Community Life

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

Cold Caller Warning!

Some Sedgefield residents have experienced cold callers recently trying to sell goods or services or attempting to relieve you of your cash with a confidence trick or sob story. This is widespread and Durham County Council have issued the following warning:
Durham Trading Standards have become aware of cold callers trying to sell goods on the doorstep in various areas of the County. In some cases, their approach has been persistent, causing both upset and annoyance.

While it is not an offence to simply cold call, we would always urge residents to be extremely cautious when dealing with unsolicited visitors.
Some top tips to keep yourself and others safe:
- DON’T accept uninvited callers
- DON’T be afraid to say ‘No’
- DON’T be rushed or feel pressured. Genuine traders will always be happy to return when a friend or family member is present
- DO keep an eye on your area and especially vulnerable neighbours. Has work started unexpectedly on their homes? Is the work visibly poor or been left unfinished? Is the person anxious about what has happened? Has a trader accompanied them to the bank?
- DO report suspicious cold callers to the Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 11 33 or to the police on 101
Learn more about how to protect yourself and others from scams by becoming a Friend Against Scams at: www.FriendsAgainstScams.org.uk/elearning/durham and at http://www.durham.gov.uk/scams Follow Durham Trading Standards on Facebook at www.facebook.com/durhamts for updates on local scams affecting your community, consumer awareness campaigns and top tips on how to avoid becoming a victim of a scammer. Please lock up, stay safe and sleep well.
Clocks Changing
The arrival of Autumn means that the days start to grow shorter and the clocks change on Sunday 25th October, meaning longer nights which are attractive to criminals operating under cover of darkness. As the nights close in, here are a few actions you can take to prevent criminals spoiling your build up to Christmas.

- Adjust the settings on your light timers so that lights come on as soon as it is dark outside. - Ensure external lights keep your property well illuminated.
- Ensure light timers keep your property interior well-lit so that if you are still at work when night falls it looks as though the property is occupied.
- Keep blinds tilted however, so that the interior of your house does not become a showcase to prospective burglars.
- Make sure equipment, toys, bikes and other valuable items used during the day are safely and securely stored indoors before it is dark.
- Make sure your car is secure and if possible parked off the street, preferably nose first on a drive, or better still in a garage.
- Always keep entrance doors, garden gates, garages and outhouses securely locked.
- Take garden furniture, barbeques, hose pipes and other summer garden items indoors for the winter.

Bicycle crime
Valuable items such as bikes are targets for theft generally but especially on dark nights. Those without a secure lock are an easy target so make sure you lock it with a good quality secure lock such as a chain and padlock, D-lock or cable lock.
Keeping your bike indoors is the most secure solution but if you need to park your bike on the street here are a few tips on what to avoid:
Dark Alleys – even if it is locked a thief will have an ideal opportunity to break through the lock.
Butterfly Racks - avoid parking which only allows you to secure your front wheel to the stand, even if you do not have quick release wheels, a thief will find it very easy to detach your wheel and make off with the rest of your bike.
Short posts or even tall posts that a lock can fit over – your bike will be lifted over the top. Even if there is a sign at the top that the lock can’t fit around bear in mind that a very determined thief will unscrew the sign and lift your bike over.
Drainpipes – these are easily shattered or removed.
City or Town Centres Overnight – avoid leaving your bike in these locations even if there is CCTV coverage.
Security Marking your bike will greatly increase the chance of the police identifying and returning it if you ever have your cycle stolen. This also acts as a visible deterrent to thieves by making the cycle less attractive to steal. If you witness any incidents please report them as quickly as possible!

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.


Farmers Market

Sedgefield Farmers’ Market Sunday 1st November

Last month went well despite the restrictions imposed upon us by the virus. Traders were pleased with customers and customers pleased with traders! So far we have had no reports of transmission of Covid19 at the Market and we will of course follow safe practice again this time.

The Bees of Hardwick hope to be back this month, plus Lovesome Hill with their cold pressed rape seed oil, and a cautious re-start of the charity stall with St John Ambulance. So all in all the Market will be slightly larger, but we will be sure there is enough space for your visit to be comfortably socially distanced. Dryden Farms can’t do the usual turkey & goose tastings, but you can contact them about an order on 0191 526 3287.

We’re aware that when stalls sell out before the end of the Market it can leave customers disappointed. We are working with our traders to get over this problem so hopefully there will be less disappointment and more satisfied customers in future. We would like potential new traders to know that until we are more confident that Covid19 is not a threat we can only grow slowly and have not yet welcomed back all our regular stalls, because of the need to keep things spaced out.

Over recent months we have received many requests from new traders to come to our Market. We are very pleased you want to come, but we must grow back to the size we were, carefully. Of course we would love to accommodate more stalls as soon as we can.


Energy Switch

If you need more information, find us at the SDT stall during Farmers Market.



Woodland & Wildlife

We are excited to announce that we have been granted another community tree pack from The Woodland Trust. The pack will form a hedge along the western boundary of the woodland and wildlife site and will connect to an existing edge line. There will be a planting day in early March, if you would like to help out please look out.

If you would like to know more about the project contact woodland@sedgefielddevelopmenttust.co.uk or join our facebook page Woodland & Wildlife – Sedgefield.


Homework Help

Homework Help has made a start with remote sessions. Currently, we have various students and helpers working on maths, English, chemistry and physics. History and politics are also available, as is advice regarding university applications (e.g. personal statement) and careers information.

Regular Feature

Steve's Nature Diary

This week I revisited Hardwick Park for the first time since lockdown was lifted and with autumn coming it had changed quite a bit. I had forgotten how pleasant it was for an early evening stroll. It had been quite damp and as a result some fungi had appeared, including one of my favourites the Shaggy Ink Cap (Coprinus Comatus). An unmistakable fungus - its tall, white, shaggy cap providing this name, but I much prefer the name 'Lawyer's wig' and if you ever see one you can see how it gets that name.

It is relatively widespread and common on roadside verges, parkland, grassland and gardens, growing in small groups, quite often found in the same place from year to year. It is edible when young but you do need to use it fresh - if you leave it overnight you will come down to a black stain on the kitchen bench! (*Always check with someone who knows their mushrooms before you pick any). The Shaggy Ink Cap displays a tall, narrow, cylindrical cap that is white and very 'shaggy' with 'scales' over its surface. The cap gradually opens out to a bell shape. The gills are very crowded; they are white at first, then turn pink and eventually black, dissolving from the margin of the cap until it is almost entirely gone. The Shaggy Ink Cap has a tall, smooth, white stem with a moveable ring.

Another pretty obvious fungus, especially on the boardwalk which works its way through the damp woodland or carr at Hardwick, was a bracket fungus growing on the Silver Birch. Bracket fungi cause decay and rot in the heartwood of trees and produce bracket-shaped fruiting bodies on the trunk or main branches. They are found on dead and decaying trees and usually lead to weakening and sometimes to the eventual breakage or fall of affected trees.

The ones growing on the Silver Birch may be the Birch Polypore. As its name suggests, it is a bracket fungus that only grows on Birch trees! It is a fleshy fungus that is round or hoof-shaped, with a rounded edge and leathery look. It is a milky coffee-colour on top, and has white pores underneath. It is also known as the 'Razorstrop fungus' because its rubbery, leather-like surface was once used to sharpen knives and razors. Should we get another lockdown, make sure Hardwick Park is on your list of places to visit and keep an eye out for the fungi!

Regular Feature

Ceddesfeld Hall: Home of Sedgefield Community Association

50 Years of the SCA Sedgefield Community Association celebrates its 50th birthday in October. We had planned a party but Covid restrictions mean this has to be postponed until next year. Initially, SCA was without a home and held meetings in rented halls and rooms around the village. In 1974 Sedgefield Parish Council (as it was then) purchased the Old Rectory for £30,000 and agreed a 30 year lease with SCA whose members themselves undertook much of the repairs needed, as well as obtaining grants to pay for more major work. The building, now known as Ceddesfeld Hall opened to the public as Ceddesfeld Hall in 1975. SCA remains responsible for all running costs and maintenance of the building and car park. If you were involved in these early days, please send your memories to pbuckleyat@hotmail.com

Who runs Ceddesfeld Hall? SCA is a registered charity known as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO). A group of members comprise of a Board of Trustees who are responsible for running the building. A secretary and a treasurer are elected by members and the Board elects a member to chair its meetings. This group of unpaid volunteers undertake all the work of managing a building for public use. They carry responsibility for all maintenance, ensuring that Charity Commission and health and safety regulations are met, bills paid for heating, lighting and maintenance, as well as lettings and organising community events. Most importantly, as SCA do not automatically receive any grants, they ensure that enough money is raised to pay for this expenditure. Given the building’s size and listed status, such works can be costly. Between 2004 and 2007 a major revitalisation was undertaken. The kitchen was updated and refitted, the lounge was refurbished and new toilets were installed. The lift between cellar and attic was put in. This latter has proved a boon both to voluntary workers and people finding the grand staircases a challenge.

This programme cost a total of £250,000, of which £130,000 came from grants and the balance raised by members’ voluntary efforts. In recent years there has been a programme of redecoration and carpet replacement throughout the building’s interior, and this cost around £4,000 in total.

Recently, external works have been undertaken covering roof pointing, fascia and guttering repairs, as well as a complete external redecoration. These cost almost £9,600. The building size meant that a full scaffold was required.

In recent years, the Trustees have carried out a full review of policies appropriate to a modern community association. These range from health and safety to safeguarding and financial regulations. More information about community sections and groups plus details of popular community events will appear in next month’s article.


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 Christmas Tree Collection

Sedgefield in Bloom volunteers are planning to run a Christmas Tree collection service for the disposal of real trees on 06/01/21, 09/01/21 and 13/01/21. For a small donation of £5:00 per tree the volunteers will collect it from your home, saving you time and the effort of clearing up the needles from your car. All monies raised from the collections will be used in Bloom activities.

The trees will be taken to be recycled at the Woodland & Wildlife Project site at NETPark. Anyone interested in this service can contact Alice Hobson for further information. Call 01740 622706 or email alicehobson.ah@googlemail.com


Some community group efforts are continuing through Coronavirus

Sedgefield Handbell Ringers have not been able to meet socially, as they share music and bells. They have however met up virtually by Zoom, usually each fortnight and have enjoyed chatting.
The Local History Society have only had one meeting, in September, when Martin Peagam gave a virtual talk. They have been investigating more chances to do this. However, we have had a flood of people joining the Local History Facebook page, with quite a few conversations going on regarding the History of the village.
U3A Activities While naturally disappointed that we haven’t been able to use our usual venues, including Ceddesfeld Hall, members of Sedgefield U3A have continued to organise many of their groups and to meet virtually, using Zoom. We have continued our monthly Speaker meetings since June and have a further programme already arranged into early next year.

Our Wine Appreciation Group have had three meetings over recent months and have enjoyed a wide variety of wines from many regions of the world as well as learning a lot about viticulture and oenology through quizzes and games.

Our Book club has continued to meet on a monthly basis and have discussed in great depth and with often very differing views, books chosen by the members, the Lunch Club have organised two picnics in the grounds of Ceddesfeld Hall but are disappointed, now that the weather has turned, that we are not now able to continue to meet in village pubs or cafe because of local restrictions.

While it has not been possible for our House and Gardens group to visit our usual venues we have had a very interesting visit to the grounds of Ceddesfeld Hall, where local Bloomers explained the history of the landscape and told us about the more recent renovations and planting of the area. Our biggest success this summer, however, has been the publication of a book of short stories and superb photographs, illustrating the history and times of Sedgefield.
‘Beyond the Village Pump’ is a joint effort by our Creative Writing and Photography groups; originally aimed at this autumn’s Book Festival, it was completed ahead of schedule and can be purchased for just £6 by contacting the local group on SedgefieldU3A@gmail.com. As you can see, we are still a really, pro-active group of older residents who are continuing to make the very best of a difficult situation while looking forward to returning to our regular haunts in due course.


Durham Deafened Support

In ‘normal times’ Durham Deafened Support run two very successful groups in Ceddesfeld Hall in Sedgefield, a Craft Group each Wednesday and a Local Community Support Group including Lip Reading each Thursday.

DDS rapidly became aware that our service users were amongst some of the most isolated people, unable to use the phone and take advantage of some of the telephone befriending services or groups that were operating by Zoom which exclude many deafened people. DDS have throughout this difficult year kept in touch via E-mail, via a member only Facebook Page and for members who did not have the means to communicate electronically, via a weekly information and activities sheet.

We are now able to offer visits to people who may be struggling with their hearing loss, risk assessments are in place and our staff have visors to enable people to lip read. We offer a ‘try before you buy’ for hearing aid compatible equipment and can offer support with tinnitus and loneliness/ isolation as a result of hearing loss.

If you require help at this difficult time, please do not hesitate to contact us by either E-mail – admin@ddsupport.org.uk or via telephone 0191 5183358. We look forward to hearing from you.


Church ‘Friends’ launch Sedgefield 2021 Calendar

Just £7 and you don’t need to leave home to get a copy!
The Friends of St Edmund’s Church calendar is out now, in the familiar slimline, full-colour, hang-anywhere format.

With images by local photographers, the calendar comes in a plastic wallet and costs just £7 plus 50p for a robust cardboard envelope for posting – it has become a popular Christmas present. Coronavirus constraints are preventing people from getting out and about, so a free, socially-distanced delivery will be provided to people in and around Sedgefield. Orders can be placed from the comfort of your home.

Call Brian Mutch on 01740 622302, e-mail b.mutch@btconnect.com or write to 6 Hasledon Grove, Sedgefield, TS21 2JW. For the first time the Friends have the facility for payment by credit or debit card.


Church Clock Appeal

Brian Mutch is also the person to contact to donate to the Friends’ appeal to restore the Victorian church tower clock to its former beauty and to correct working order. The Friends are are delighted with the initial response, saying it’s clear from the donations already received that the plan is much appreciated.

The aim is to have the faded blue paintwork re-painted and the fingers re-gilded with gold leaf, returning the Victorian clock to its previous attractive state, as seen above.


In Memory of Mam by Steve Orwin

My mother, Margaret Orwin, passed away recently. A week before her passing she read an article in the Sedgefield News about the St. Edmund’s Church clock refurbishment campaign and she asked my Dad to send a donation to the fund.

St. Edmund’s Church was very close to Mam’s heart. Her mother, Margaret Barratt, a sister at Sedgefield Hospital during the 50's and 60's, donated a flower stand which is still in place today. The family will also be making a donation to the fund. It will be lovely to know that when any family visit Sedgefield village, we can look at the finished clock face in memory of Mam.


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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:

  1st December 2020-Registration Opens
  8th February 2021-Registration Closes
  9th February 2021-Day of Auction
  22nd February 2021-Offers letters issued
  23rd March 2021-Offer acceptance closure

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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


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