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Get the cycling BUG

Did you get out on your bike for your daily lockdown exercise? Have you just dug your old bike out from the back of the shed, or have you seen the greater number of people on bikes around the village and thought you might like to give that a try?

Sedgefield Development Trust is looking into ways that we can make cycling fun, safe and convenient in the village and the surrounding areas. We want everyone to feel that cycling is for them, and whether you are a keen cyclist or a total beginner, we want you to feel that cycling in Sedgefield is something you are able to do in whatever way suits you.

So much of our village is easily and quickly reachable by bike. We are looking to develop cycle parking in more convenient places to allow you to explore the businesses and leisure facilities in the area. We have so many wonderful local shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants who would love to see you, and you will be amazed how much shopping you can carry home on a bike!

Cycling is a fantastic way to get some exercise without having to join a gym or make a special effort to join a class or go for a run – it fits into your daily routine if you use your bike to shop or ride to work. The government are encouraging healthy lifestyles and in some cases doctors can even ‘prescribe’ cycling to help people stay well – we want to help you do this too. Cycling can also save you a significant amount of money – petrol, parking, insurance and servicing all make running a car very expensive these days, but reducing car use makes immediate savings. For motorists too, reducing the number of cars on the road makes things easier for those who really need to drive by freeing up space and improving traffic flow.

Whether you are an experienced cyclist, have returned to cycling recently or haven’t a clue where to start, we want to hear from you.

As a first step, we have set up a Bicycle User Group for the village as a source of information, advice and a focus for organising events and improvements. If you would be interested in being part of the BUG, please email us at SedgefieldBUG@gmail.com, find us on Twitter @SedgefieldBUG or search on Facebook for Sedgefield Bicycle Users Group.

Let us know what you need from us to help you to achieve whatever you want to get out of cycling in the village and round about; we can’t promise to do everything at once, but letting us know your priorities will help us to plan.

For example – do you need more bike parking?
Advice about equipment?
Do you need to know how to fix a puncture or how to plan your route? However small or large, let us know!
There will be a stall at next month’s Farmers Market on September 6th offering minor cycle repairs if you want to bring your bike along, and the BUG will be represented there too if you want to have a socially distanced chat!

In the coming months, watch out for more news about ways Sedgefield Development Trust and the BUG will be working to try to improve facilities in the village, and if you have any suggestions please contact us at the places above. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Regular Feature

Greener Sedgefield

As the weather cools we inevitably look out something warmer to wear, and fleeces seem ideal, lightweight & easy to wash, but unfortunately, these synthetic fabrics are a huge part of the problem of micro plastics in our waters. Around 60% of new fabrics contain plastics and the effects are beginning to be more understood. Researchers have found microfibres in table salt and drinking water and are investigating the harm hidden plastics may do.

We depend on synthetic fabrics like polyester, nylon, acrylic or similar for warmth, waterproofs and performance sportswear, but as we wash them, tiny fibres so small that washing machine filters or treatment works cannot catch them, break away and get into our waterways. Studies show that a single acrylic wash could lose hundreds of thousands of microfibers.

The fibres appeal to and are ingested by the smallest of marine life, zooplankton and crabs, making their way through the food chain as each host in turn becomes dinner for the bigger fish, eventually arriving on our own plates. Some washing machine manufacturers recognise the issue and are already fitting special filters on new models, but as there's no law requiring them to do so the uptake in Europe is quite slow. Retro fitting the filters would be a huge, expensive task so in the meantime there are things that we can do.

Firstly, where possible look to buy natural clothing like wool and cotton. Secondly, where you have synthetic garments it's suggested that you wash them only when they really need it, in cooler water, using liquid detergent, on a full load and not using a tumble dryer. Preventing fabrics rubbing together will create less friction damage and fewer microfibres will be released.

Thirdly, there are special washing eco bags and fibre collecting balls on the market. They can't catch them all but will reduce the number of microfibres making their way into the waterways and the food chain. As with lint from a dryer please don't wash the fibres down the sink, pop them in the bin. Of course washing up with synthetic cloths or using microfibres cloths can do the same damage. There are plenty of alternatives including some sponges made from coconuts and of course you can simply use a cloth made from an old cotton t-shirt.
If you would like to know more or to share ideas about this or other eco topics, join Greener Sedgefield on Facebook.

Bells rung to celebrate brave youngster’s cancer remission

After months of silence, bells at St Edmund’s, Sedgefield and St Michael’s, Bishop Middleham, rang out to celebrate a medical milestone in the life of a Scottish youngster known to local churchgoers.

The end of cancer treatment for the seven-year-old grand-daughter of Michael and Judith King was marked by the peal at the same time as the youngster, her family and friends were ringing a bell specially made for the occasion in a park near her home in Scotland.

Normally, children in remission 'ring the bell' in the hospital where they have received treatment, but due to the Covid pandemic this could not happen, so her parents decided to mark the occasion with a different bell-ringing. They invited friends and family to walk through the park at 2 pm, whilst maintaining social distancing. In Sedgefield, the church bell was rung by emeritus warden Brian Mutch assisted by Tower Captain Janet Tiplady, while at St Michael’s the bell was rung by parish warden John Burrows.

Mr and Mrs King attended the Scottish celebration which they described as ‘a tremendous occasion following a long illness for a very brave little girl’. They have spoken of their gratitude to all those who provided medical care during this time and for all the support and care the whole family has received from so many people.


Happy 100th birthday

My Nan, Margaret Harris, turned 100 on Sunday 26th July and had a wonderful day. She lived in Sedgefield for 30 years at Crispin Court before moving to Homebryth House. Last year, she had to move to the Hospital of God in Greatham, where she is very happy and settled. I had planned to get a minibus for all her friends to attend her birthday party but, due to Covid, this was not allowed.

My Nan was an active member of the community, being in the carpet bowls group for many years, in the twinning association going to Germany on several occasions and was a practicing Catholic at the village church.

She misses her friends and neighbours and wanted to send a big thank you for all the cards and for the lovely flowers from her friends at Homebryth. Nikki Easton


Treefest falls victim to COVID-19

Uncertainty surrounding the pandemic has ruled out November’s planned St. Edmund’s Christmas Tree Festival. The decision was not made lightly but it was felt that it should be made sooner than later.

Members of groups and businesses who had pledged support have been thanked, their sponsorship money to be returned. Supporters of Treefest, one of the region’s most popular festive events, will be glad to hear that planning the 2021 festival begins early in the New Year.
Since the festival was launched in 2016 it has raised thousands of pounds for the church, charities and deserving organisations.


Sedgefield News: from the past

by Martin F Peagam, The Time Traveller, for Sedgefield Local History Society.

No updates this month.
For more about your local history, visit Facebook/Sedgefield Local History Society


Grants available to support independent living

Residents with disabilities can take advantage of home improvement grants of up to £30,000 through Durham County Council’s Home Improvement Agency. The Disabled Facilities Grants can help disabled and vulnerable residents to adapt their homes to meet their needs and enhance their quality of life. Owner-occupiers, private rental tenants and housing association tenants are all eligible. Typical adaptations include ramps, level access showers, stair lifts, external lifts, through floor lifts, internal and external alterations and extensions (for ground floor living).

During the coronavirus outbreak many older and more vulnerable people have had to spend a lot more time in their homes. For many, this could continue for some time and we want to make residents aware of the help available to make their homes safe and comfortable. The Home Improvement Agency staff will help clients through the entire process, from identifying their individual needs and the adaptions that could help, all the way through to the completion of the work. Anyone who thinks they or someone they know might benefit from this support is encouraged to get in touch” As well as the grants, home improvement loans are available to anyone who owns their own home. Repayment, equity and interest free loans are offered to fund such works as roof renewal and repairs, window and door renewal, damp proofing, electrical and heating improvements and structural work.

There is also a project management service for anyone planning adaptations in their own homes. For a small fee, a housing surveyor can design to an individual’s brief, tender, appoint contractors and project manage the work through to completion. This can be anything from small scale internal work to larger extensions, along with adaptations for disabled clients who do not qualify for grant assistance.

The Home Improvement Agency also provides advice and guidance for older or disabled people to find out about adaptions that could benefit them. For more information about who is eligible and how to apply, visit www.durham.gov.uk/article/3373/Disabled-Facilities-Grant, OR contact either dhia@durham.gov.uk or the council’s Social Care Direct team. Call 03000 267 979 or email scd@durham.gov.uk


Food Glorious Food

One positive outcome from lockdown has been that collectively we have paid more attention to what we eat. The scarcity of flour indicated that more of us were baking and making things from scratch. Making the most of every scrap of food, we got inventive with leftovers, and many of us planted seeds to grow our own. In many ways we returned to good housekeeping methods, minimising waste and rediscovering basic skills. This is good for the planet, good for our bodies, and good for our finances. There is also evidence that preparing and eating fresh food is good for our mental health, with bonus points for spending time outside growing our own.

As a farming area, food production is all around us. The Sedgefield Show celebrates the best that farming has to offer. There is a strong tradition of allotments in the area, with plots in both Fishburn and Sedgefield. The wonderful ‘Growing together in Sedgefield’ has created a space for the community to produce and share food. The monthly Farmers Market is an opportunity to buy mouth-watering local produce direct from the makers. Supermarkets collect and donate to foodbanks to help local people in need, and staff at Fishburn Youth and Community Centre delivered hot food and goodies to vulnerable people over lockdown. We are also lucky to have an abundance of wild food for picking in hedgerows.

So before things ‘get back to normal’, what can we do as a community to keep up these good habits? Do you have a food growing or making tip to share? Do you have surplus fruit or veg which you could donate? Do you want to learn more about foraging or preserving? What is the best way of sharing ideas and resources in our community?
Get in touch with your ideas and enthusiasm. Email news@ sedgefielddevelopmenttrust.co.uk


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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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