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

Sedgefield Neighbourhood Watch

What3Words
Durham Police Officers have been able to identify the locations of more than 350 incidents using an app which pinpoints the user’s exact location no matter where they are.
‘What3words’ has been used in dozens of different circumstances recently, including to help find a missing boy, rescue a dog which had fallen down a ravine, track down stolen vehicles and find three walkers reported missing. The concept operates by dividing the world into three by three metre squares, giving each a unique three-word address which equips people with a simple way of referring to a specific location.

Since it was introduced to Durham Constabulary it has helped police call handlers and officers to locate hundreds of people who have needed help. Without the technology it is likely that it would have taken longer and used more resources to provide the help and assistance required.

Anyone unable to identify their location when calling 101 or 999 can be sent a text message with a link which will provide them with the three-word code they need to provide. This will be relayed to the call handler who can, if necessary, pass it on to an officer who can use What3words to locate someone in need of help, or recover evidence or something causing an obstruction. A spokesman for Durham Constabulary, said: “We always knew it had the potential to make a difference when responding to an incident, particularly in rural areas where it is often more difficult to provide an exact location. However, it is great to see the positive impact this has had, especially when people have been in significant danger or distress and we have been able to find them and provide help quicker than we would have done without it.

Obviously, there are other ways to communicate locations but this is quirky and simple enough to use and we have received some really positive feedback from those who have needed to use it.” The only requirement is that you use your mobile phone so make sure you always carry it with you - it can save your life.

Latest Scams The latest text & e-mail scams are asking people to check and confirm their billing information for Amazon, Netflix and iTunes, amongst others. Do not be fooled by what looks like a well-known, reputable company. Remember they will never ask you for your bank details.

Others request the information in order to reinstate your ‘cancelled’ or ‘frozen’ account or to get a refund of incorrect charges. Whilst it is a big temptation to authorise a surprise refund, don’t be tempted, otherwise the surprise will certainly be a nasty one.
If you experience scam texts or telephone calls please let Susie Blake know. Email Susie.blake@durham.pnn.police.uk Please lock up, stay safe and sleep well.

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 2nd August

Trading time will be the same, 8.30 am to 12.30 pm.
Before the market
If you know what you want from specific traders, please consider ordering it for collection and pay before collecting your order. Traders may make arrangements for you to pick up your order from behind their stall if you don’t want to enter the one-way system.
The market operation
The market will be set up around the usual triangle of paths, with a one-way system in force. Stewards will be at tables at the 3 corners, separating the Entry & Exit points. They will guide and advise you on safety. Hand sanitiser will be provided here for use on both gloved and un-gloved hands. Notices displayed around the market will be for your own and other people’s safety, so please do act on these. If the market becomes busy, the stewards may request you to wait to enter until other shoppers have left.

If you have the virus or feel unwell, please don’t come to the market. Please ask someone else to shop for you. Otherwise, please...
Enter the Market at one corner of the triangle and leave at a convenient corner.
Listen carefully to stewards and heed their requests.
Observe the one-way system & the two-metre spacing.
Come singly or with as few household members as possible.
Bring a dog ONLY if it is your trained assistance dog. Bring and use your own face masks and gloves.
Avoid stopping to chat - even with friends you haven’t seen for some time.
Minimise the use of cash, instead use contactless payment methods where possible.
Although the bench seat within the triangle will be taped off, you can of course use the benches and green away from the market as a socially distanced ‘chat zone’, at your own discretion. Together we can make this work safely. Above all, let’s make it a happy occasion.


Energy Switch

Our 6th year of Energy Switch
August sees the anniversary of our energy switching programme and as we continue to believe that it offers the best opportunity to reduce energy bills, we will continue to promote the scheme for another year. For those whose current contract comes to an end before the end of the year and wish to continue, or for people wishing to join for the first time, here are the key dates. Registration opens on 4th August and closes on 5th October. The Auction follows on 6th October, with Personal Offers issued from 19th October. Acceptance closes on 17th November. If you are confident online, go to https://bigcommunityswitch.co.uk/sedgefield-development-trust, and ‘Sign up today’ buttons and simply fill out your details. If you prefer to register and receive information through the post, or need any help, call the Trust Helpline on 07980 134 594 and we will help or register for you. If you need more information, find us at the SDT stall during Farmers Market.



Woodland & Wildlife

Always welcoming social distanced help.


Homework Help

While requests for Homework Help have continued, the library is currently closed and so we cannot meet there for the time being. Some resourceful students and helpers are arranging remote sessions using Skype, WhatsApp, Google Hangouts or similar, but this isn't feasible for everyone. We can offer help via e-mail where that is practical.

We will get back to normal operation as soon as that is viable, but meantime, if you'd like to get in touch, find us on Facebook or email us at homework@sedgefielddevelopmenttrust.co.uk

Regular Feature

Steve's Nature Diary

When you read this we will be half way through The Wildlife Trust’s annual "National Marine Week" which runs until the 9th August.

It is a nationwide celebration of all things marine. This year, of course, it is slightly different due to the Covid-19 crisis, but there are still lots of things you can get involved in. We are fortunate in this area to have easy access to the coast, whether it is the sand dunes at Seaton Carew or the rock pools at Redcar and Saltburn. A visit to the coast for me always involves spending time looking for shells, pebbles or rock pooling and can provide memorable encounters with sea life. No matter what our marine wildlife experience, from charismatic sharks and dolphins to unassuming limpets and barnacles, they all have one thing in common. They all make us stop in our tracks and appreciate the beauty of the natural world around us.

Have you got an all-time favourite marine wildlife experience? Share it and you might win a prize. You can find more information here. https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/get-involved/campaign/national-marine-week The Wildlife Trusts are asking you to support a campaign for more protection for the marine habitat. Our seas are in an impoverished state and it's hard for our generation to comprehend how abundant our waters once were. Cod were once as long and wide as humans are tall, and whales, dolphins and basking sharks were many times more common than they are today.

At present there are 91 Marine Conservation Zones (MCZ,) which is a start, but existing Marine Protected Areas are limited in their ability to restore habitats and wildlife because their remit to protect nature only extends as far as maintaining the status quo. In these areas, only some of the most damaging activities are prevented and even then, only in some locations. The Wildlife Trusts back a new form of protection for the sea and call on the Government for an ambitious delivery plan for Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMA) within a year. In Highly Protected Marine Areas, all damaging activities including fishing, dredging, construction and sea angling would be banned. This new type of designation means that nature could properly recover. HPMAs could be monitored to allow us to understand what a thriving seabed and restored marine life really means. They could set a bar against which other sorts of protected areas could be measured.

For more information and to support the campaign visit www.wildlifetrusts.org/help-save-our-seas

Regular Feature

Ceddesfeld Hall: Home of Sedgefield Community Association

Following the most recent (July 4th) Government guidance and advice relating to community venues, the Trustees of SCA are working towards a limited reopening of Ceddesfeld Hall.

They are aware of their legal responsibility under health and safety law and have prepared the necessary ‘Covid-19 Secure’ risk assessments, which outline the reasonable measures necessary in order to ensure that the premises, access to it, and any equipment or substances provided are safe for people using it, so far is reasonably practicable. An explanatory letter has been sent to all sections, groups and members and the risk assessments may be viewed on the SCA website.

It is essential going forward, that regular users of Ceddesfeld Hall (groups and sections) respond to the letter to let us know their thoughts and plans for a possible return, within the current limitations and restrictions. The SCA are aware that some of the larger groups, (because of the practical nature of their activities), will not be able to return for the foreseeable future, but it is possible that smaller group meetings could take place, within the 2m/1m+ distance rule. Each group needs to consider their own members views and position going forward.

The bar might open, at the discretion of the bar committee and through agreement with the Trustees. The availability of volunteer bar workers is also a key factor.

SCA is really looking forward to getting back to normal; to a time when the different activities and events can take place safely. Our members, sections and groups make a vital contribution to community life in Sedgefield. In the meantime, the Trustees will work towards a limited reopening and look forward to hearing from members. The SCA email address is info@sedgefieldsca.org.uk.


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


A letter of thanks

I would like to extend heartfelt thanks to my dear friends for their kindness in sending so many cards and flowers on the occasion of my 90th birthday. I was overwhelmed and very touched. In current circumstances we were restricted so I had two parties, one each for my Darlington and Wakefield families! I also had an early surprise when some friends from the OSF group visited. Fortunately we were lucky with the weather so could celebrate outside. Many thanks once again. I feel truly blessed to have such good friends. Audrey Lofthouse


Housing Development Money may be allocated to the community, but how will it be spent?

As members of the team that spent time putting forward the majority community view on housing applications in Sedgefield we think it is time for an update on S106 monies (money allocated to a development, and paid by the developer, to make it acceptable and mitigate problems it may cause in the community i.e. school places, access to doctors, infrastructure issues and general community needs.)

Whilst it is Durham County Council (DCC) who manage the allocation of monies, at planning meetings and appeals we were assured by Inspectors and DCC legal team that our community would be consulted and ‘have a say’ on the use of the monies. We have asked for that consultation for about 2 years but it has not been forthcoming; we’ve requested an update on allocated and available amounts of money for our community (some money is paid ‘up front’ whilst some is paid as houses are completed.) However, it seems because of COVID 19 DCC are attending to other priorities than S106.

They gave the following advice:
We would advise that all projects may need to be reviewed in light of current circumstances, particularly in relation to the potential economic impact, and how it affects developer contributions, club or group sustainability and so on. We will be in touch when we can commence this work. (from Culture & Leisure Senior Officers.)

We feel sure that the effects of this lockdown will mean many community groups will need some extra financial support and maybe s106 could be accessed. There is a longstanding, urgent need to provide an area where young people can enjoy themselves other than organised clubs. DCC have recently torn down some bike jumps a father and the boys built; the kids are not allowed access to the land at what is supposed to be a community college; other green areas are too close to houses and may result in annoyance. In fact, unlike in our neighbouring communities there is nowhere in Sedgefield where young people can casually meet and have a kick about etc. That is just one example.

Pavements are in a bad way, safety measures on roads are needed, safe crossings etc. S106 should help address some of these. The new Community College build is to go ahead with money ‘ring fenced’. SCC is now an Academy (private, not local authority) so we hope it is not S106 that is ‘ring fenced’.

We cannot have public meetings at present but our community needs to make sure we get a say in the spend of hundreds of thousands of pounds of S106. We asked the question, what happened to the £5000 from the Thurlow Rd redevelopment to be told it was ‘loaned’ to Fishburn to be repaid to Sedgefield but would you believe the people responsible for it can’t remember what happened to it as it was 4 years ago. We could use that £5000!

We fear our community needs to speak up if we are to get what we are entitled to. Is anyone willing to help take this forward? Julia Bowles for Sedgefield Village Action Group (SVAG). Contact: lizmitch47@gmail.com


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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:

  4th August-Registration Opens
  5th October-Registration Closes
  6th October-Day of Auction
  19th October-Offers letters issued
  17th November-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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