Community Life

Read about the latest community life stories,
including, Neighbourhood Watch, Police report, SDT Projects,
Ceddesfeld Hall, Nature Diary and your letters.
Delivery

Your paper is delivered at the end of each month.

Share

Got a story? Share it with us and feature in the news.

Regular Feature

Keep watching for scams.

Scams are taking various forms at the moment.
Currently using text messages are those asking you to click on a link to a web site. The most common of these are claiming to be from:
HMRC (tax refund); HSBC (check unusual activity on your account); Virgin Media (failed direct debit); NHS vaccine appointments (asking you to pay); Royal Mail (asking you to pay for a held-up parcel); Amazon (subscription); Netflix (subscription).
DELETE ALL SUCH TEXTS.

Currently using letters is a company called CCS Collect who claim you have an unpaid debt and could face court action. A Sedgefield resident received this saying they owed money to BT. Upon checking with BT they owed them nothing.
DO NOT PAY MONEY TO THIRD PARTIES such as these to settle a debt. If you owe money pay it direct.

Automated telephone calls are also being used asking you to press 1 to avoid being charged. DO NOT RESPOND, HANG UP. Cold Callers – have been seen again in Sedgefield. Some of these are ex-prisoners. DO NOT RESPOND TO COLD CALLERS, keep your door locked.

If you spot a scam report it to the Action Fraud Helpline or call them on 0300 123 2040.

Local Police: Call 101 to report concerns, seek advice or pass on information. Always keep notes and ask for an incident number.
Crime Prevention Officer: Rona Stocks. rona.stocks@durham.pnn.police.uk
Police Community Cohesion Officer: Faye Callan. 101 Extension 742317. faye.callan@durham.pnn.police.uk
Confidential email address: John.lamb@durham.pnn.police.uk.
Any information we receive will be developed and acted upon.
Regular Feature

A round up on the Trust projects

Keep up to date with the latest news about the Development Trust projects.


Sustainability

There is still time to sign up for the Footpaths Sustainability Course, designed for people who want to make changes in their daily life to reduce their carbon footprint.

We will have 7 sessions in total, each lasting 2 hours and taking place approximately every 2-3 weeks at a time agreed by the group.

The focus will be on 5 different topics - home energy, waste & water, transport, consumerism and food - all topped and tailed by an introduction and a ‘where next?’ session. Between sessions, participants will be encouraged to find out more about their own situation and look at changes they can make.

The focus is on achieving practical changes within a supportive environment. All the activities have been tried and tested in community groups in Leicester over a number of years and they do produce results!

There is no charge to take part, just a commitment to learning and a desire to make changes. We anticipate starting in April, and while Covid restrictions are in place, some of the sessions are likely to be online.

To find out more or to register your interest, please contact the organiser via Sedgefield News. Email news@sedgefielddevelopmenttrust.co.uk


Farmers Market 8.30am-12.15

March's much larger market felt so good! In fact, with 20 stalls and pretty decent weather, almost normal! We’ve looked carefully at the Government's tentative programme for relaxing pandemic restrictions and it is clear that for April at least, things will stay the same.

Our "non-essential retailers" could return in May, but we don't expect to change anything else at that time. It looks as though we will operate with social distancing, hand sanitiser, etc until after June 21st.

All that suggests our re-launch could be in July, with perhaps just a few small changes in June. When that time comes we will begin to prioritise replacements for the stalls we have lost over the past 15 months, whilst trying to maintain a good balance of produce. Beyond that, we hope to broaden our range a bit too.

So for now it’s still 'business as COVID-19 allows', but last month you proved that you still know how to enjoy the joyful event that is "Ta-Da…" MARKET DAY IN SEDGEFIELD!


Energy Switch

With energy prices rising again & our next auction on May 18th, now could be the time to join. If you have not yet joined, why not give this popular scheme a try? Don’t just take our word for the savings you could make - you may have friends and neighbours who had benefited.

For new participants, if your current contract ends before the end of June, this is the registration period for you and if you have been part of the scheme before and your contract ends before the end of July, you will need to register again at this auction in order to receive your next offer.

Prior to registering, have to hand the following information from your latest statement or Annual Summary: name of current supplier, name of current Tariff, date when current Tariff ends, amount of gas & electricity used per year. Key dates

Registration opens on Tuesday 30th March and closes on Monday 17th May. Auction is on Tuesday 18th May. Offers issued from Monday 31st May, closure is Tuesday 29th June.

If you’re happy to register online go to www.sedgefieldweb.co.uk. Click on ENERGY SWITCH, ‘Free Sign up’, ‘Register Today’ and fill out details.

If you prefer to register and receive information by post, or need help, please call the Sedgefield Development Trust Helpline, 07980 134 594. Leave a message and we will call back. We can help or complete registration for you.



Woodland & Wildlife

Our New Volunteers A warm welcome to the new volunteers who have joined the project over the past couple of months, it’s great to see new faces and fresh enthusiasm!

At our last working session, we concentrated on litter picking and filled at least 10 bags of rubbish from the eastern part of the project site, a fantastic effort by all!

We are also excited to have a new volunteer who is carrying out a bird survey for the site. On his first visit he logged goldcrest, greater spotted woodpecker and goldfinches among many others - we very much look forward to reading his final report.

Hedge Planting Day
The project is receiving 420 tree whips from The Woodland Trust, with planting planned for Saturday 1st May. The new hedge will be planted along the new William Armstrong Way and the more hands helping the better!
Location: Woodland & Wildlife Site behind Discovery 1 & 2 buildings at NETPark (rough postcode is TS21 3FH) follow the green arrow signs from Discovery 1 & 2 car park.
Time: 10am until all planted, so stay as long as you like!
Covid: The event will be planned to keep everyone safe, but please do your bit by wearing a mask, keeping your distance and sanitising your hands and tools.
What to bring: If possible, bring a spade (although we do have a small number of tools available), work gloves and a drink.

The planting date is subject to change depending on delivery of trees, so look out for information on social media or email Melissa at woodland@sedgefielddevelopmentrust.co.uk for up-to-date info.
Looking forward to seeing everyone!


Homework Help

We currently have some capacity for help with English (any age) but whatever you'd like help with (or could offer to help with), contact homework@sedgefielddevelopmenttrust.co.uk.

Regular Feature

Steve's Nature Diary

Whenever I do one of my favourite walks from Sedgefield over to Bishop Middleham I am always on the lookout for wildlife, and during lockdown last year this route became important for spotting all kinds of signs of spring. April is a good time to see a number of species; from the first sand martin on its way back from Africa to bluebells in flower or the first orange tip. I always try to be alert when approaching running water whether it’s a ditch, Stony Beck or the River Skerne hoping to hear the sound of a plop, or a brief glimpse of a rare mammal that lives exclusively in riverine habitats – the water vole. I have never seen one here (have you?) and it’s no surprise; since the 1960’s water voles have disappeared from 95% of their former range.

Water voles were once widespread across the UK, found in both rural and urban wetland habitats such as rivers, streams, ditches, and ponds, but have declined because of loss and fragmentation of habitat. The water vole plays its part as a prey species for many native predators, such as foxes, herons, and otters, but having evolved alongside these predators it has developed defence responses, which are ineffective to the recently introduced American mink.

Water voles are our country’s ‘bankside engineers’, whose burrowing creates niche habitats that provide opportunities for invertebrates to breed, which, in turn, can benefit fish, amphibians and small mammals.
Three North East Wildlife Trusts have joined forces to urge people to get involved with an ambitious project to save this native species. Durham Wildlife Trust, Northumberland Wildlife Trust, and Tees Valley Wildlife Trust, have launched ‘Naturally Native’ to stop the decline of the water vole, and to ensure that they can thrive along the rivers, streams, and ponds of the North East. The initiative has been made possible through funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Durham Wildlife Trust’s Kirsty Pollard is leading the project, and is very keen to get people from around the region involved. "This is such an important project that will not only stop the decline of the water vole, but will also help support a wide range of other native wildlife," she said.

The project is looking for volunteers to help with surveying or monitoring of the water vole population, and to report any sightings of the voles, or of their number-one predator – the American mink. You can find out how to get involved one of the wildlife trust websites or on the projects Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/NaturallyNative or With the help of the local community, it is hoped to be able to reverse the decline of the water vole, promote their recovery and perhaps we might see them on our local walks.

Regular Feature

Ceddesfeld Hall: Home of Sedgefield Community Association

Roadmap to re-opening Ceddesfeld Hall
SCA is delighted to begin to plan for the resumption of activities and events at Ceddesfeld Hall. The Government’s roadmap, announced by the Prime Minister on 22 February (with further guidance on 25 February) indicated that community halls may reopen after Easter for those activities already permitted over lockdown, plus a small list of further activities. They should otherwise remain closed until May 17 (step 3). The planned four step approach is dependent on: the Covid-19 vaccination programme going to plan; reduced numbers of people dying or needing hospital treatment; no surge in hospital admissions and any new variants of the virus do not fundamentally change the risk of lifting restrictions.

The Trustees are working towards a partial and limited reopening of activities (for sections and groups) from May 17. By then, the rule of 6 (or two households) will apply to all indoor spaces, with a 30 people limit. Due to distance safety restrictions at Ceddesfeld, the main hall will remain limited to a maximum of 24 people and the capacity limit for the smaller upstairs rooms is 16 (4 tables of 4).

Hopefully, by step 4 (no earlier than June 21) legal limits on social contact will be lifted and larger events will be allowed. All things being well, SCA hope to reopen the bar from this date.

Everything is, of course, open to review and we do have a limited number of volunteers, but fingers crossed that everything goes as planned and a successful, gradual, and confident return to activities and events can take place in the run up to autumn and beyond. If you would like to get more involved with the community, please do get in touch.

The Pop-In Club has, like all sections and groups, been unable to use Ceddesfeld Hall during the last year but Wendy Rowley their organiser, has found other ways to help them. Before Christmas she arranged to hand out Christmas gifts from a stall in Ceddesfeld car park and is repeating this at the end of March with Easter gifts (social distancing of course). Naturally, we are all looking forward to the group (and all groups) being able to use the hall again.


For more information on Ceddesfeld Hall events, regular activities, room hire and bar opening times, contact Wendy on 01740 620206, Pat on 01740 620607, Sarah on 01740 622185. Visit us on Facebook or see the SCA website, www.sedgefieldsca.org.uk


Sedgefield in Bloom are in the pink!

With our new hi-vis jackets, you can’t miss Sedgefield Bloomers out and about around the village. Spring bulbs are already putting on a beautiful show and we will soon be adding summer bedding which will keep Sedgefield spirits up as we move to brighter days ahead.

Covid has put a bit of a dampener on our usual fundraising efforts, limiting cash available to buy plants. However, we are determined to provide as lovely a show as ever.

Sedgefield is packed with keen gardeners and we would like to enlist your help. Donations of perennial plants are always welcome. Think of us as you lift and split larger clumps of plants or possibly decide to remove a plant which has outgrown its space. You may like to donate a few plants or herbs which you have grown from seed and nurtured in your greenhouse. Or, when you can get to the garden centre or supermarket, pop an extra tray of bedding plants into your basket.

Bedding out starts at the end of May and we’ll make good use of any plants received. If you would like to help, please contact alicehobson.ah@googlemail.com or norma@neal.myzen.co.uk or ring Norma on 01740 620091


Getting extra support from your energy supplier

Citizens Advice County Durham have an Energy Redress Scheme for social housing tenants and also run a national Energy Advice project, both of which can offer a wider range of energy related support.
You'll normally be able to get priority services if your energy companies class you as 'vulnerable', for instance, if you:
- are disabled or have a long-term health condition
- are recovering from an injury
- have mental health problems
- don't speak or read English well
- have children under 5 or are pregnant
- have reached State Pension age

If your situation isn't listed, you might still be able to sign up for priority services for other reasons - for example, if you're recently bereaved or you've returned to living independently after some time in residential care.
Switchboard: 0300 323 1000 (Mon-Thurs 9am–5pm & Fri 9am-4:30pm)
Debt Advice line: 0300 323 2000 (Mon–Fri 9am-1pm)
General Adviceline 0808 278 7821 (Mon-Fri 10am-4pm)


Your LETTERS

I was shocked and saddened to read the letter "Beware of the dog" printed in the last issue. It is clear that the writer and I have a very different recollections. My very friendly Rottweiler puppy who has just turned 1 year old was playing nicely with his ball on the field. A lady with her small dog and child approached and Zigi went over to say hi. The small dog lunged at my dog and broke free of his harness.

Zigi was confused. He has never encountered a vicious or unsocialised dog before. He is well socialised and regularly attends day care with other dogs. He did not "go at" this dog and at no point did he "jump all over" the lady’s son. I highly recommend that if you know your dog is liable to react to others, it should have a well fitted harness and that you check that it is correctly adjusted before leaving the house, so that it cannot break free.

Zigi is a lovely family pet whom I believe is being victimised because of his breed.
He is amazing with my disabled partner and our young daughter and is not how he was made out in last month’s letter. If you see us out and about, feel free to come and meet us and have a pet. Most of all, please don't judge a book by its cover, come and see us and make your own opinion. Name and address supplied.


Opinions expressed in Sedgefield News are not necessarily those of the publisher. We strive to be impartial & independent and reserve the right to edit copy. We do not publish letters of unknown authorship, so please send contact details with any correspondence.


Follow Us
Save Money

Sedgefield Energy Switch is a new initiative from Sedgefield Development Trust.

Working together with iChoosr, we're trying to help Sedgefield residents save money on their domestic gas and electricity bills. Sedgefield still continue to have the highest switching rate in the country.


Registrations 1670
People Registered 790

Key dates:

  Tuesday 30th March-Registration Opens
  Monday 17th May-Registration Closes
  Tuesday 18th May-Day of Auction
  Monday 31st May-Offers letters issued
  Tuesday 29th June-Offer acceptance closure

Read more
Register
Buy Local

Sedgefield Farmers Market is held every first Sunday of the Month, on the village green, from 8.30am to 12.30pm. The market has about 20 stall holders each month, varying throughout the seasons, providing meats, vegatables, Handmade pies, pastries and cakes, Fish, Spices, Cheeses and more.

To book a stall call Roger Clubley: 01740 620609, email Farmers Market: farmers@sedgefielddevelopmenttrust.co.uk


Read more
Event Posters