. The theme of the 2020 event is ‘Together – We Recycle’, with a message of thanks to the nation for continuing to recycle despite the challenges that coronavirus has presented. Find out what you can and can’t recycle at

www.durham.gov.uk/ whatgoeswhere or visit www.durham.gov.uk/ RecyclingMatters

for information about what happens to your recycling.

The place to find out about adult care and support in County Durham

Your first choice for housing in County Durham

Available now No bond

believe housing

0300 1311 999

Karbon Homes

0808 164 0111


0800 587 4538

North Star Housing 03000 11 00 11



Ve n u e s

Attractions reopen to visitors Many of our venues and attractions were forced to close in March because of the coronavirus. Now, we’re pleased to be welcoming people back safely to some of our most popular sites.

Durham Town Hall Find out about Durham’s fascinating history and heritage by taking a tour of the city’s town hall. The historic attraction, in the city's Market Place, is open every Saturday from 10am to 3pm. We’ve introduced measures including a one-way system to support social distancing and additional cleaning to help keep you safe. Admission is free and there is no need to book. Find out more at www.durham.gov.uk/durhamtownhall

Bishop Auckland Town Hall café Visitors to the town hall’s new look café will get a taster of a £1.5 million revamp of the historic building. The town hall was due to reopen to the public earlier this year following a major refurbishment programme, but this was delayed due to the pandemic. However, a number of measures, such as extra space between tables and additional signage, have been introduced to allow the café to open. The improvement work included relocating the café to the ground floor to provide a much larger, brighter and more welcoming space. A new menu featuring locally sourced produce has also been introduced. Since re-opening, the venue has welcomed 1,132 visitors to the café to date. The café is also the new home to Norman Cornish’s Miners’ Gala mural, which has been relocated from County Hall, in Durham. The piece is on display alongside a stunning stained-glass feature by fellow local artist Tom McGuinness. The café is open Monday to Saturday, from 10am to 4pm, and there is no need to book in advance. Find out more and view the menu at www.bishopaucklandtownhall.org.uk

Theatre transformations Front-of-house facilities at Durham City’s Gala theatre and cinema, which will remain closed to visitors for the rest of the year, are to be transformed as the venue undergoes a refurbishment. Work will include improvements to the foyer, bar and box office areas as well as the introduction of an updated till system. The changes are being made to improve facilities for customers, creating more welcoming, inviting and fit-for-purpose public areas in advance of the theatre reopening. The Empire Theatre, in Consett, meanwhile, is also undergoing a revamp. Planned maintenance work at the venue was paused when coronavirus restrictions were introduced but a £500,000 refurbishment scheme, including refreshing the décor, improving the stage, lighting and backstage facilities, and making essential repairs to the roof is now underway again. The Empire will also remain closed for the rest of the year.

Please note: venue opening is subject to change, please check before you visit.


Ve n u es

What's on Hidden Bishop Auckland – online Uncover the history and heritage of Bishop Auckland. Regional artists have been working with our community arts teams to create unique online community projects during the summer, all aimed at uncovering the history and heritage of the town. The result will be celebrated digitally during the second Bishop Auckland History and Heritage Festival from Friday 23 October to Tuesday 1 November. Highlights of the online projects include: ✔ Hidden Stories, by artist Richard Bliss, which explores the building of Bishop Auckland. With the help of professional photographer Lee Dobson, members of the public have created digital postcard greetings.

✔ Hidden Crafts – families had fun trying different crafts with Daisy Arts, including creating a traditional Midsummer Cushion with a modern twist. An exhibition planned for 2022 will include all the Hidden Bishop Auckland projects. For more information on these and other festival events visit www.durham.gov.uk/haz. The projects were funded by Durham County Council, Historic England and South Durham Enterprise Agency.

Enjoy the outdoors County Durham’s parks offer a great place to relax and enjoy the fresh air. And we’ve now reopened up our cafés to ensure refreshments are available for visitors, although only a limited takeaway menu is available. Wharton Park café is open from Friday to Sunday between 11am and 3pm. A one-way system is in place. Hardwick Park café is open daily between 10am and 3pm, while the café at Riverside Park, Chester-le-Street is open from 10am until after 7pm (sometimes later, depending on the weather). Please wear a face covering when visiting our cafés. Park toilets are being cleaned regularly and are open at Hardwick and Wharton parks from 10am to 4pm and at Riverside Park, Chester-le-Street from 8am to 4pm. For extra fun at Hardwick Park, why not download the Love Exploring app and see how many virtual dinosaurs you can find? The app is available for download on iPhone and android. For the most up-to-date information on which facilities areas are open and how to enjoy them safely visit www.durham.gov.uk/enjoyoutdoors

Binchester Roman Fort Families can once again discover the exciting history of Binchester Roman Fort, which dates back to 75AD. The site is open from 10.30am to 4pm every day until Saturday 31 October. Hand sanitisers, contactless card payments and a one-way systems have been introduced to help visitors adhere to public health guidelines. Admission costs £5 for adults, £4 for concessions and £3 for children. Under 4s go free. www.durham.gov.uk/ binchester

Please note: venue opening is subject to change, please check before you visit.


There when you need us

Supporting communities

Since the start of the pandemic, staff across Durham County Council have been working hard to maintain services and help residents and businesses when they need us most. Here are some of the ways we and our partners have been supporting communities.


vulnerable residents contacted by the council

All household waste and recycling collections maintained despite an increase of

29.5% in volume

500 staff re-deployed to work on critical services

Care providers


received help with their council tax bill, saving them a total of

more than £2.9m

9,379 grants paid to businesses totalling


13,472 books

have been collected since the launch of the Pick and Collect service


residents helped to access food by the council and County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust’s Wellbeing for Life service


52 rough sleepers

240+ schools open


supporting children of key workers and vulnerable families

so far for 335 applications

contacted more than

times offering advice and support

Over 12,500

More than

during lockdown

Over 1 million pieces of PPE distributed to the care sector


hospitality and tourism businesses provided with advice and support

provided with accommodation since March

available for community and volunteer projects with

£1.4m agreed

6,772 free car parking

spaces made available for NHS staff and other key workers


bins emptied and over 2,300 tonnes of waste from the first garden waste collection

Profile for DCC Design and Print

Durham County News Autumn 2020  

Durham County News Autumn 2020

Durham County News Autumn 2020  

Durham County News Autumn 2020