Sedgefield News

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In The News

Christmas is almost around the corner and the race to get organised is approaching. Could we combine seasonal cheer with being more sustainable when preparing for the big event?

Buying local, especially local produced goods, reduces the carbon footprint associated with transport and supports local businesses. Prefer online? Etsy and similar retailers have lots of small businesses that are often more ethical and many use environmentally friendly materials. An enormous amount of trees, energy and water go into the production of greetings card and wrapping paper. Millions of cards are distributed and very few are recycled or indeed can be recycled. To increase the chances of it being useful again, avoid ones with glitter or embellishments - glitter is a micro plastic, which is non- recyclable. Or go very green and send e-cards; some people just appreciate the thought of getting in touch.

Apparently we will throw away the equivalent of 108 million rolls of wrapping paper at Christmas. Standard wrapping paper is mostly plastic coated and isn't generally accepted by recycling companies. Locally, Durham County Council says it belongs in the general rubbish bin, not the recycling bin. You could use recyclable brown paper and glam it up by using rubber stamps and water based paints. It’s a great way to keep kids busy and add a personal touch. Alternatively, you could use fabric, which can be reused and would look very homely under the tree. If you can't resist that festive Christmas printed paper, 100% recycled wrapping paper is available online and in more specialised shops.

2019 has been a year to emphasise the importance of trees and millions have been planted all over the world to tackle climate change. Consider a potted tree, making sure you keep the soil moist whilst inside (and away from radiators) and then pop it outside when Christmas is over and use it again next year. Plastic trees may appear to be the better option but most are manufactured abroad and so have a sizeable carbon footprint, so get one that will last. If you love a real tree and don't want a potted one try and pick one from a renewable source and take advantage of a Christmas tree recycling service so the tree isn’t wasted.

It's literally crackers, the amount of paper and plastic waste that comes from Christmas Crackers. Plenty of eco-friendly versions are available or make your own for more personalised content.

Christmas isn't Christmas without the food, but coloured food trays, cling film or shrink wrap in particular, are not reusable. Plenty of stores are starting to look at the packaging they sell food in and clearly no packaging is a better option. For locally produced food why not visit the Farmers Market on Sunday 3rd November or 1st December on the Village Green, to buy festive food and Christmas presents.

Just a few small adjustments and you can help save the planet and still celebrate in style. Siiri Tenno-Marshall
Every first Sunday of the Month, on the village green, from 8:30am to 12:30pm.

More Local News

Skerne Medical Group
We would like to thank everyone who attended the flu vaccination clinics in September. They were a great success. In total 1,086 patients received their flu vaccine at the clinics, saving over 90 hours of weekday appointment time. After initial delay in receiving our supply, the flu vaccination for under 65 years has now arrived.

This vaccine is for patients with a serious medical condition for example diabetes, COPD, stroke/TIA, coronary heart disease, chronic kidney or liver disease, those with a weakened immune system, pregnant women, carers and those living or working in long stay residential homes. If you are eligible please contact your surgery for an appointment.

Also, by mid to end of October we should have been able to place orders for the children’s (nasal) flu vaccine. Your child is eligible if they were aged 2 or 3 on 31st August 2019. Other children with underlying medical conditions are also eligible - please contact us to check eligibility and availability of the vaccine. We will update our website www.doctorsnhs.co.uk with stock availability as soon as we have a confirmed delivery date.
Sedgefield News from the past
by Martin F Peagam, The Time Traveller, for Sedgefield Local History Society.
In November 1869 – 150 years ago
Two railway stations were available for purchase. Announcements in the York Herald and other newspapers detailed farms to be let in the Sedgefield area. They included Sands Farm, Bradbury Low Farm, Bradbury High Farm, Little Isle Farm, and Morden Farm. The estate also included the land on which Bradbury and Sedgefield Stations were situated.

In November 1869 – 150 years ago
The Trimdon District of the Sedgefield Union, the area established to address the needs of the poor, infirm and elderly, announced that Mr H Russell of Trimdon Colliery had been appointed to the post of Medical Officer.

In November 1919 – 100 years ago
Dr Bassan submitted a report to Sedgefield RDC in which he highlighted the housing shortage in the colliery districts, the increasing overcrowding, and defective sanitary arrangements. “The one bright spot” he reported was the Aged Miners’ Homes: low-cost, easy to erect, neat and compact, they could readily satisfy the needs of married couples, widows, aged couples and “go a long way to relieve the present condition”.

In November 1969 – 50 years ago
Jack Clarke of Tyne Tees Television, and also Master of South Durham Foxhounds, held a jumble sale at Sedgefield Auction Mart to raise funds to rebuild a cottage. Donations from friends included a television, some sheep, pigs and a land-rover! If you would like to know more about your local history, visit the Facebook site of Sedgefield Local History Society or come along.
Volunteers required
This month I need to find a new volunteer or two to deliver 90 copies of Sedgefield News to Maple Grove, Lilac Ave, Beech Oval and Hawthorn Road. Please get in touch (see below) if you can help. I would also like to apologise to the lady who phoned me when I was on holiday, offering to deliver in The Orchard. Unfortunately I don’t have her contact details and can’t remember her name! I would be delighted if she would contact me again.
Call/text 07899 984464 or email mail@toddshousefarm.co.uk. Many thanks, Judith Edgoose
Sedgefield Development Trust hopes to host a small reception in February, to thank all those who distribute and deliver Sedgefield News.
Adjusting to Disability by Carole Lawford
Sometimes in life, we’re diverted onto a path we didn’t expect to be on. That’s my experience of disability. I chose a village to live when I moved up to the North East as a balance to my career, thank goodness! I say “thank goodness” because I’m now adapting gently, with the help of a community I had lived in for 4 years, driving in and out to work but not really engaging. Sedgefield is a beautiful place. The mixture of old and new buildings give it character, but some throw up challenges for wheelchairs, scooters and rollators (walkers). Staff everywhere are helpful and all my experiences are positive, but there are some points that may interest or surprise you. You might think “Oh I understand that too” if you use a pushchair, so I’m making a few requests on behalf of pedestrians who use wheels to help them get around.

Please consider dropped kerbs when you park. We need them to cross the road and it isn’t helpful if they’re blocked. Walking to the next one may be really difficult or just too much on a bad day.

If you park on the pavement, is there room to pass? When you look at the gap, the question to ask is ‘Can a disabled person get through there?’ not ‘Will a wheelchair fit through?’ My control/strength/co-ordination is not the same as yours.

If you’re a business owner, would you look at your layout with fresh eyes please? There are some that we can get into but not look around because the stands are close together. If we can’t see it, we can’t buy it, and we’re there because we’re shopping. When I’m pushing my rollator I can’t push a shopping trolley or carry a basket, so I may be balancing; I drop things - I’m sorry. If your premises has a step and a door closer, it’s impossible for me to get in without help. If the door is held open I have a chance, weather permitting of course. Honey is my assistance dog and is mostly welcome, but I have been told she isn’t allowed in by two staff members who were unsure even when I explained politely. Sometimes staff training is missed or needs delivering again.

One tearoom helps me with a particular table and offers help pouring. Some teapots are heavy, I always appreciate that. Sometimes I order a cup of coffee to avoid spilling tea. If you think it isn’t an issue, imagine going into your favourite pub, and the pint of beer you want is too heavy to hold. To save embarrassment you order a whisky, because a small glass is easier to hold. It’s a drink, right?

Thank you for your help, for parking a few feet along, holding the door or smiling when I delay you because I’m slower than you; for reading this article, for helping to socialise Honey by saying hello and making a fuss. If you do it you will know she loves it! We can’t solve every challenge, especially those in older buildings, but we can see those who are trying and I’m always happy to help too.
Purple Tuesday
Tuesday 12th November sees an international call to action to celebrate the purple pound – the spending power of disabled people and their families. It’s a milestone awareness moment for an issue that is relevant 365 days a year.

Mike Adams OBE was inspired to found Purple Tuesday, as part of his disability inclusion consultancy business, Purple, after a stressful Christmas shopping expedition. In 25 of the 28 shops he went into, staff either ignored him altogether or solely addressed his non-disabled partner. “It wasn’t prejudice, so much as fear that was causing shop assistants to swerve me,” Mike says. “Fear caused by unintended ignorance, lack of understanding and perhaps worry about causing offence.”

The aim is to make businesses more aware of opportunities and challenges, and inspire them to make practical changes to improve the disabled customer experience. Local businesses and organisations can get more information at purpletuesday.org.uk/ but we can all learn from Carole’s article above.

Editor’s Note The problems encountered by wheelchair and pushchair users was covered in this paper as long ago as 2003/4. The Sedgefield Road Safety Group then campaigned for more dropped kerbs and for drivers to park more thoughtfully. We did see improvements, with greater provision of dropped kerbs, but now thoughtless parking is seen on every day of the week.
Sedgefield Business Breakfast
The latest business breakfast on 9th October was hosted by the Herd & Herb in Hardwick Arms, the team there providing the venue and laying on food and drink for the guests. A healthy turnout of both regulars and new faces was attracted to Sedgefield Business Breakfast, on this occasion including former Durham CCC and England wicket keeper Phil Mustard, who now has his own business. Various sized firms from many sectors were present in the room, representing an excellent cross section of business in and around Sedgefield.

Guest speakers at the event were Helen Parsons and Mark Nicol from Parsons Containers, pictured here They shared insights into a company that has grown into a 25-person operation that will turn over more than £6m this year, all the while staying based in Sedgefield, providing long-term employment opportunities and contributing in other ways to the community and local economy.

Also represented at the event was Business Durham’s Business Energy Efficiency Programme, along with Tamzin Lafford of Homework Help Sedgefield. In a convivial and relaxed atmosphere the conversation flowed and there was plenty of positive networking.

Thanks to the kind support of Herd & Herb, the Sedgefield Business Breakfast was free to attend. As always, the Network is keen to receive ideas for future events, and from anyone who would like to join the network’s mailing list. You can find Sedgefield Business Network on Facebook, follow @SedgefieldBN on Twitter, or email sedgefieldbn@gmail.com.
NETPark Chocolate Therapy?
I should cocoa! by Allan Fletcher Since the official opening of the Sedgefield NETPark in 2004, it has blossomed into one of the UK’s premier science, engineering and technology parks; providing fledgling science, technology and engineering companies with a wide choice of world-class facilities for initial start-up, growth and development.

Currently more than 80 companies are listed on the NETPark website at various stages of development, working on such diverse projects as space satellites and iPhone speaker systems to robotics and innovative dental treatments. At first glance, Neurogenics Ltd stood out as being of potential interest to readers. It’s a company researching into the potential therapeutic applications of... chocolate! Their business plan, in collaboration with the CPI (Centre for Process Innovation) at NETPark, involves cutting edge techniques for the extraction, isolation and purification of therapeutically active constituents of cacao (the raw extract from cacao beans, used to make cocoa powder and chocolate).

A wealth of scientific evidence published in many reputable research journals highlights the health benefits of eating cacao, cocoa and dark chocolate! Cacao is the dried, ground fermented seeds (beans) from the cacao tree (Theobroma cacao - literally ‘food of the gods’). Foodstuffs and beverages made from cacao have been consumed by humans since at least 460AD - initially in Central America, spreading to Europe in the 16th century. Cacao is justifiably regarded as the ‘food of the gods’ - not only because it is the precursor of delicious chocolate confectionery but also because it is packed with many therapeutically beneficial ingredients: antioxidant molecules (eg flavonoids); caffeine and the related compound, theobromine; minerals essential for good health (eg magnesium, copper, iron, potassium and calcium), plus a high fibre and protein content, and many other nutritious ingredients.

Since its introduction to Europe in the 16th century, well over 100 potentially beneficial therapeutic uses of cacao or chocolate have been documented. In particular, much compelling evidence has accumulated for therapeutic effects in the following areas: (a) cardiovascular function;

(b) beneficial anti-inflammatory and immune-modulatory effects;
(c) therapeutic actions on neuro-degenerative diseases eg Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinsonism;
(d) topical application may protect the skin from UV damage and enhance wound healing; and
(e) improved cellular responsiveness to insulin inhibits the development of diabetes.
Interestingly, the flavonoids in cacao appear to boost the release of nitric oxide in body tissues- this is a ubiquitous signalling molecule in the body whose action is also enhanced by Viagra - hinting at another potential benefit of chocolate consumption!

Neurogenics Ltd is focussing efforts on isolating the active ingredients of cacao in order to develop novel effective therapies in the medical areas outlined above. However, to conclude with a word of warning, the effects of consuming your favourite chocolate confectionery may not promote good health.

The low cocoa solids, combined with high sugar content of many milk or white chocolate confections may not be good for you if consumed to excess. High cocoa solid (+low sugar) dark chocolate or cacao itself are likely to be most beneficial for health.