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

How safe is your dog?

Since the start of lockdown, pet dogs have become more and more popular. Demand has meant that puppy prices have increased dramatically. This has also led to an increase in unscrupulous breeders so if you are in the market for Man’s Best Friend take extra care by ensuring that you deal with a registered breeder.

Make sure that you visit the premises where the dogs are kept, inspect the conditions and ask to see both parents. If both aren’t available then see at least one and ask for the details and ownership of the other so that you can check it out and if possible, visit that parent also.

This is especially important BEFORE you hand over any money. Plenty of advice is available on the internet about pet purchases so make sure you do your homework first.

If you are already a dog owner then it is highly likely that your pet has increased in value. NHW have received enquiries for advice from dog walkers who are apprehensive given the stories circulating regarding dog thefts. We would advise all dog owners to take the following precautions:
- Keep an up-to-date photo of your pet;
- Keep an exact note of the contents of your pet’s microchip;
- Don’t walk isolated routes;
- Vary your walking times and routes;
- Don’t publicise your puppy on social media;
- Never mention to anyone how much you paid for it;
- Try to go for a walk with a friend or relative;
- Carry a personal attack alarm; (Police approved models on Amazon start at about £5.50);
- Make sure your garden is secure with a high gate that is kept locked. It’s better to take these precautions than to be a victim.

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 8.30am-12.15

The gradual loosening of lockdown restrictions and the outlined plan ahead suggests that by June, a fuller, more normal Market might be possible. It is likely to still require social distancing and other well-practised precautions. Also in June we will begin to spread out the Market to accommodate more stalls.

However, the first step for Sedgefield Farmer’s Market will take place on Sunday 2nd May when the SDT’s Bicycle & Active Travel group returns to the Green to provide help with cycle maintenance. They will be set apart from the main market.


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 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

Huge thank you to everyone today, great team effort once again! We now have a 100m hedge and 180 more oaks/silver birch planted on site, plus 3 oaks and a chestnut donated by Sedgefield in Bloom.

Our volunteers put many hours of dedication into taking care of the Woodland & Wildlife site and it is very disheartening to get on site to see that others haven’t been respectful to the area we love so much. Recently we have seen evidence of off road vehicles (see right), dumped garden waste, the leftovers of a night out (including a tent!) and the usual general litter.

The area is managed to create habitats for wildlife and the unwanted litter and garden waste can be very detrimental to the biodiversity of the site. Gardens often include plants which are invasive species. When they escape into wild areas, they can wipe out all other plants which are important to the life cycle of the insects, birds and mammals in that area. Volunteers have to spend many hours clearing away other peoples rubbish which has been dumped on site.

The solution to prevent vehicle access to the site is a tricky one, we are looking at ways to achieve this. Each incident of off road vehicles is reported to the police, who classify it as Criminal Damage. We would like to make this appeal to the public - PLEASE, if you see off road vehicle activity, inform the police or encourage any drivers you know to stay on privately owned land if permitted.


Homework Help

We've welcomed another couple of students recently, which is lovely. We like to help people out with their learning whenever we can. If you'd like help with (or could offer to help with), contact homework@sedgefielddevelopmenttrust.co.uk.


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


Regular Feature

Steve's Nature Diary

I recently went into a school to do a forest school session, the first time for a year. After all the issues with lock down it was a little strange, but I was outside and lots of Covid precautions were in place.

The session started with an old favourite: a scavenger hunt, only ten things for the pupils to find, but during the process of looking carefully they found a lot more, including a little girl who found a two spotted ladybird, so we spent a little bit of time having a closer look at them, and questions followed along the lines of, “Does that mean it is 2 years old?” Answer, “No, it means it is a two spotted lady bird, one of 26 species of ladybird in the UK.” I then went on to discuss how a ladybird is a beetle which really confused them. Beetles come in an amazing variety of colours, sizes and shapes – they are not all black and as some people say ugly! Although they are often seen crawling around they all have hardened front wings which protect the hind pair of wings called elytra.

Beetles are the unsung heroes of the garden and the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and The Wildlife Trusts seek our support as they launch 2021’s Wild About Gardens campaign. The two charities are calling on gardeners to create habitats for these important but often overlooked insects which are a vital part of every healthy garden. Providing a patch for beetles, including ladybirds, ground beetles and rose chafers, is a great way to encourage balance in the garden and boost biodiversity. Many species are under threat from habitat loss, pesticide use and climate change. The UK has more than 4,000 beetle species and, although a handful may eat plants, many are predators, pollinators and decomposers, feeding both the soil and larger garden visitors such as birds and hedgehogs. Ladybirds help gardeners by eating aphids while some ground beetles feed on vine weevil grubs and water beetles keep mosquito larvae under control in ponds. Even the much-maligned lily beetle provides food for parasitoid wasps.

Whenever I stroll around the garden or am out for a walk, I am always on the lookout for insects including beetles. They play such an important part in the ecosystem, with different roles in garden life – nibblers, pest controllers, pollinators, recyclers, and even undertakers. Like so much of our wildlife, they are under threat and I hope by shining a spotlight on them you might start to appreciate and encourage beetles in your gardens.

A downloadable ‘Bring back our beetles’ guide and more information about the campaign can be found on the Wild About Gardens website at: www.wildaboutgardens.org.uk

Regular Feature

Ceddesfeld Hall: Home of Sedgefield Community Association

Maxine Robinson

SCA is deeply saddened by the death of Maxine Robinson. Maxine was a loyal, hardworking, knowledgeable, astute and very dedicated Trustee for many years. She diligently served the community of Sedgefield in various and wide-ranging roles, which meant she was involved with many people (of all ages) within the town.

Maxine was born in Sedgefield, at Hardwick Hall. She spent her childhood years in West Cornforth, and then Hartlepool before coming back to Sedgefield, when she married John, in 1982. She settled to family life and got involved. So many people, from different groups, organisations and charitable associations will remember her enthusiasm, work ethic and wide-ranging skills. During her time with Sedgefield Ladies Circle (for whom she became Northern Area Chairman), she took a lead role in arranging the annual children’s and pensioner’s Christmas parties.

She was active (as a mother and a grandmother) with the school PTA; she particularly enjoyed planning aspects of the SCA Mediaeval Fayre, organising the raffle, business sponsorship and so much more; she helped run the local Brownies group; she was part of the Twinning Association. Maxine was Secretary for Sedgefield Civic Trust and helped in the setting up of the annual youth awards, floral awards, and mobile movie nights. For over 10 years, Maxine was Chairman for Friends of Darlington Civic Theatre; around £100,000 was raised for them over the years. She organised open days in the theatre around panto time and she arranged receptions for the public to meet the actors.

Maxine was also a long serving Town Councillor and as Mayor of Sedgefield, she raised money for Butterwick Hospice, various youth groups and the GP surgery. She also arranged the mural which is hung in the entrance to the surgery. Above all, Maxine loved her family, her children, and grandchildren - every hair on their head - with all her heart. She will be greatly missed and very fondly remembered by the many people, from all walks of life, who knew her.

Maxine knew the true meaning of ‘Service’ and gave a great deal of her time and considerable expertise, much of it behind the scenes, so that others could experience, enjoy and benefit from community events and activities.


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


The Hive

The Hive of Sedgefield, a not for profit, Community Interest Company led by volunteers, has proudly opened its doors to the public in Rectory Row.

They are selling freshly cut British flowers and local honey in the shop, alongside an art gallery in which a ‘spot on the wall’ provides a welcome opportunity for locals to display their own art work, photography or crafts. All are invited to call in and say hello and to see what is on offer. The Hive also welcome new volunteers for various roles, from gardening to serving customers.

If you would like more information about potentially volunteering or to enquire about a ‘spot on the wall’ then please call in for a chat.

The current volunteers have been busy bees in preparing the building and garden and we would very much welcome an extra pair of wings to join the happy hive.


Images of Sedgefield and the Surrounding Area

Paul Heasman contributes some delightful images to the Sedgefield News Facebook and Farmer's Market pages. Those taken on his drone camera (left & front page) early on at the April market are exceptional.

More of his photographs, along with those of other enthusiasts, can be seen on a special Facebook page. Search for the group ‘Images of Sedgefield and the Surrounding Area' to find an invitation to join. Paul says "I'd encourage anyone local to join and post their photos, shining a light onto some of the treasures in our locality while also allowing those members of our community who can't get out and about an opportunity to see some of the sights for themselves."


Creating a national walking network

Slow Ways is an initiative to create a national network of walking routes connecting all of Great Britain’s towns and cities as well as thousands of villages.

Using existing paths, ways, trails and roads, people can use Slow Ways routes to walk or wheel (pushchairs, wheelchairs but not bicycles) between neighbouring settlements and combine them to create longer distance trips. It’s designed to make it easier for people to imagine, plan and go on walking journeys.

There are currently over 7,000 Slow Ways stretching for over 100,000km. This network of routes was created by 700 volunteers during the Spring 2020 lockdown, creating a unique Slow Ways map in the process.

The next challenge in 2021 is to walk, review and verify them all - checking 100,000km of Slow Ways in the process. Sedgefield News had a sneak preview of the website before it officially launched on 23 April. Sedgefield has six different Slow Ways. The routes are named using the first three letters of each location with the most westerly location listed first. The routes to and from Sedgefield are:

FERSED Ferryhill to Sedgefield 9km 6mi
NEWSED Newton Aycliffe to Sedgefield 12km 7mi
SEDPET Sedgefield to Peterlee 20km 12mi
SEDBIL Sedgefield to Billingham 18km 11mi
SEDSTO Sedgefield to Stockton 17km 10mi
SEDHAR Sedgefield to Hartlepool 20km 12mi


Each of the routes now needs to be verified which you can do by walking one of the routes and completing a simple online form. You can also survey the routes and suggest better alternatives. You can find out more at their website: www.slowways.uk


Recycling Centres now staying open for longer

Many of Durham County Council’s household waste recycling centres will now be open from 9:00am to 6:00pm each day. Our closest, in Coxhoe is open 10am-16pm Monday to Thursday and 9am-18pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

The council has created a new online interactive map which members of the public can use to get an indication of whether or not their local site is busy.

A green light indicates there is no queue at a particular centre, whereas a red one means that visitors are likely to face a queue.

The map is updated once every hour at www.durham.gov.uk/hwrc As we ease out of the Government’s lockdown restrictions, members of the public are advised to only visit the recycling centres if necessary and that some sites may be busy.


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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:

  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

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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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