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Upclose The magazine for NorthTyneside

Banging the drum for the borough!

February 2009

Leisure pool will make waves

Three stars for adult social care

Roll out for new recycling scheme

Keeping you informed |

Working closer with communities

Recycling has never been easier!

Your new bin will be delivered to your door, emptied every fortnight and in it you can recycle everything from cardboard, paper and textiles to cans, plastic bottles and glass. You will receive a leaflet through your door two to four weeks before your bin is delivered.

0845 2000 112

Upclose February 2009

Up Close is produced by North Tyneside Council. To discuss news - contact: Steve Forshaw (3rd floor right) Marketing & Communications Quadrant Silverlink North Cobalt Business Park North Tyneside NE27 OBY Phone: 643 5080 email: To discuss advertising or distribution - contact: Claire Edge (at the above address) Phone: 643 2111 email:

To contact the council:       

Customer services Housing repairs Envirolink Council tax and benefits Racial harassment Payments Families Information Service

0845 2000 101 0845 2000 102 0845 2000 103 0845 2000 104 0845 2000 105 0845 2000 107 0845 2000 108

North Tyneside Council wants to make it easier for you to get hold of the information you may need about the services it provides.We are able to provide our documents in alternative formats including large print and community languages. Audio tapes are available at libraries. Please call 0191 643 5080. North Tyneside Council endeavours to ensure all the adverts and advertising features in Up Close are accurate. It cannot, however, take responsibility for their content.

Inside this issue Mayor’s message


Roll out is underway


Pool is set to make waves!


Update on our Year of Sport


It’s all in the stars


Showing their steel


Cash for community projects


Joining forces


Young people get a voice


Win a Contours gym membership!


The economic crisis is a time for strong leadership, says John Harrison. The first residents in the borough start receiving their new recycling bins. We unveil the new name for the transformed Whitley Bay Leisure Pool. Your chance to get active and have some fun at the same time. The borough’s adult social care service receives the highest possible rating. We look at the band of local youngsters forging a national reputation. A new garden is set to blossom – thanks to the elected mayor’s Neighbourhood Well-being Fund. How a group of parents are working together to help reshape care services in the borough. Plans are unveiled to set up a young mayor and cabinet in North Tyneside. This month’s competition can help you to banish the blues and get in shape.

The next issue of Up Close will be distributed from April 14 NTC Design Feb 09 | 1810


Want to know more about justice? “What happens after someone is arrested and charged?”

You Be The Judge

Tuesday, April 7, 2009 1pm to 3pm or 6pm to 8pm “How are sentences decided?”

Book now 01661 868 781

“Who does what in the Criminal Justice System?”

Discuss a case with police, prosecution and defence, Magistrates, a Judge, Probation, Youth Offending Teams

A free event

The Linskill Centre North Shields refreshments included

Quality, low-cost training for the voluntary and community sector. All courses are delivered in North Tyneside Full Day Courses: £15 to £85* per person with lunch provided

Employing a Worker: What do you need to know?

February 26

Updating your Equality and Diversity Policy

March 12

Assertiveness: How to say what you really mean

March 24

First Steps to Fundraising: Putting together a good grant application

April 21

Basic Excel: Learn the basic features of the powerful spreadsheet

April 22

Resolving Conflict: How best to deal with difficult situations

April 29

Advanced Excel: Make the most of Excel with its advanced features

May 6

Designing and Creating Effective Newsletters: Create eye-catching, functional newsletters using Microsoft packages

Half Day Courses: £6 to £68 per person with refreshments provided

Discipline and Grievance: Changes in the law that you need to know Useful Skills for New Committee Members: New committee member? Learn the key responsibilities of your new role

February 17

May 14

Four Day Accredited Finance Course £80 per person with lunch provided

Balancing the Books (OCN Accredited Level 2) Gain the practical skills, knowledge and confidence to manage your organisation’s finances

May 20 & 21, June 3 & 4

Free Full Day Volunteering Courses - lunch provided

May 27

Book NOW by contacting

Introduction to Involving Volunteers Volunteers and the Law Recruiting and Matching Volunteers

March 3 March 31 May 5

on 0191 200 8555

Email: • Website: • The Shiremoor Centre, Earsdon Road, Shiremoor, NE27 0HJ


Upclose • February 2009

Elected mayor

This is the time for leadership Dear Resident

Hello and happy New Year to everyone.

I would like to start this month by saying how disappointed I was to hear of the closure of some of our retail stores in the borough and of the difficulties being faced by the Findus factory.

I live in North Tyneside, as do my family and friends, and I understand your concerns about the current economic situation. No one is immune, my family and friends have been affected in just the same way as other people across the borough. I can assure you we are doing everything we can as a council to protect jobs and businesses – particularly small and medium sized – and attract new ones to North Tyneside, where we already have a good track record.

leadership and action. I believe now is the time to plan for the future and to build on what we have achieved since 2005 and to make sure we use the best financial position this council has ever been in to ensure a prosperous future for all.

You can be assured I am committed to doing just that. In fact, as a council we are already providing leadership for the future. We are exploring an apprenticeship scheme that will provide pathways into employment for around 100 people.

I believe that by working together, we can emerge from this economic crisis and continue to make North Tyneside a great place to live, work and play.

I have AMBITION for the borough to ensure opportunities for everyone to have a great future. I am committed to GROWTH to make this happen for the people of North Tyneside.

I want to improve QUALITY OF LIFE by improving our services to make the daily experience of living in North Tyneside the best in the country.

I believe that this can be achieved by providing VALUE FOR MONEY and getting the best value for North Tyneside to deliver the best quality and performance at the optimum cost.

And the reason why I want this to happen is to bring our communities not only CLOSER to the council but also CLOSER to each other.

Free Broadband is a perfect example of how these ambitions can have a direct effect on people’s lives.The scheme provides access to the Internet and learning materials for our young people and allows all residents to access whatever resources they need. We are in the final stages of negotiations with a number of providers and I will be making an announcement very soon.

As your elected mayor, it is my job to provide leadership and direction at this time, to build on our secure financial position and to continue to provide help and support to all our communities.The council has already set up two task groups to look at the support we are able to offer businesses and to ensure the long-term future of our shopping centres across the borough. I believe this is not the time to do nothing and let events take their course.This is the time for decisive

Please feel free to contact me directly by email: or by fax: (0191) 643 2431.

New horizons: Access to the Internet can benefit young and old alike.


‘Looking Local’ North Tyneside Council launches new DigiTV service Imagine being able to check what’s on in North Tyneside or report an abandoned car while watching TV?

oon s g n i m o C de

esi n y T h t r No der ed in n i f e m o H w scheme is launch

is ne ill be When th homes w y t p m e r ered Spring, ou nts regist a c li p p a d d an le to advertise will be ab e m e h c s ey with the homes th in t s e r e t r. n in express a o be considered fo t e k would li

ore call m t u o d n To fi

643 7568

Well, now you’ll be able to, thanks to a new service being provided by the council.

Looking Local is a digital channel through which you can find and use local government services.

It will allow you to request services, report incidents or search for local and national information on subjects such as healthcare, education, transport or community facilities.

How you can access the service:  Press the interactive button on

your remote  Select SKY Active from the menu  Select Services  Select Looking Local (with broadband connection)

Insert the following URL to a browser: LookingLocal/Netgem/home


Upclose • February 2009

 Press interactive  Select News & Info  Select Looking Local


The access path for a 3 Mobile handset is: Services Websites Look up Stuff Looking Local You can however type in the URL to any GPRS/WAP phone nglocal/mobile/home

New recycling bins start to roll out

The borough’s new recycling scheme, which replaces the black boxes with wheeled bins, is December underway!

So far, around 13,000 households have received the new bins and another 74,000 will be delivered between now and June. The 240-litre grey bin comes with a separate caddy inside the top of the bin.

the bin arrives, you will also get a calendar containing some handy hints, how to use the bin and collection dates.

Collections are once a fortnight – on the same day as your rubbish is collected – although not at the same time. Rubbish bins will continue to be collected weekly. Your collection day may be different from the current black box collection, so please check the calendar to find out the new day.

You can continue to use your black The caddy is for glass bottles, jars and box for recyclable materials until your batteries while the main part of the bin new bin arrives.We would encourage is for cardboard, paper, food and drinks you to keep the black box for your cans, plastic bottles and bagged textiles. own use when the new service starts, however if you would like it collected The bins are manufactured in the UK just contact us on the recycling hotline from 70 per cent recycled plastic.They – 0845 2000 112 also feature notches on the lids to help people with visual impairments For more details, please visit one of the distinguish them from the other recycling roadshows, log onto wheeled bins. or email: You will receive a leaflet a few weeks before receiving your new bin.When

On their way: Waste strategy officer Kathryn Waugh with the new bins and some of her colleagues responsible for delivering the scheme.

Recycling roadshows The roadshows will be held between 10am and 4pm at the following locations:

February 27-28 – Oxford Centre car park,West Farm Avenue, Longbenton. March 6-7 – Morrisons, Preston North Road,Tynemouth.

March 27-28 – Sainsbury’s, Earsdon Road, Shiremoor and Aldi car park,Wiltshire Drive,Wallsend.

April 3-4 – Morrisons, Preston North Road,Tynemouth and Beacon Centre, North Shields.

April 24-25 – The Forum Shopping Centre, Segedunum Way, Wallsend. May 1-2 – Tesco, Norham Road, North Shields. May 22-23 – Wallsend Labour Club car park,Windsor Drive, Wallsend.


Owen makes waves It’s the leisure pool famous for its waves – and that proved to be the inspiration for its new name. When Whitley Bay Leisure Pool re-opens following its £6m transformation, it will be called Waves.

Ten year-old Owen Greenwell, a pupil at Monkseaton Middle School, found out he had won a competition to find a new name for the pool when elected mayor John Harrison paid a surprise visit to his school.

Mr Harrison broke the news to Owen in front of the entire school and handed over a prize cheque for £200. He also invited Owen and his classmates to help officially open Waves.

Owen said:“When the mayor came into school I didn’t know what was happening. I couldn’t believe it when he said I’d won the competition.

“Before the pool closed I used to play there with my friend. I knew there were going to be new things like the pirate ship, but the waves were going to stay.

“Because the waves were still going to be there, I thought it would be a good name. I’m really looking forward to playing in the pool with my friends when it opens.”

The council received 379 entries for the pool-naming competition. The judging panel chose the name Waves because it was a popular theme, which had been incorporated into many of the suggestions.

Everyone who specifically suggested Waves was entered into a prize draw to win a mountain bike. Owen’s entry was chosen but because he already has a bike his mother asked if he could receive a cash prize instead.


Upclose • February 2009

The six others who suggested Waves have each received £20 worth of swimming vouchers. Waves is part of the council's £22.5m investment in a £64m regeneration programme for Whitley Bay. It will include:



New ground floor reception Major pool hall improvements New modern changing village Accessibility improvements (including new lifts) New exciting aquatic children’s play equipment (featuring a pirate ship design), three slides plus retention of the wave machine New ground floor soft play area and cafe High quality health suite including a large gym with state-of-the-art equipment, dance studios and saunas Extended car parking.

The work to the leisure pool will be completed later this month to enable an official opening in March.

In the money: Owen celebrates with some of his friends.

Bids invited for Dome site Innovative ideas for the future use of Whitley Bay’s iconic Dome and surrounding land will be considered during February.

North Tyneside recently marketed a site – most of which is in council ownership – including the Spanish City Dome (a Grade Two listed building which dates back to 1910) as well as adjacent land and the Brook Street Gardens site.

Developers were asked to come up with creative mixed-use solutions for the 5.66-acre site, to take forward the £64m regeneration programme for the town. They were challenged to create an innovative high-quality scheme which attracts visitors, supports a sustainable future for the seafront and helps enhance the nearby town centre.

Essential components of any scheme will be:

study of 37 of the largest seaside towns in England, with a population of at least 10,000.

 A high-quality hotel.

Its findings will assist future policy development by providing statistical evidence on socio-economic conditions in seaside towns.

 The sympathetic incorporation of

the Dome into the proposal. It is essential the Dome is useable, whether as part of the hotel, community or cultural use.

 Any residential development must

also be of high quality and fit in with the housing needs of Whitley Bay. A short-listing process will begin later this month.

Whitley Bay economy among strongest

A national survey has identified Whitley Bay as having one of the “strongest local economies among England’s seaside towns”.

The Department for Communities and Local Government commissioned the

And its conclusion, reached after considering a range of data, confirms Whitley Bay has one of the strongest local economies among seaside towns – alongside Bognor Regis, Exmouth, Greater Brighton, Greater Worthing, Sidmouth and Southport.

The study confirmed Whitley Bay has the highest employment rate of any of the 37 seaside towns at 78 per cent and the highest percentage of managers and professionals of any seaside town.

It is the least deprived seaside town in terms of overall living environment and income, and the second least deprived seaside town.

Task forces set up: page 19.

Inside view: Workmen check on the restoration work.


Podcasts for the parks Bright-spark students from Burnside Business and Enterprise College have launched a new funding bid to raise awareness of Wallsend Parks’ heritage.

The council has already been awarded £165,000 by the Heritage Lottery Fund to develop final specifications for a £7m regeneration scheme for the area

Once agreed, the council will submit the second phase of the bid for a further £2.5m of Heritage Lottery funding.

In the meantime, 10 year Nine students from the college are applying for Heritage Lottery funding to create up to 15 interpretation boards across Wallsend Parks.They would be supported by podcasts that could be downloaded from the council and Burnside’s websites.

The students will work with the council and key partners on the project, which will complement the wider Wallsend Parks regeneration project.

Wallsend Parks consists of Prince Road Arboretum, Richardson Dees Park and the Civic Hall grounds.

The regeneration plans will restore Wallsend Parks back to their original beauty while transforming and updating the visitor experience. New facilities to encourage increased use will be introduced, including improved access, new sports facilities and playsite, toilets, café and community training rooms.

In addition, the parks will benefit from the restoration of historic features, including the bowls pavilion, Park Lodge, Duffy Memorial Fountain,Vinery wall and Wallsend Hall upper promenade.

Students from the college have been heavily involved in the development of the regeneration proposals.

They worked on a project to research the parks’ current condition, identify issues and interview local people, council officers and other partner organisations.

Working with a professional film producer, they created a DVD explaining this journey, which accompanied the council’s bid document.

A group of around 50 year Seven students recently took part in a clean-up event at Wallsend Parks (see picture).

The ‘community day’ involved a mock scenario where an oil spill had taken place in the burn and emergency action was required to avoid water pollution.The pupils filled 29 bags with leaves and litter.

Did you know?

 Fifty-eight community events,

ranging from nature trails to carol singing, were held in North Tyneside’s parks and open spaces last year

 Each year the council plants

197,000 summer bedding plants as well as 276,900 spring bedding plants and bulbs

 More than 500 people

attended the Annual Summer Dog Oscars event at Wallsend Parks


Upclose • February 2009

Picture co urtesy of th e News G uardian

 Fifty trees were planted in the

Wallsend Arboretum with help from Burnside Business and Enterprise College students

 Fifty bird-nesting boxes were

installed in cemeteries, parks and waggonways

Clean-up campaign ready to spring into action The Big Spring Clean returns next month after you helped make last year’s initiative such a success.

This year’s campaign will run from March until the end of May and will once again feature the key ways to help make North Tyneside cleaner and greener. They include:

 Report any incidents of graffiti

or fly-tipping

 Don’t drop litter and always

dispose of rubbish responsibly

 Recycle as much of your waste

as possible

 Form a residents’ group to help

In addition, there were 9,376 separate visits to the Big Spring Clean website. You can join us at one of the clean-up events that will be taking place in the borough’s parks. Bags, gloves, hi-visibility vests and litter pickers will be provided. The events start at 10.30am at the following locations:

clean your neighbourhood and take part in a clean-up event

Wallsend Parks – Saturday, March 14

in Bloom.

Killingworth Lake – Saturday, April 18

 Get involved in North Tyneside

It was decided to turn the Big Spring Clean into an annual event after it made such a difference to the borough last year.

Do you know a council employee who has gone beyond the call of duty to provide a great service?

Around 1,270 tonnes of rubbish were removed from our streets, parks and open spaces, 452 ‘grotspots’ were tackled and 30 community clean-up events were staged.

Marden Quarry – Saturday, April 4

Northumberland Park – Saturday, April 25 Silverlink Park – Saturday, May 9

Tell us about them and you could win a meal for two to the value of £50!

All you have to do is to provide the name of the person, their job title or service area (if you know it) and some brief details about why you are nominating them. Don’t forget to include your name and address and a daytime telephone number.The lucky winner will be the first entry drawn.

Send your entry, marked ‘employees competition’ to Steve Forshaw, Marketing & Communications (3rd floor right), Quadrant, Silverlink North, Cobalt Business Park, North Tyneside NE27 0BY.

Entries must arrive by February 27. (Normal terms and conditions apply).


New Specialist Emergency Care Hospital

We would like to hear from you about our proposal to build a new life-saving £75 million Specialist Emergency Care Hospital close to the A19 and A1 on the Northumberland and North Tyneside border. This is part of a £200 million investment to improve our hospitals across Northumberland and North Tyneside. • Patients with life-threatening conditions treated quickly by specialist teams • Multi-million pound investment for our local hospitals For more information visit our website at: or email

Your New NHS, Your New Northumbria

about the Year of Sport! People across the borough – including the young and the not-so-young – are enthusiastically taking up the challenge to get involved in sport or physical activity.

Thousands have joined in a mixture of different events being held to mark North Tyneside’s Year of Sport. More than 2,800 people have taken part in activities under the supervision of a community sports coach while another 1,000 joined a health walk in December. Several hundred over-50s took part in activities during the Age Takes Centre Stage festival – including surfing, badminton, archery and volleyball – while others showed off their footwork at a Strictly Dance event at Marden Bridge Sports Centre. The Year of Sport continues into the summer with a range of events being held at leisure centres and other locations across North Tyneside. A mixture of activities including football, basketball, athletics and dance are being staged during the school holidays in February.

The Parks Sports Centre in North Shields will be staging an activity and consultation day for deaf children and their families on Sunday, March 1. Between midday and 4pm, there will be a range of sporting and physical activities on offer and parents will have a chance to discuss the services available for deaf children.

sports centre and finishes at St Mary’s Lighthouse – taking in the borough’s award-winning coastline on the way. You have to be over 15 to enter and forms are available at local sports centres, community centres and libraries.They can also be downloaded from the council website.

To celebrate the Year of Sport, the council is hosting the inaugural Sports Personality Awards on March 4.

For more information on the Year of Sport or any of the events mentioned, contact the sports development team on 643 7447.

As well as showcasing talented performers, the awards aim to highlight the often unsung work of coaches, officials and volunteers.

The council has received national recognition for its range of healthy walks.

The deadline for the next round of applications for the Talented Sports Performer grants is March 24. Application forms and more information are available from the sports development team on 643 7447. Meanwhile, runners are being invited to get on their marks for the fifth North Tyneside 10K Road Race. The event, which takes place on Easter Sunday (April 12), starts at The Parks

It has gained Natural England’s Walking the Way to Health accreditation for the variety of short healthy walks, led by qualified leaders.

The walks provide an excellent form of exercise and are a great way to meet people and form friendships.

More information about the various walks is available from either Steven Chater or Gillian Adam on 643 7442.

Former PM Tony Blair visited the Asda store in Benton to launch the supermarket chain’s Sporting Chance initiative, which encourages staff to train as sports coaches or officials. The partnership between Asda and the Tony Blair Sports Foundation is being supported by the council’s Year of Sport initiative.

Elected mayor John Harrison said:“Our commitment to sport can be seen in our investment of around £30m in leisure facilities and the Year of Sport aims to open up sport to as many people as possible – inspiring them to get active, get involved and reap the benefits.”


Adult Social Care reaches for the stars

The council’s Adult Social Care service has been awarded the highest possible rating in a government performance assessment. People in North Tyneside are judged to be receiving a three-star service, which has excellent capacity for improvement. The Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) made the judgment in a national assessment of social care teams for 2007/08. Two years ago, the borough’s Adult Social Care service was awarded only one star. Since then the council has modernised services, which has


Upclose • February 2009

contributed to year-on-year improvements in the star rating. Investments in services for older and vulnerable people include around £100m to transform sheltered accommodation and a £32.5m programme over five years to provide a rapid response home care service. Our Adult Social Care service is judged to be excellent in the specific areas of improving health and emotional well-being; making a positive contribution; maintaining personal dignity and respect; leadership; the commissioning and use of resources. Elected mayor John Harrison said:“This confirms that North Tyneside residents are benefiting from first-class services. In the past, some Adult Social Care services weren’t meeting the needs of local people.

“That’s why we began a modernisation programme, which involved major investments in the right services and introducing more effective ways of delivering others.

“Some of the decisions were challenging and meant our team worked closely and personally with all those affected by the changes. “However, I believe the announcement shows we were right to transform services and make major investments.

“I would like to congratulate everyone in the Adult Social Care team, as well as our partners, for all their efforts – they should be very proud of this achievement.”

No need to wait

Vulnerable residents who require support to lead independent lives no longer have to wait for their needs to be assessed.

The Community Occupational Therapy (OT) Team provides specialist assessments to disabled people or those with a long-term illness that causes significant problems with daily living. Two years ago, the service had an 18-week waiting time for an assessment to take place. However, following a review of the assessment process and how cases are allocated, the waiting list has now been eliminated.

The Community OT Team recently took on an additional occupational therapist, as part of the council’s work to modernise and improve Adult Social Care services. Cases are allocated within days of a referral being received by the team.

Seeing stars: Staff at Dorset House celebrate the assessment rating.

Scheme provides support

The council has launched a scheme to provide support to carers during an emergency.

The Carers’ Emergency Break Service will provide up to 48 hours free home support when a carer is unable to carry out their usual role. It will run at any time during the day or night and is available to the carers of any adults or children living in the borough. Elected mayor John Harrison said: “Carers are the unsung heroes of the borough. “This new service will provide them with the peace of mind that if something does happen, the care they provide will continue to be delivered.” Carers are invited to contact the council, which will then work with them to develop a personal emergency plan. Once the plan has been set up, the carer will carry a registration card bearing a unique reference number, which is quoted when the plan needs to be activated. For more details, contact Eileen Mullen on 200 6289 or email:


Time to share your worries

It happens to everyone from time to time. You can’t quite put a name to someone’s face or you forget where you’ve put your keys.

Often, such lapses are due to tiredness or simply having too much to do. But if your forgetfulness – or that of someone you know – is getting worse or beginning to interfere with everyday life, it could be the beginning of a specific medical problem such as dementia.

However, there is support, advice and a range of material available for people with dementia and their families. There are also treatments that can temporarily alleviate some symptoms, so don’t ignore it – share your worries and seek expert advice. Problems with memory needn’t stop you, or someone you care about, making the most of life. But if there is a medical reason for your forgetfulness, the earlier you seek help the better.

Talk to your GP – they can assess you and perhaps refer you to a memory clinic or specialist for further tests. You can also contact the Alzheimer’s Society for a free information booklet about understanding dementia.

Useful contacts

Alzheimer’s Society dementia helpline T – 0845 300 0336 (8.30am to 6.30pm, Monday to Friday.Trained advisers can provide confidential help and advice.) E – Alzheimer’s Society (North Tyneside branch) T – 257 1245 E –

More than 100 people attended the annual Older People’s Stakeholder Event at the council’s HQ at Quadrant.

The purpose of the event – part of Age Takes Centre Stage – was to celebrate older people and gather their views on a range of issues.

The information will be used to produce a new Older People’s Strategy, which will encompass health and social care priorities.

The Alzheimer’s Society,Age Concern North Tyneside, the local primary care trust, the police and the council were among the groups who took part in the event.


Upclose • February 2009

Ruby launches new scheme A former resident of Sir James Bowman House residential care home in Killingworth has helped start work on a new extra care scheme being built on the site.

Ruby Chipperfield (right) attended the ground-breaking ceremony to launch construction of the state-of-the-art scheme – called Rowan Croft – which will feature 45 two-bedroom apartments for older people. Ruby is living in an extra care scheme in the borough after leaving Sir James Bowman House. Meanwhile, work has also started on a new extra care scheme at the Linskill Centre in North Shields. Both projects, worth a total of £14.4m, are the result of a partnership between Housing 21, North Tyneside Council and Frank Haslam (FHM). Funding for the schemes has been supported by grants from the Housing Corporation and the Department of Health. Extra care supports older people with a range of needs, from fairly low-level support to those with a higher level of care. It gives residents their own home in a communal scheme, which has care and support staff available 24 hours a day. Because it provides a long-term housing option, it enables couples that may otherwise have been separated by the care needs of one partner to stay together. As well as independent living accommodation, residents enjoy facilities including communal lounges, a restaurant, hairdressing salon and health/therapy room. Both schemes, which will also feature day centres, are due for completion early next year.

Care home residents benefit from advice

People living in residential care homes are getting the benefits they are entitled to – thanks to a new scheme. The council has teamed up with Age Concern North Tyneside and the local pension service to provide comprehensive benefits advice to people funding their own care in residential care homes. So far, 18 people have been in touch and of those only three were found to be in receipt of the correct benefits.

Six people had their Attendance Allowance increased from £44.85 to £67 per week. A further person had their Pension Credit increased.

Others are waiting for the results of their applications. Family members have also been given information on how they become appointees for a care home resident.

For more details of this free service, contact Debbie Fishwick at North Tyneside Council on 200 5040.



your life

work Are you a lone parent looking for flexible work? Are you claiming incapacity benefit? Do you lack the skills to find the job you want?

Start 2 Earn can help find a job for you 0191 200 7198

Changes to horticulture show

The Horticulture and Health Show 2009 will take place at The Parks Sports Centre on the weekend of August 22/23. A number of changes have been made for this year’s event, including extra classes in the home cooking and children’s categories.

And for the first time, the show will feature a photography competition – with the theme of gardens or gardening in North Tyneside. A separate application form for the photography competition will be available from February 23 at libraries, the council website or by ringing 643 7459 or 643 7450. Outdoor facilities development officer Mike Brannigan said:“I’m sure the

changes we have made for this year’s show will make it even more popular.

“Whether you’re an experienced grower or have never shown anything before, there is a class suitable for you.” This year’s categories include vegetables, fruit, flowers, novelties, home cooking plus classes for novice exhibitors and children.

A full schedule for this year’s show is available at local libraries and allotment associations, or by phoning 643 7459/7450. You can also download a schedule from the council website – – by clicking on leisure and culture, then countryside and horticulture, then allotments.

Task forces set up

Elected mayor John Harrison has set up two task forces to support local business and retail centres through the current economic crisis.

The Business Task Force – a partnership with One NorthEast and the Homes and Communities Agency – will complement a retail centres task group looking to ensure a stable future for the borough’s towns and shopping centres.

“Recent announcements by companies such as Marks & Spencer and Woolworths show that even the biggest businesses are not immune to the global situation,” said Mr Harrison. “But we recognise we need to provide specific local support to protect our business sector, which is crucial to the future vitality of North Tyneside.”

Mr Harrison, who has met representatives from the main 10 employers in the borough to discuss the crisis, wants the Business Task Force to include not only the larger firms but also medium and smaller-sized organisations.

Meanwhile, a report to cabinet has highlighted the fact that North Tyneside is more economically resilient than the rest of the region. The borough has seen 600 new businesses created during the last five years, helping to achieve a more diverse local economy. Mr Harrison said:“In meeting people across the borough, I know times are hard but I have every confidence that, by working together, we will have the resilience to get through theses difficulties.”

A-Z guide published The 2009 edition of the A-Z guide to council services is currently being distributed to homes in the borough.

Copies of the easy-to-use guide are also available at customer service centres, community centres, libraries and other council offices.

Each listing in the guide includes a brief description of the service and a contact phone number. In many cases, email addresses are also provided.

Residents can find out more about council services – and contact many of them – via the North Tyneside website:


Eco-house takes shape

The council’s cabinet has approved a draft climate change strategy that sets out the authority’s commitment to protect the environment for future generations. It includes four key principles:  Reducing carbon dioxide

equivalent emissions.

 Supporting communities to

adapt to the impact of climate change.

 Raising awareness of sustainable

Young helpers: Pupils from Richardson Dees at the launch of the project.

The council is leading the way in transforming a neighbourhood blackspot into a showcase for sustainable development.

A former caretaker’s house, on the site of Richardson Dees Primary School in Wallsend, had stood vacant for more than three years and became an eyesore as it fell into disrepair.

But it is now being transformed into an ‘eco-house’ – demonstrating that older properties can be adapted easily to utilise the best in renewable and sustainable energy.

The house will incorporate not only sustainable construction and materials but also the latest technologies – including rainwater harvesting, solar hot


Upclose • February 2009

water, underfloor heating linked to the air source heat pump, energy efficient lighting and comprehensive insulation.

North Tyneside Strategic Partnership suggested the scheme and the council’s Construction Group is currently modifying the brick building.

The three-bedroom house, which will be let to a new tenant, has been designed to be durable, low maintenance and with an environmentally-responsible finish. It includes a high level of internal insulation and sustainable timber double-glazed windows.

The impact of the eco-technology used in the design will be monitored to help the council consider the best approach for future developments.


 Delivering a carbon management

action plan.

Among the projects being set up by the council is to develop and implement education and trainimg events to raise awareness in local communities of climate change and how they can reduce their impact on it.

The council also plans to map species and habitats at risk through climate change; develop a green management plan for its fleet of vehicles and integrate cycle routes within town centres by September 2011.

The authority recently set up a special unit to encourage all sections of the council to put sustainability, or long-term development, at the heart of everything they do.

“Our generation must tackle climate change,” said Cllr John Stirling, cabinet member for Sustainable Development.“This strategy provides a blueprint and outlines what we, as an authority, will do to meet the challenges posed by climate change.”

helping hand From librarians to leisure centre managers, dozens of council staff have given up their own time to help improve some of the borough’s worst grotspots.

Employees were split into teams and invited to work with communities to improve problem areas.

These included:Archer Street Memorial and Nature Reserve, Wallsend; land at Bridge Road South, Meadow Well; land and woodland next to Firtree Avenue,Wallsend;Annitsford Pond,Annitsford; Fordley Marsh (the woodland area behind Love Avenue), Fordley; the area behind Amberley Community Primary School, Killingworth.

Splash of colour: Shrubs and a new flowerbed transform the Archer Street site.

Helping hands: Members of the Pumas under-10 soccer team from Killingworth Young People’s Club take a break from tidying up land behind Amberley Primary School.

Clean team: Youngsters from Willington Quay and Howdon Boys and Girls Club helped in the clean-up at the Archer Street Memorial.

Environment update

Staff lend a


NorthTyneside Strategic Partnership

Vow to improve late-night safety Key decision-makers have vowed to tackle drink-related problems in Whitley Bay after touring the area.

Leading members of the North Tyneside Strategic Partnership (NTSP) joined the late-night tour, which took in Whitley Bay town centre including South Parade;Whitley Bay police station; the A&E unit at North Tyneside General Hospital and the custody suite at North Shields police station. The tour was organised after concerns from residents about an increase in anti-social behaviour caused by drunkenness and led by Chief Supt Steve Storey (North Tyneside Area Commander) and Elected Mayor John Harrison (Chair of the NTSP).

After seeing the issues at first hand, NTSP executive members will now develop an action plan to improve safety in the area.

Mr Harrison said: “People told us they are concerned about drunkenness and disorder, particularly in Whitley Bay, so we wanted to see some of those problems for ourselves rather than simply discuss them around a table. “More than £60m has been invested in the regeneration of Whitley Bay, which will make the area a high-quality cultural hub.That makes it vitally important all North Tyneside’s partner organisations work together to make it a safer place that all residents and visitors can enjoy.” Chief Supt Steve Storey said: "This was a really valuable opportunity for the NTSP to see the issues relating to policing Whitley Bay town centre at a weekend.

“It allowed us to demonstrate how we police the night-time economy and point out the steps we could take as a partnership to make the town centre an even safer place."

Kevin Hindmarsh, chairman of Whitley Bay Pubwatch and designated premises supervisor of 42nd Street bar, said his organisation worked in partnership with the police, council and other agencies to make the area safer and more enjoyable. Pubwatch has recently launched a poster campaign ‘naming and shaming’ people barred from premises in Whitley Bay. North Tyneside Strategic Partnership includes representatives from North Tyneside Council, Northumbria Police, Tyne & Wear Fire and Rescue Service, the Primary Care Trust, learning organisations, and the voluntary and community sector.

Fact finding: Chief Supt Steve Storey with colleagues on the NTSP tour .


Upclose • February 2009

Contact NTSP • Tel: (0191) 643 5608 • Email: •

North Tyneside sets the standard Agencies across the borough have set out how they will continue to tackle anti-social behaviour. A new strategy, called Setting the Standard, has been developed by the North Tyneside Crime and Disorder Reduction and Misuse of Drugs Partnership.

The aim is to build on the results already achieved in tackling anti-social behaviour, which has included:

 A 14 per cent increase since 2005

in the number of residents who feel safe outside after dark.

 A 15 per cent reduction since

2007 in the number of residents who feel vandalism and graffiti are problems in their area.

 Anti-social behaviour on some

housing estates reduced by up to 40 per cent.

 National recognition for the work

of the council’s Safer Estates Team.

Setting the Standard – Tackling Anti-Social Behaviour and Bringing Communities Together in North Tyneside focuses on four key areas; education, prevention, support and enforcement.

Elected mayor John Harrison said: “Tackling anti-social behaviour is a top priority.

“We’ve achieved some excellent results that have contributed to this borough remaining the lowest crime area in Tyne and Wear.

“However, we’re not complacent, which is why this strategy sets out how key agencies in the borough will work

Crackdown on nuisance neighbours Scores of troublemakers faced action by the council and police during a week-long crackdown in December.

Operation Respect tackled nuisance neighbours in the Forest Hall area and

provided support to those affected by their behaviour.

The initiative was run by the Safer Estates Team and housing patch officers in conjunction with the Forest Hall community policing team.

together to make North Tyneside even safer.”

Chief Supt Steve Storey, North Tyneside Area Commander, said: "We're aware some residents do suffer from anti-social behaviour, which is caused by a small minority of people.

“For some, this can cause major problems and make them feel unsafe. This is why, working with our colleagues in the partnership, we've signed up to this new anti-social behaviour strategy which will provide practical solutions to help residents.

"Northumbria Police has neighbourhood policing teams working in our communities and we would ask anyone suffering from anti-social behaviour to make contact with their local officers on 03456 043 043."

Results included:  Twenty-six people from the Forest

Hall, Killingworth, Burradon and Longbenton areas promised to change their ways after signing Acceptable Behaviour Agreements (ABAs).

 Thirty-one residents received an

early morning visit by the Safer Estates Team, accompanied by police officers from the local community policing team.

 Police community support officers

and housing officers delivered more than 1,000 letters reassuring residents that a problem of anti-social behaviour in their street was being addressed.The letters also provided direct line telephone numbers and incident diary sheets.

 Two council tenants in Charnwood

Crackdown: Insp Pam Bridges, Longbenton resident Pam Hanson and Safer Estates Manager Colin Boxshall.

Avenue, Longbenton gave up their tenancies rather than face legal action.


Musicians show their steel The North Tyneside Steelband is forging a national reputation. Up Close finds out how far the band has come in two decades.

Twenty years ago, there were no steelbands at all in the North East. Then two started up – one in Whitley Bay, the other in Heaton – and local musicians started to master the steelpan and discover how versatile the instrument can be. During the summer, their successors in the North Tyneside Steelband put the borough firmly on the musical map by winning the ‘outstanding performance’ award at the National Music for Youth Festival in Birmingham.


Upclose • February 2009

The band had won through to the finals, which saw more than 3,000 entries, after a stunning performance at a regional festival in Blaydon earlier in the year.

“I’ve been really proud of some of the band’s performances in the past but this was something special,” said musical director Dave Edwards.

“They found themselves on the same stage with some of the top young steelbands in the country and they really showed what they could do!” Following their success, several of the more experienced players joined

Caribbean Steel International to take part in the Notting Hill Carnival.

And the band was asked to take part in the final night of the Schools’ Proms at the Royal Albert Hall in November.

“It was a fantastic honour for the band,” said Dave Edwards.“It’s recognition of the high quality of musicianship of young people in the borough.”

North Tyneside Steelband – which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year – has recorded three CDs and plays a wide variety of music, including traditional Caribbean, pop, classical and jazz.

Your group

“Many of our players are very accomplished on other instruments, a few only play steelpan.

“A good musician with commitment could progress from beginner to the performance band within 12 months. It takes longer for some a few take less time, but they all progress at their own pace.”

The band runs weekly sessions, supported by the council, at beginners, intermediate, adult and performance level.

There are also four outreach facilities across the region, enabling more than 300 people to access steelband activities.

North Tyneside Steelband is open to anyone who has a committed interest in steelpan.

The musicians meet every Tuesday and Wednesday evening during term-time at the Langdale Centre in Howdon.

The performance band plays around 60 times a year at local schools and churches, as well as festivals and other events across the country.

For more details about the band, contact Dave Edwards on 0775 360 4281 or email:

Working closer with communities

The musicians are capable of performing at a wide variety of events – anything from a family picnic in Wideopen to a wedding at Langley Castle. And some of the players also teach different steelbands in local schools.

“We currently have around 50 players in total,” said Dave Edwards.“We accept, and encourage, new members of any musical ability and experience.

North Shields Area Forum

The next forum will be held on Thursday, February 12 at St Columba’s United Reformed Church, Northumberland Square, North Shields (6.30 to 8.30pm)

Items on the agenda include: • Police Issues • Heritage Strategy • Mayor’s Well-Being Fund

This forum is open to anyone who lives or works in North Shields and would like to be involved in helping to improve and resolve local issues. So come along and find out what’s happening in your area.

For more details, email: 25

Fines of up to £5,000 for not using an authorised person to dispose of your waste.

Your waste, your responsibility. We’re watching you. Call 08708 506 506 for information on licensed waste carriers

FLY-TIPPING SERIOUS CRIME, SERIOUS PUNISHMENT The Swat Fly-tipping Project in partnership with your local authority

New fund benefits neighbourhoods “As we share a private road with the school and Dorset House, we wished to create a visually impressive garden that the community can enjoy, whether they’re children, older people, visitors or residents.

“We’re particularly keen for pupils from the school to tell us what they would like to see in the garden.”

A new garden project is set to blossom in Wallsend – thanks to the Elected Mayor’s Neighbourhood Well-Being Fund. Beardall Court, a supported independent-living scheme for people with learning disabilities, successfully bid for the maximum £10,000 award to create a new garden for the community to enjoy. The scheme was among 32 projects that applied for funding to help improve their local area. At a special event in Quadrant, all the applicants were able to vote for their choice to receive the money, although they couldn’t vote for themselves.

Two other projects were awarded up to £5,000 each while 14 were awarded up to £1,000.

Beardall Court in Station Road provides 24-hour independent housing support for eight tenants.They plan to turn an open space at the front of the building into a visually impressive garden area.

Tenants will form a focus group and invite others to join it, including the nearby St Columba’s RC Primary School and Dorset House rehabilitation and respite care centre.

Registered manager Karen Gardner said:“We are very proud and honoured to be awarded the grant. All the staff and tenants are now inspired to create a garden that we hope the community will be proud of.” She added garden design and development could be a therapeutic and rewarding experience.

“All our tenants have participated in developing the back garden area since we opened in 2004.They have their own plots and we hold our own annual ‘In Bloom’ competition.

Applications to the community and voluntary sector well-being fund - open to all constituted groups - closes on February 20. For an application form, contact Felicity Shoesmith on 643 7071, email felicity.shoesmith, or write to Felicity Shoesmith, Quadrant, North Tyneside Council, Silverlink North, Cobalt Business Park, North Tyneside, NE27 0BY.

Two projects win £5,000 awards Residents of Lovaine Place, North Shields received one of the £5,000 awards to create a garden area.The garden will be designed, developed and maintained by local residents.

The second £5,000 award went to Burradon and Camperdown Forum to commission an artist to create a montage commemorating the 150th anniversary of the mining disaster of 1860.

The montage will also depict colliery village life. Older miners interested in getting involved in the project are asked to contact Miss Hunter, deputy head of Burradon Community Primary School, on 200 8345.


Praise for diabetes project People receiving treatment for diabetes have praised a project helping them to make decisions about their own care.

The Diabetes Year of Care project aims to strengthen the relationship

between healthcare professionals and people with diabetes living in North Tyneside and West Northumberland.

Together, they draw up a care plan and ensure the local support services are identified and available.

“With the information I am given, I feel that I am more able to control my condition,” said Doris Fulthorpe, 83, of North Shields, who has had Type 2 diabetes for at least 10 years. “I now receive my test results on a printout, which is really helpful, and my doctor has prescribed me a different medication to improve my condition. The care I receive is excellent.”

Her comments were echoed by Agnes Layton, 73, of North Shields, who also has Type 2 diabetes.

Exciting opportunity: Project manager Rachel Turnbull.

She said:“My doctor wants to know how he can help me, so it’s a two-way conversation. I now know how I can help myself and how they can help me.”

North Tyneside Primary Care Trust and Northumberland Care Trust were selected to take part in the national scheme.

The National Diabetes Support Team and Diabetes UK are leading the project, in partnership with the Department of Health and The Health Foundation.

“It’s an exciting opportunity to look at how diabetes services can be improved so that patients feel more able to become involved in making decisions about their care,” said project manager Rachel Turnbull.

Many local GP surgeries are inviting patients to a special appointment – to carry out medical tests and measurements – before their annual review.

“This allows people the opportunity to think about what the results mean for them, and what kind of questions they might like to ask, before they go along for their annual review,” said Rachel.


Upclose • February 2009

Adult education can be life-changing! For some people, enrolling on an adult learning course can lead to mastering a new skill or making new friends.

But for others, it can be a move that really does change lives.

This month, Up Close looks at two people from North Tyneside whose newly-found skills are helping others – both in the borough and abroad.

For more details about the wide range of courses run by North Tyneside Adult Learning Alliance, phone 200 1627/1628 or check the council website:

The new prospectus will be distributed to homes in the borough in late June. Copies will also be available at libraries and community centres.

Neil’s story

Neil Stoker, from Whitley Bay, is using skills he gained at a local jewellerymaking course to help workers in developing countries.

He works for Shared Interest – a fair trade company that lends money to help communities earn a decent living by selling handcrafted goods and produce.

Neil wanted to develop his knowledge of jewellery making and joined an Adult Learning Alliance jewellery course in Whitley Bay.

“I liked the idea of using beads and other materials from developing countries,” he said.“The classes have given me the skills to develop my interest and turn it into something that sits alongside the worthwhile work I do at Shared Interest.”

Lesley’s story

An adult learning course helped Lesley Sweeney, from Killingworth, get her life back on track.

Her early years were chaotic and difficult, including being expelled from several schools, having a baby at 17 and spending time in a women’s refuge.

Her health deteriorated and in her late 30s she suffered a collapsed lung and was unable to walk for a spell. At an all-time low, Lesley decided her life needed to change. She saw an Adult Learning Alliance computer class advertised in her local community centre.

To find out more about Shared Interest and how to invest money in the developing world, please contact: From there, she took literacy and numeracy classes and obtained the Level 2 national qualifications.

Happily married, she has trained as a learning support worker and helps learners with dyslexia at an open learning centre in North Shields. Lesley also finds time to attend a creative writing course at the Shiremoor Centre.

“I never thought I would be able to write,” she said.“Now I’m writing stories for my grandson, Dylan, and putting together my life story.

“Adult learning classes have boosted my confidence and helped me to persuade others to take up classes. Learning can benefit anyone, whatever their background.”


ELECTIONS 2009 On June 4, 2009 there will be a combined European Parliamentary and Mayoral Election

Are you registered to vote? Later this month, every household in North Tyneside will receive a letter giving details of all those in the household who are registered on the Register of Electors. If the information is correct you do not need to reply. 30

Upclose • February 2009

If the information is not correct, you must contact the Electoral Services Team by:

Telephone – (0191) 643 2270 Email –

Or in writing to: Electoral Services, North Tyneside Council, Quadrant,The Silverlink North Cobalt Business Park, North Tyneside NE27 0BY

Act now, don’t lose your right to vote!

is on its way

Mobile library If you have difficulty visiting your local library, North Tyneside can bring the library to you!

The council’s mobile library, which is packed with more than 1,000 books and DVDs, visits all parts of the borough.

Regular stops include Beacon Drive, Brunswick Green;Woodlea Square, North Shields; East Howdon Community Centre; Murton Village; Sainsburys near Northumberland Park and the Kittiwake pub in Whitley Lodge.

Library membership is free and if you are already a member, you can use your

North Tyneside ticket at the mobile, or any other library.

If you can’t find the item you want, and it is available at another branch, the mobile can bring it to you free of charge.

Staff are happy to offer advice and assistance and the mobile has a passenger lift to help those who cannot use steps.

If you would like the mobile to visit your area, or check if we already stop nearby, phone 200 5424.You can also obtain more details at your local library or email:

 Work has started on a new

library and family-learning centre in Howdon.

The new building will include meeting rooms, a conservatory, under-fives play area and garden.

Local people, including parents’ groups and the youth forum, were involved in developing the project.

A temporary library is available in the former housing office next door while work is taking place. The new building is due to open in December.

 Award-winning crime writer Val

McDermid – creator of Wire in the Blood – will be appearing at North Shields library on March 19 at 7pm.

Her latest book,A Darker Domain, is a psychological thriller set at the time of the miners’ strike.

Tickets, which include a free glass of wine, are available from North Shields library (200 5424), price £2.

Watch out for other events involving leading authors at your local library during the next few months.


Primary Care Trusts are the local part of your such as those provided by GPs, district nurses,

Special guest Anna drops in

Metro Radio’s Anna Foster dropped in to North Tyneside’s new One to One centre recently to help celebrate the improved sexual health service.

The service’s main base moved to new premises at Brenkley Avenue, Shiremoor last year after a complete refurbishment of the building.

Helen McIlveen, North Tyneside PCT’s head of sexual health services, (pictured right with Anna) said: ”We were delighted that Anna came to visit our service and meet our staff.

“She’s a great role model to young women and through her role as a radio


Upclose • February 2009

presenter she helps people to see that using sexual health services is perfectly normal - it’s just like any other health service.

“We want people to know that this service is their service - it’s confidential, it’s free, open at convenient times and really user-friendly.”

The One to One centre offers all aspects of sexual health advice and telephone support.

Opening hours for the centre are Mondays to Thursdays (9am to 7.30pm), Fridays (9am to 5pm) and Saturdays (10.30am to 1.30pm). For further information, please phone 297 0441.

NHS and run community healthcare services, health visitors and specialist therapists.

Want to stop smoking? Going smoke free is the single biggest thing you can do to improve your health and evidence shows that you're more likely to stop smoking for good if you get the right support.

Using FREE NHS stop smoking services means you are FOUR times more likely to quit for good.

At our community drop-in clinics, there is no need to make an appointment – you can just drop in, see a trained stop smoking advisor and be on your way to being smoke-free straight away. The drop-in sessions are at:

 The Parks Leisure Centre, North Shields – Mondays, 5.30-7.30pm  Oxford Centre, Longbenton Thursdays, 5.30-7.30pm  Wallsend Children’s Centre, North Rd – Wednesdays, 5.30-7pm  Howdon Children’s Centre, Howdon Lane – Tuesdays, 5.30-7pm

Best cure for cold is you!

‘The number one cure for colds and flu is you’ – is the message being given to local residents as part of a campaign to stop people overusing antibiotics. The campaign, which features on TV, regional radio, posters and leaflets in GP practices and health centres, warns of the hidden dangers of the overuse of antibiotics.

The TV commercial adapts Bob Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues with the message:‘forget antibiotics – the

number one cure for colds and flu is you’.

It emphasises healthy adults can fight off most types of infection themselves and antibiotics will not cure many common complaints such as colds and flu. The campaign aims to stop unnecessary requests for antibiotics and help people understand why their doctor may not prescribe antibiotics for them. It has been organised by 12 primary care trusts across the North East.To watch the advert online, visit

 Shiremoor Resource Centre, Earsdon Rd - Tuesdays, 4pm - 6pm  YMCA North Shields – Wednesday, noon – 2pm  Lakeside Centre, Killingworth – Wednesday, 4pm – 6pm  Tyne Met College (coast road campus) – Thursday, noon – 2pm

Throughout February, you can also get FREE stop smoking support along with your weekly shop when you visit any of these supermarkets on Saturdays between 10.30am and 12.30pm:  Asda Superstore,Whitley Road, Benton  Tesco Extra, Norham Road, North Shields  Alliance Pharmacy in the Killingworth Centre, Killingworth  Alliance Pharmacy in the Forum Shopping Centre,Wallsend

For more information, contact the Newcastle and North Tyneside Stop Smoking Service on 219 5111.

NHS Direct

You can ring 0845 46 47 day or night, including bank holidays, for general health information or advice on what to do if you are feeling ill. 33

one voice

Group speaks with Caring for a disabled child is often difficult and it can be made worse by the complexities of the educational, health and social care systems. Many parents feel their voice is unheard and are bewildered by the number of organisations they may have to deal with on a regular basis. But a group of parents and carers in North Tyneside are now working with council staff and other agencies – supported by Contact a Family, a UK charity for families with disabled children – to make sure things change for the better. During the last 18 months, the North Tyneside Parents Steering Group has helped to stage two conferences, called


Upclose • February 2009

Parents of disabled children are working together to shape the way care services in North Tyneside are structured. This is their story.

All Together Better; set up focus groups to look at key issues and forged stronger links with a range of organisations. Current focus groups are working on the issues of information, the role of keyworkers, short break care, transition and leisure opportunities.

“Setting up the focus groups shows things are moving forward,” said Kath Ainsley, from Whitley Bay, whose eldest son Matthew has Down’s Syndrome.

“Issues are being addressed and we feel the group is allowing parents and carers have a genuine influence on the way local services are structured.” The parents on the steering group are from different backgrounds, and their children have a wide range of disabilities, but they share the same aim – to improve services for families with disabled children within North Tyneside. As one parent said:“We all get tied up in trying to define disability and which definition is most appropriate.

Proud of our borough

Caring for a disabled child touches the lives of many families in North Tyneside.

Cllr Norma Redfearn, cabinet member for Children,Young People and Learning, said:“All too often, parents and carers have rightly complained that no one is listening to either their views or their concerns about the services their children are receiving.

One in five children in the borough have a disability, additional need or life-limiting illness. And 88 per cent (more than 4,600) have behavioural, emotional and social difficulties.

“I have no doubt the efforts of the group, coupled with the support of council staff and partner agencies, is helping to improve services in the borough.”

A common thread among the people who attended the second All Together Better conference in October was a sense of relief at the knowledge they were not alone.

The next All Together Better conference will take place on March 27 at the Grand Hotel,Tynemouth. Parents will be talking about the progress made by the focus groups and other issues.

“This detracts from what is really important, which is the needs of the children and their families.”

“The best part of the day was talking to other parents, who could identify with my problems,” said one.“It was listening to others in the same situation,” said another. Unless you are the parent or carer of a disabled child, it is perhaps difficult to realise the range of different agencies that can be involved on a regular basis. Information used by Contact a Family lists 20 different services, including social work, paediatrics, education, health visitors and welfare benefits. The group is tackling this and other issues by harnessing the strengths of both parents and professionals, who all care and want to make things better.

For more details about the conference, or the North Tyneside Parents Steering Group, please contact the administrator Alison Storey on 643 8761.

Fun in the sun: Youngsters enjoy the Summer Fun Day at the Rising Sun.

The work of the focus groups

Members are currently looking at five separate issues:

Information – Providing parents with accessible and up-to-date information. Ideas include a dedicated website and a newsletter for families with disabled children.

Keyworker – Providing someone to speak on a parent’s behalf. A person who knows the child, and their history, and can keep everyone informed.

Short Break Care – Providing meaningful respite care when families need it and without having to battle bureaucracy to get it.

Transition – Making it easier for families to adapt to the change from children’s to adult services.

Leisure – Providing more activities, such as the Summer Fun Day at the Rising Sun Country Park.

“Our children want to be happy, feel safe and included,” said Kath Ainsley. “They also want to express their individuality and fulfil their potential. “I feel that, by working together, we are helping them to achieve those goals.” Parents and carers who attended the last conference organised by the group have identified a range of future issues to look at, including education, welfare rights, transport, equipment and assessments.


Different skills but shared vision School governors come from many walks of life. They may have different skills and expertise and they often have different interests and education priorities.

But they all have one thing in common – a strong desire to raise the standards of education for children and young people in North Tyneside.

And through their dedication, governors make a tremendous contribution in all our schools.They work closely with the head teacher and staff and share with them a vision for their school. They are actively involved in recruiting staff, developing new resources, overseeing the school’s budget and so much more.

Across the borough, governing bodies are working – often behind the scenes – to make sure their school is striving to achieve the best it can for its pupils.

Until very recently, Clive Ferguson was a member of this unsung band. A former teacher, he served as a governor at West Moor Middle until it closed as part of the restructure of schools in the Killingworth area.

He then became a governor at Ivy Road Primary in Forest Hall, serving for nearly 20 years.


Upclose • February 2009

School governors may have different backgrounds but they share a common goal – to do the best for their school. Up Close finds out what the role involves. Clive also served on the education authority’s health and safety forum and was a member of the education appeals panel.

“In my view,” he said,“being a school governor is much more about what you can help the school to achieve than any ‘feel good’ benefits for yourself.

“The highlights for me are when I have been able to use my experience in the field of education to benefit the pupils and staff in the schools where I have been a governor.”

If you are interested, you can consider becoming a governor either as a parent at your child’s school or as a community or local authority governor at a school in the borough.

Although it takes personal commitment to become a good governor, the council’s Governor Services team are

available to help all governors develop their skills.

“I can remember being a bit overwhelmed by all those knowledgeable people around me when I first started,” said Clive.

“But if you are interested, don’t be frightened, give it a try.There are plenty of people who will offer their help and support.”

How to get involved

There are vacancies for governors at some schools in the borough.

You will have to give up some of your time and there are no financial rewards but you will have the chance to make a real difference.

If you would like more details, please contact Governor Services on 643 8715 and ask for either Jacki Kelly or Tracy Young.

Anyone interested in becoming a governor will be subject to the appropriate checks, such as Criminal Records Bureau disclosure, before taking up a post.

Raising standards: Clive Ferguson and Susan Watts, head at Ivy Road Primary, with pupils Jade Smith, Bethany Holland, Darren Dickson and Kally Leigh.

Keeping children safe from harm is everybody’s business Since it was established, regular As parents, government reviews have looked at grandparents, guardians, the work carried out by the LSCB and family members, friends have rated it as ‘top performing’. and members of a The board continually checks it is doing community, we all have everything it possibly can to protect our children and prevent harm. a responsibility to Any staff working directly with children ensure our children are are also continually monitored and well looked after, safe trained. and secure. Help us to help children

It is also a key priority for those who work with children – from teachers and social workers to doctors.

And it is also the responsibility of the large organisations within the borough.

In 2004, a dedicated team was set up in North Tyneside whose ultimate aim is to ensure the safety and protection of every single child in the borough.

This team – known as the Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) brings together organisations working with children in North Tyneside, including the council, North Tyneside Primary Care Trust, Northumbria Police, Northumbria Probation Service, Barnardo’s North East, the NSPCC, Northumbria healthcare NHS trust and Connexions Tyne & Wear.

It’s important you tell us if you have any suspicions a child may be at risk of neglect or harm.

No matter how small or incidental your information might seem, by telling us, we can take steps to investigate it appropriately.

Who to contact

If you have any concerns about the welfare of a child, please tell us immediately by contacting our First Call team at Unicorn House, Suez Street, North Shields, NE30 1BB. (Phone: 200 6262/6263). All contact will be treated confidentially.

What to look for

Signs of abuse and neglect are complex and we will always look at each child’s situation carefully and in context, but some of the outward symptoms can include:  Unexplained and recurrent injuries

 Neurotic behaviour, such as rocking, hair twisting and selfharm

 Sudden speech disorders

 Worthlessness – saying ‘I’m stupid, ugly’ etc

 Depression, suicide attempts, running away

 Sudden changes in appetite – over-eating or refusing to eat

 Poor personal hygiene and state of clothing

 No social relationships

 Constant hunger and compulsive scavenging

 Destructive behaviour

 Over-reaction to mistakes

Its main job is to:  Make sure every child in North Tyneside can grow up within a safe and secure environment and can be offered the right start in life.  Make sure systems are in place to prevent a child being exposed to harm or neglect  Intervene quickly and at an early stage should a child be in danger of harm or neglect  Carry out a thorough and full investigation if a child does come to harm The LSCB works tirelessly to ensure the protection of our children.


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Young people will be able to vote next month for the borough’s Young Mayor – the first in Tyne and Wear.

The job of the successful candidate will be to make sure the views and opinions of young people are listened to and acted on.

And the role is more than just a classroom exercise.

When the Young Mayor takes office at the end of March, they will be responsible for managing a £25,000 budget to spend on initiatives to benefit young people in the borough. They will spend around six hours a week carrying out their duties, and will be fully supported to make sure their commitments fit alongside school or studying.


Upclose • February 2009

As well as attending meetings of North Tyneside’s cabinet, they’ll work with their own Young Cabinet – selected from members of the existing North Tyneside Youth Council – to take decisions on issues that affect young people.

The Young Mayor and cabinet will also advise elected mayor John Harrison and his cabinet on issues that are important for young people.

Mr Harrison said:“The young people of today are the adults of tomorrow and I believe it’s vitally important we foster in them an understanding and interest in local government at an early age.

“By creating the Young Mayor and Young Cabinet posts, we aim to increase our young people’s participation and engagement in the decision-making processes, making sure they have their say on the issues that directly affect them.”

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Use your vote!

Anyone aged between 11 and 19, who lives in the borough or attends years 7-13 at a North Tyneside school or college, will be able to vote in the Young Mayor election on Tuesday, March 24.

The Young Mayor will work on behalf of the borough’s young people to help make sure North Tyneside is a great place to grow up in. Don’t miss out on your chance to make a difference – use your vote on March 24. For more information on the Young Mayor for North Tyneside and how to vote, visit the Young Mayor web pages at

Improved choice

Students in North Tyneside are set to benefit from one of the biggest changes to education in a generation.

The Diploma is a new qualification for 14 to19 year-olds that combines learning in the classroom with practical experience.

It’s part of a national programme to widen the choices available for young people to encourage them to learn for longer and gain the skills they need to succeed in work and life. GCSEs and A-levels can also be taken as part of a Diploma course. Developed with employers, schools, colleges and universities, it provides a route into further or higher education or work. Young people in North Tyneside were among the first to begin studying the Diploma - with five already available in

Construction and the Built Environment; Creative and Media; Engineering; Information Technology and Society, Health and Development. A Diploma in Hair and Beauty Studies will also be offered in North Tyneside from September. There are three levels of Diploma Foundation, Higher and Advanced graded in the same way as GCSEs and A-levels. The Foundation is equivalent to 5 GCSEs; the Higher is equivalent to 7 GCSEs grade A*-C and the Advanced is equivalent to 3.5 A-levels grade A*- E. By 2011, 17 Diplomas will be available in England. For more information about the Diploma in North Tyneside, visit the Area Prospectus at

GCSE results show further improvement

Young people in North Tyneside have achieved their best-ever results at GCSE, according to new national league tables.

More than half (50.4 per cent) of students achieved the ‘gold standard’ of five A* - C grades, including English and mathematics, in 2008 – a 3.1 per cent increase on the previous year. Sixty seven per cent of pupils achieved five A* - C grades, an increase of four per cent on 2007. The results also show that Churchill Community College and Norham Technology College – named last year as ‘national challenge’ schools – have seen marked improvements. Churchill saw 31 per cent of students achieving five A* - C grades, including English and maths – a four per cent rise on 2007 which takes the college above the 30 per cent benchmark set by the government. Norham is very close to meeting this target, with 29 per cent of pupils gaining five A* - C grades, including English and maths.

Practical experience: Jessica Thompson and Nusaybah Alam, of Norham Community Technology College, at the launch for the new Diplomas.


Venture attracts interest North Tyneside has launched its first community interest company to help people find work and training in the construction industry.

A community interest company (CIC) is a new kind of company – designed for social enterprises that want to use their profits and assets for the public good.

Constructing Communities CIC Ltd builds on the success of the council’s Education and Business Partnership and work-based training programmes. The company is working with a number of construction employers,


Upclose • February 2009

including Rok, CityBuild Newcastle, the Home Group and North Tyneside Council to open up employment and training opportunities.

Led by a board – including members from Barnardos and Your Homes Newcastle – Constructing Communities employs and trains apprentices and experienced older workers in a range of construction-related skills. It then finds work for successful participants with other construction firms or supports any interest in self-employment or starting a business.

New employees are then recruited to start the cycle once more.

Construction employers will be helped to recruit trained, qualified and experienced workers from Constructing Communities.

They can also benefit from the pooling of trainees to reduce costs and improve training.

Robin Cairns, customer leader and design manager for Rok, said: “Rok has a long history of working in North Tyneside and has a strategy to offer employment opportunities to school leavers each year.

“We offer opportunities to develop the skills and qualifications of young people, which will help us achieve our business goals.”

Back row (left to right) Chris Raffo, trainees Ryan Hall, Martin Hennessey, James Miller, Brett Foster, Liam Tullock and John Lee (chief executive of Your Homes Newcastle) Front row (left to right) Trainees Paul Allan, Adam Graham, Steven Donohoe, Jamie Lawson and elected mayor John Harrison.

Awards mark heritage

Economy and Employment

The search is on again to find the best small businesses in the borough.

The North Tyneside Small Business of the Year Awards, organised by the council, recognise the contribution small businesses make to the local economy and celebrate their achievements.

Taking the theme of ‘Now Boarding’, the awards will be an opportunity to celebrate the great shipbuilding heritage of the borough and to recognise the incredible journey of the local business community.

Businesses can enter into one of five categories - Retail, Service, Start-up, Manufacturing and Young Entrepreneur. The winner from each category will also be entered for the North Tyneside Small Business of the Year Award.

For the second year, there will also be a People’s Choice Award – voted for by the people of North Tyneside.

The awards will take place on Friday, April 3 at the Village Hotel on the Cobalt Business Park and North Tyneside Council will be the main sponsor.

The awards are open to any businesses based in North Tyneside, which have been trading for a minimum of six months, with less than 100 employees.

Further information and application forms can be obtained from Pieter Vermaas on 643 6417 or email

The application form is also available to download from the business section of the council’s website, The closing date for applications is Friday, February 20.

Project delivers results A project that aims to help the long-term unemployed get back into work is delivering results.

The ‘Start 2 Earn’ campaign, funded through the North Tyneside Strategic Partnership (NTSP), was piloted in August to help local residents find employment. As well as providing practical help and support, the project has focused on helping to boost the esteem and confidence of those looking for work

This includes an innovative training course, ‘the work experience challenge’, which includes working in businesses around Tyne and Wear, rather than classroom-based learning.

Volunteers can find themselves serving a meal in a local pub or dismantling a minibus.

And for Deborah Ferguson, a lone parent with two sons who has been out of work for 10 years, it has meant a new administrative job at My Tub, an online plumbing supplies business in Tynemouth.

She was referred to the ‘Start 2 Earn’ project by Jobcentre Plus and thoroughly enjoyed the experience, including work at a city centre hotel.

“The work experience challenge increased my confidence and motivation,” said Deborah. “And then, with Working Links help, I secured a job I am enjoying.”

To volunteer for the work experience challenge, which is aimed at the long term unemployed, incapacity benefit claimants, and lone parents, contact Ian or Kate on 252 2039 or email: The next course runs from February 23 until March 6.


Pupils learn vital lesson Pupils in North Tyneside are getting an insight into how car crashes destroy lives.

Year 10 students from Norham CTC, Marden High and Seaton Burn College played the parts of casualties and rescuers in a mock-up of a road accident. The hard-hitting exercise is part of the Fire Team project, run by Tyne & Wear Fire and Rescue Service, which aims to increase awareness of the dangers of fires and other incidents. “The course is designed to make the pupils think twice before taking risks,” said Fire Team instructor Mark Ledger. “It highlights the dangers and consequences by giving them a chance to have a leading role in an ‘incident’.”


Upclose • February 2009

Around 30 people die every year on the roads in Tyne and Wear and a quarter of those who die are aged between 17 and 25.

“Many teenagers are at high risk of being injured or killed in a car accident but they don’t think about this when they get in a car,” said Steve Walker, of the arson task force. “We are pointing out that by driving fast or carelessly, or getting into a car with someone who does, they may kill or injure themselves, their friends or other road users.” The Fire Team project involves group discussions, lectures and operational drills, in addition to practical demonstrations.

In the road traffic collision session, the youngsters – under close supervision from firefighting crews – operate special rescue tools to ‘release’ their fellow pupils. The aim is for the students to experience as realistically as possible the consequences of a road accident – a lesson that hopefully will be passed on to their friends and colleagues. During the course, the pupils also develop practical and team-working skills and learn how to prevent fires and accidents. The current course finishes this month and another two are planned for later in the year.

For more details, contact Mark Ledger on (0191) 444 1207.

Staff sign up to volunteer The council is strengthening its commitment to working closer with communities through a commitment by senior officers to spend 12 days a year working for the voluntary and community sector.

Chief executive Andrew Kerr and 30 senior colleagues have already signed up to the project, which will be rolled out to more than 100 of the council’s third-tier managers during 2009.

Andrew is working with the ‘Live at Home’ charity, which provides safe and social opportunities for around 140 older housebound residents from the North Shields and Whitley Bay area.

He said: “As a council, we are committed to working closer to our communities, establishing strong links, mutual understanding and shared values so we can work together to make a real difference to people’s lives. “What better way for us to do that than by providing frontline support for our voluntary and community sector?”

The employee volunteer placement scheme is supported by North Tyneside Voluntary Organisations Development Agency (VODA) and includes a careful matching process, to ensure that an individual’s interests and skills are suited to the needs of a particular organisation. Where the work involves potential contact with children or vulnerable adults, the council is carrying out a full Criminal Records Bureau check.

Helping hand: Andrew Kerr with Moira Adams, Richard Lesley and Tommy Conroy.

Placements are being focused on supporting organisations that assist vulnerable people or in areas of the borough with high levels of deprivation.

Jan Worters, chief officer at VODA, said: “We are pleased to work with the council on this exciting and new initiative. As far as we know, there is nothing similar to it in the country.”


Work with us and help us achieve our goals

Council vacancies

We are committed to transforming the way we deliver services, work with our partners and relate to local communities.

We have a range of jobs to suit people with varying skills and experience and are looking for staff who will help us to achieve our goals. You can apply online at or You can also obtain an application form by phone (0845 2000 101), minicom (0191 219 2440) or email: Please quote relevant reference number.


School crossing patrol officers

£11,577 - £11,907 pa pro rata, various hours Ref no: DE000103 You will assist people to cross the road at prescribed points. Holidays must not be taken during the school term.


£11,577 - £11,907 pa pro rata, various hours and locations Ref no: DE000843 You will provide a clean working environment. Full training will be given.

Community Services Events workers

£15,247 - £16,230 pa pro rata Ref no: 000761 The Events Unit is looking for staff to work on the North Tyneside International Youth Football Tournament, Mouth Of The Tyne Festival and other events.

Experience is not essential, as training will be given. Candidates will work as part of a team and hours will be flexible.

Children,Young People & Learning Catering assistants

£12,592 - £13,382 pa pro rata Ref no: DE001117 We are currently recruiting enthusiastic, dedicated and hard-working staff to assist with catering in schools throughout the borough.

You will be expected to carry out a range of duties, including serving food and drinks to pupils, and cleaning tasks. Previous experience in catering is not essential.

These posts are ‘open’ posts and do not have a closing date. Reference numbers preceded by DE require an enhanced disclosure from the Criminal Records Bureau.

Help us to shape your Riverside

Do you want to help shape the rejuvenation of the North Bank of the Tyne and particularly Wallsend town centre? Last October, the River Tyne North Bank Project Board – a partnership bringing together the council, Newcastle City Council, One NorthEast and English Partnerships – selected international property and regeneration experts GVA Grimley to prepare a master plan for the 600hectare site. Their team of experts have started their assessment of the site, which


stretches from the Walker Riverside Industrial Park in Newcastle to the Bull Ring Dock in North Shields.

They are also staging a series of events, initially between February 18 and 20, to gather views about the future of Wallsend and the wider North Bank site.

For more details about the events, contact Rachel Buckland or Daniel Robert at GVA Grimley on 0161 956 4225. You can also email:

The feedback from the events, which will build upon earlier public engagement, will help to produce an

integrated social, economic and environmental plan for the regeneration of the River Tyne North Bank corridor.

Working closer with communities

Wallsend Area Forum

The next forum meeting will be held on Wednesday, February 11 Town Hall, High Street East

6.30pm to 8.30pm

Do you live in North Tyneside and want to work with children and young people? If so, why not come along to our recruitment event to find out more about the opportunities available? The event will be held on: Saturday, February 28 at the Oxford Centre in Longbenton.

Come along and find out what’s happening in your area

For more details, email:

There will be a live theatre production, recruitment workshop and an opportunity to talk to people working with children. Specialist advisers will be on hand to give free and impartial advice on:

Employment opportunities Relevant qualifications Returning to work In-work benefits

Free training opportunities Change of career Childcare

Closing date for bookings - Friday, February 20.

e-policing news NORTHUMBRIA POLICE

So, if you live in North Tyneside, register now – you could be glad you did!

Receive news from your local neighbourhood policing team direct to your mailbox. We’ll send you information about our latest initiatives and useful crime prevention advice as well as how you can get in touch with your neighbourhood policing team.

Free online registration Visit Enter your postcode in the “where I live” section, this will take you to the North Tyneside area pages. You will then be given the option to register for your free e-policing newsletter.

To contact your neighbourhood policing team directly call: 03456 043 043 ext 69191

To book your FREE place, contact the Families Information Service

Telephone: 0845 2000 108 Minicom/Textphone: 0191 200 5486 E-mail:

Putting children first in North Tyneside Are you caring for someone else’s child or is someone else caring for your child? If you are currently looking after someone else’s child or if you are planning to look after someone else’s child for 28 days or more (and you are not an immediate relative) you could be ‘privately fostering.’ The law says that you must tell your local Children’s Services department about this.

It would entitle you and the child to additional advice and support and ensure that the child is safe. If you live in North Tyneside and you think the law may affect you, please ring the First Call Service on 200 6262. Someone will be happy to talk to you about your circumstances and offer advice.

(0191) 215 1212 CALL NOW

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Upclose • February 2009


One year’s Contours Gym membership worth up to


If your New Year resolve isn’t quite going according to plan … this month’s competition will give you the kick-start you need to get in shape and wake up your mind and body. We’ve got a year’s Contours membership, worth up to £351, and three 3-month memberships, worth £120 each, up for grabs. Contours is a fitness and well-being membership package which gives you unlimited access to all of the council's gyms, health suites, exercise classes and swimming pools. Membership gives you fabulous value for money - not only to facilities but to expert advice on how to improve your fitness levels, lose weight and feel more confident.

December winner: Mrs Maureen Spink, of Wallsend, won £250 worth of vouchers for the Royal Quays Outlet Centre.


1st prizhe

mont rs Contou ship member

With our Contours clubs open from as early as 7.15am to as late as 10pm, even the busiest person can fit in an activity to suit their needs. And if you have heart or other health problems, you need not be excluded - we have instructors with specialist knowledge to help and advise. You do not have to become a member to access Contours but we’re sure once you’ve seen how fantastic our facilities are, you’ll want to join up and join in on a regular basis. We have a number of different memberships available which offer real value for money. Join with a friend or relative and motivate each other, or opt for an off-peak option. And accessing our Easecard scheme means you’ll receive great discounts. It has never been easier to join, pay in full or spread the cost - for further details, speak to any leisure centre reception or visit:

prizes: p u r e n n Three ru Contours 3-month ships member

For your chance to win, simply answer the following questions (all answers can be found within the magazine): 1 What is the new name for Whitley Bay Leisure Pool? 2 Where will the council’s Horticulture and Health Show take place? 3 What is the polling date for the Young Mayor election? Completed entries should be marked ‘Up Close competition’ and sent to: Communications Team (3rd floor right), Quadrant, Silverlink North, Cobalt Business Park, North Tyneside NE27 OBY (Please include a daytime telephone number)

Terms and conditions:

Closing date for entries: February 27, 2009. Open to North Tyneside residents only. One entry per person. Winners will be correct entries drawn at random from all entries received: first entry drawn wins 12-month Contours membership; three runners-up win a 3-month membership each. No cash alternatives available. If you already have a Contours membership, the prize will begin when your current 12-month contract expires. Winners will be notified by telephone after the draw has taken place. Entrants must be prepared to take part in post-competition publicity. Winners will be published in the next edition of Up Close. The editor’s decision is final.


A woman is guilty of shoplifting from a local jewellers. It始s her second offence.

She is a single mother with two young children, lives on benefits and is in debt.



COULD YOU DECIDE You don始t need legal experience or qualifications to serve as a magistrate. You can serve if you are aged between 18 and 65 and able to sit in court for a minimum of 26 half-days each year.

We welcome applicants from all sectors of the community, especially younger people from ethnic minority groups. If you are interested and would like more information or an application pack, please call Jennifer Robinson on (0191) 270 3325 or visit:

Up close February 2009  

North Tyneside's Residents Magazine