From BUGs to BATs?
Even though the weather has been awful recently, the Bicycle Users Group has been very busy in the background! A number of group members had a useful meeting with representatives from Durham County Council to present our vision for cycling and active travel in and around Sedgefield. The main points that emerged from the meeting are:
Improvements to the A689 Cycleway to Wynyard have been included in the proposal for the A689 corridor that is to be put to the government for funding approval.
If approved, this will see the cycleway resurfaced and widened to allow easy walking and cycling to the NCN1 Castle Eden Walkway and the provision of a proper cycle/pedestrian bridge linking Sedgefield to the improved cycle path – no more running across the road and hopefully no more sliding in the mud! In the short term the council has agreed to repair the muddiest sections of the existing track and to clear it back to its full width.
The BUG was asked to help make businesses aware of a grant scheme that is available through DCC to provide bike parking outside individual business premises. Full details to follow of how to apply, but this would be a great opportunity for local businesses to encourage cyclists to visit. Recent research has shown that walkers and cyclists spend up to 40% more than motorists and make around twice as many visits to shops, so this would be great for our range of specialist shops and facilities when lockdown ends!
We were also asked to consult on improvements to pedestrian access to Hardwick Park. The council want to either locate a new crossing at the Sands Hall roundabout or a new gravel path to the underpass. We are waiting for the details from DCC so watch the BUG Facebook Page for more information.
Finally, if you have read this far you will have noticed much more mention of walking in this update. Because of this, we are keen to change the name of this project from Sedgefield Bicycle Users Group to Bikes and Active Travel – BAT for short! What do you think?
Please follow the Facebook group and get involved! https://www.facebook.com/groups/289867685602438
Funding to Create Resilient Rural Communities
Bradbury, Mordon, Fishburn & Bishop Middleham are all communities of the qualifying size to be able to benefit from this scheme.
Grants of up to £10,000 are available for projects from across the UK which are working to create resilient rural communities. The Prince's Countryside Fund will award funding from the Barclays 100x100 UK Covid-19 Community Relief Fund to support farming and rural communities to cope with the impact of Covid-19, to expand on new services that have emerged to support the local community during this time and to build future resilience.
Applications are encouraged from community-led organisations with a turnover under £500,000 per year, from communities with a population of up to 3,000 residents. Examples could Include rolling out longer term food and medicine delivery services; social groups to support isolated people; or mental health support. The Fund will close when enough eligible applications have been received.
Useful Links: How to Write a Strong Application -
Vaccinations for housebound residents
Thousands of people across County Durham who are unable to leave their homes, are receiving their COVID-19 vaccination thanks to the district nursing teams from County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust. Not everyone is able to attend one of the vaccination centres set up across the County, so working with GP practices and Durham County Council as part of the County Durham Care Partnership they are ensuring that people in the top priority groups are able to have their vaccine as quickly as possible, in the safety and comfort of their own home.
District nursing teams are based in local community hubs and are involved in caring for many of the people now being vaccinated. Most are in high risk age categories and many have had limited contact with loved ones for almost a year. Having the vaccine will help protect them.
It can be an emotional experience for many older patients, who remember a time before national vaccination programmes and are incredibly appreciative and grateful. It is humbling for staff, but rewarding to be involved in something so positive.
A volunteer’s reflections
I’ve lived in Sedgefield for over 25 years and have always counted myself lucky to live in such a beautiful friendly place. Three years ago, I made a New Year resolution to say ‘Yes’ to the first Sedgefield volunteering opportunity that came my way as a thank you to the village and its folk. That opportunity turned out to be The Woodland and Wildlife Project.
A couple of weeks later, along with a small army of fellow villagers, I found myself on a snowy March morning trying to plant tiny trees (whips) into frozen ground with a random selection of garden tools we had brought from our homes. Remarkably, that day we somehow managed to plant nearly 500 whips and had a lot of fun and interesting chats about trees, gardens, birds and how achy our backs were getting.
Since then, lots more whips have been planted and a hedge is being established. We’ve had a botany group walk us round the site pointing out the kinds of flora in the woodland. We’ve had wildlife experts showing us where to build bat boxes and nesting boxes for birds. In the spring and summer, we do some targeted weeding to allow the trees to grow and in the winter we turn discarded Christmas trees into mulch and wildlife habitats.
I’m glad I made that New Year resolution – being involved has got me out in the fresh air in all weathers and helped me appreciate the beauty of all the seasons. I’ve learned so much about woodlands and wildlife and I’ve benefited from the exercise too! I’ve had some lovely and interesting chats with fellow woodlanders as we’ve hacked back weeds and created pathways.
From our woodland site, we have watched some new houses being built in the distance and just recently we have seen young families moving into the houses. I love to think that by the time the children are grown, they will have an established woodland to walk through and maybe they’ll think how lucky they are to live in this village too.
If you’d like to get involved with the project, please contact Melissa at
or join our Facebook page “Woodland & Wildlife - Sedgefield”.
In February, we celebrated Children’s Mental Health Week. The theme was ‘Express Yourself’ and we decided a few of our favourite dance moves were in order. We enjoyed throwing some shapes and showed that you can’t be moody when you start to boogie! Once we began, we couldn’t stop!
We showed how we felt about the world around us by creating collages of our likes and dislikes, dressing up in our favourite clothes that make us feel happy and busting a groove to some of our favourite songs. We all realised how important it is to express our feelings - especially during these difficult times and to always remember who we are and how important it is to stay positive and never give up.
As part of the Sedgefield Hardwick community, looking out for each other’s wellbeing is something that we all do on a daily basis especially during these tough times. “It felt good to help raise awareness about the importance of children’s mental health and it makes me happy to spread a message to those that need it most,” revealed a Year 6 pupil. You can see some of our best dance moves on the school Facebook page – hopefully it will bring a smile to peoples’ faces!
Beware of the dog
Just a warning to dog walkers who use the field at St Luke’s Crescent.
I was walking with my young son and our little dog, who is of a nervous disposition after being attacked, so is always on a lead. We stay away from other dogs because of this.
A Rottweiler came bounding over, clearly wanting to play, but my dog growled. The dog did not respond to its owner and continued to run at us and jump at my dog. An altercation ensued, my 3 year old son was jumped all over by that dog. I had to grapple to get my dog, who escaped from his harness in the panic as the two dogs went at each other. I fell during the incident but managed to protect my dog.
If your dog does not respond to you, it should not be off the lead! It’s so unsafe for all other dog owners. We should be able to feel safe walking outside our own house. This would not have happened if the dog had been on a lead OR had responded to its owner!
A heartfelt thank you to the woman who came to check I was OK. The police have been notified.
Recently I have had the opportunity to visit Parish Council meetings virtually and it would be great to talk to any other groups who are having online meetings.
If you would like me to come along to any meetings, either just to talk or for you to raise an issue, please drop me an email or call and if I can I will join you.
The Covid-19 lockdowns have prevented us from continuing the pop up surgeries we had started earlier in the year but hopefully we will soon see restrictions start to lift.
Once we are allowed, we will visit in person again, but if you want to raise a more personal issue with me before then, please contact us.
Member of Parliament for Sedgefield
Still supporting Macmillan
With the cancellation of hundreds of traditional fundraising events due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it's more important than ever to find safe ways to raise money to support Macmillan to provide emotional, practical and financial support to people living with cancer.
These best friends from Sedgefield are taking the Macmillan Hike to raise money for this Charity. They have all unfortunately lost or known someone close, who has been affected by cancer and they're raising money in their memory, but more recently for George Alderson. The family of this much loved Sedgefield gentleman, who has recently lost his battle, would have found the time even more of a struggle without support from Macmillan.
If you would normally attend a Macmillan coffee morning or other event which is now cancelled because of the Pandemic, but would still like to donate, please follow the link below to donate.
Thanks in advance, Angela, Kelly, Deanne, Leanne, Julie, Karen and Hannah.