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

Community Speedwatch

Autumnal advice Autumn arriving means that the days start to grow shorter, and soon the clocks will be changing. This means longer nights which are attractive to criminals operating under cover of darkness. As the nights close in, here are a few actions you can take to prevent criminals spoiling your winter:

• Adjust the settings on your light timers so that lights come on as soon as it is dark outside.
• Ensure external lights keep your property well illuminated.
• Ensure light timers keep your property interior well-lit so that if you are still at work when night falls it looks as though the property is occupied.
• Keep blinds tilted however, so that the interior of your house does not become a showcase to prospective burglars.
• Make sure equipment, toys, bikes and other items used during the day are safely and securely stored indoors before it is dark.
• Make sure your car is secure and if possible parked off the street, preferably nose first on a drive, or better still in a garage.
• Always keep entrance doors, garden gates, garages and outhouses securely locked.
• Take garden furniture, barbeques, hose pipes and other summer garden items indoors for the winter.

New police facilities Plans have been approved for a new custody and investigations suite in Spennymoor providing a safe and modern building to replace the four ageing custody suites currently in use at Bishop Auckland, Darlington, Peterlee and Durham City.

Because several detainees can be booked in at once, the new centre will reduce the average time that arresting officers spend while prisoners are processed and allow officers to get back out on the streets more quickly.

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

Sunday 3rd September 8.30am - 12.30pm
This month we welcome back Hopper House Farm Brewery, who have improved their brewing operation and return to the market with a selection of ‘enhanced ales’. Sounds good! So, fingers crossed for a bright autumn day to ensure happy shoppers, happy traders and musicians with fingers that work!


Woodland & Wildlife

This month two volunteers from our project have entertained Sedgefield Allsorts WI with a Bat Walk around Sedgefield.

Although this was a step away from our usual weeding and scything tasks on site, it was really great to be able to share our knowledge and passion for wildlife with others. Thank you to the lovely ladies of Sedgefield Allsorts WI for inviting us along.

If you would like to know more or would like to volunteer with us please contact Melissa at woodland@sedgefielddevelopmenttrust.co.uk or join our Facebook page - Woodland & Wildlife - Sedgefield.


Homework Help

As ever, if you need some help, get in touch - and if you can offer help, please do likewise.

We are currently using video calls where agreed between helpers, students and parents/carers and all helpers are DBS checked. Most of us are not teachers, but we’re happy to share our experience and knowledge to help students’ understanding and confidence. Find us on Facebook or contact homework@sedgefielddevelopmenttrust.co.uk.


Energy Switch

LAST CHANCE TO REGISTER FOR OCTOBER AUCTION - 11 OCTOBER. If you want to join the scheme, or you have taken part previously and your existing contract comes to an end before the end of the year, your registration should be submitted on or before that date. At previous auctions, some people have missed out because their registration submissions were incomplete, so please remember, when you register you will need to know the following.

WHO IS YOUR EXISTING SUPPLIER? WHEN DOES YOUR TARIFF END? WHAT IS YOUR ANNUAL GAS & ELECTRIC USAGE.

Don’t worry - all this information is on your latest energy statement or your annual statement. Make sure you have it to hand before starting to register. If you have difficulty finding the information, call the SDT Helpline, telephone no 07980 134 594. We are here to help.

To register online, go to the webpage, then ‘REGISTER NOW’ and follow the links to fill out your details. If you prefer to register and receive information through the post, or need any help, please call the above telephone number and we will be happy to assist, or complete your registration for you.


Sustain Sedgefield

The 26th UN Climate Change Conference - COP26, will take place in Glasgow, from 1 to 12 November 2021. This is the 26th Conference of the Parties and it will bring together politicians, innovators, businesses and activists from around the world, to tackle climate change. Sedgefield Development Trust wants to support our local community, to ‘do our bit’, so over the next few editions of Sedgefield News, we will be looking at what you can do in your own home. We will focus on the key areas of home energy, waste and water, consumerism, food and transport, to get an all round view.

A good starting point for thinking about climate change is to find out your carbon footprint. This is a measure of the impact your activities have on the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) produced through burning of fossil fuels. It is measured as a weight of CO2 in tonnes.

Everyone in the world has a carbon footprint, but there is are big differences depending on lifestyle. Most people in the UK have a much higher carbon footprint than the global average and we need to reduce it.

Technology can help – using green energy from renewable sources, making production of food and goods more efficient, reducing waste and improving transport. Governments can introduce regulations, for instance, around the manufacture of diesel vehicles, standards for materials and energy efficiency in new build houses. Individuals can make informed choices about what they eat, how they travel and what they buy. Everyone has a part to play.

There are lots of free online carbon footprint calculators. This one from WWF is quick and easy to use at footprint.wwf.org.uk. Or this one from www.carbonfootprint.com/ measure.html needs more information on your current energy use, so get your figures ready in advance. Once you know what your carbon footprint is, and how it is made up, you can start setting some reduction targets.


Sedgefield Development Trust Change of Address

The new postal address of Sedgefield Development Trust is SDT Company Secretary, 3a Front Street, Sedgefield, Co. Durham, TS21 3AT.
Telephone no: 07572 502904 (this is also the Sedgefield News phone number), email: secretary@sedgefielddevelopmenttrust.co.uk

Regular Feature

Steve's Nature Diary

Walking in the British countryside you will quite often encounter a number of species of plants and animals which have been introduced from foreign parts, and this has resulted in a number of problems and is one of the reasons that naturalists don't like these "aliens". These include Himalayan Balsam, Giant Hogweed, Grey Squirrels and Canada Geese to name but a few. Some that have found a niche and now have a central part to play in culture as well as our natural history include Hare, Little Owl and the Horse Chestnut.

There are several possibilities for the Horse Chestnuts unusual name including: it comes from a chance observation by the Flemish ambassador to Turkey, who observed that Turkish soldiers fed the trees fruit (conkers) to their horses; another is that the leaf stalks leave a scar on the twig when they fall, which resembles an inverted horseshoe with nail holes. This association with horses could explain why conkers used to be ground up and fed to horses to relieve them of coughs, and could be the origin of the tree's name.

The Horse Chestnut is a tall, broad tree that has been widely planted in parks and gardens. Originally native to the mountains of northern Greece and Albania, it was introduced into the UK in 1616 and has since become naturalised. It has hand-shaped, palmate leaves with five to seven toothed leaflets. It displays large, pinky-white flower spikes, and its spiny-shelled fruits contain the seeds, or 'conkers'. These are collected by children everywhere for competitions: attached to strings, two conkers are alternately flicked at each other until one breaks.

Taking this a step further, the world conker championships are held at Ashton in Northamptonshire in October every year. The first record of the game is from the Isle of Wight in 1848. There is little British folklore associated with the tree – probably due to it being an introduced species. However, games of conkers have different rules in different parts of the country, and have their own jargon which often requires repeating rhymes or rituals to decide who goes first. Mature Horse Chestnut trees grow to a height of around 40m and can live for up to 300 years. The bark is smooth and pinky-grey when young, and darkens and develops scaly plates with age. The flowers provide a rich source of nectar and pollen for insects, particularly bees. Caterpillars of the triangle moth feed on its leaves, as does the horse chestnut leaf-miner moth whose caterpillars provide food for blue tits. Deer and other mammals also eat the conkers.

There's hearsay that if you place conkers around your house it will keep spiders away, but there's no scientific proof that this is the case. During lock down last year I used to pass a Horse Chestnut on one of my walks and it was good to see the seasonal changes from flower to conkers and in the autumn to see children were still collecting conkers!

Regular Feature

Ceddesfeld Hall: Home of Sedgefield Community Association

September was increasingly busy here, with most groups and sections getting back to ‘normal’. The bar is up and running - quiet early in the week, but busier on Thursdays and Fridays. The new cask beers, lagers and reasonably priced spirits and soft drinks are going down well, and it’s great that people can socialise, though of course we must remain Covid aware - careful, considerate, with good distancing and doors and windows open for ventilation.

Residents are welcome to pop in for a drink, Monday to Thursday, 7.30pm - 10.30pm (11pm on Fridays). Get in touch if you fancy volunteering to work on the bar on weekdays or weekends. It’s straight-forward, sociable, and good fun.

October looks busy too, with private bookings - wedding, birthday party and christening, plus the Mayor’s quiz (22nd Oct) in the main hall. Then there’s the STC fireworks display on 29th October (tickets from behind the bar at Ceddesfeld, STC offices or Tickety Boo). Last entry is at 6.20pm and the fireworks begin at 6.30pm. Halloween Howler entries can be seen earlier in the car park, with pumpkins on show from 5.45 - 6pm and the winner revealed by the Mayor at 6.15pm.

It is so good to have community events again and as photos from 2019 show, it’s always a great night! However without more volunteers, the way we manage Ceddesfeld Hall will be unsustainable. Too few volunteers may mean not opening on weekends for family parties, celebrations etc., so the use of the main hall will be limited and long-standing events like Mediaeval Fayre, Easter Picnic, Burns Supper, Beer Festival, plus Open Mic, Sedgefield Day, Family Fun Day, may not run.

Once gone, they will be very difficult to get back and Sedgefield will be the poorer for it. Please do consider giving some time to help. Our contact details are below left. Sedgefield Handbell Ringers made special use of lockdown. Working with Artist in Residence, Ed Carter, they create a piece of music & spoken word inspired by an 1803 poem called Hardwick Plantation.

A walk round the Park with musical accompaniment won a competition for creative use of technology and the recording was played from the Gothic Tower on two September weekends. Fantastic work!


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


Sedgefield & District u3a

Founded in 1982, u3a is a UK-wide movement of locally-run interest groups that provide a wide range of opportunities to come together to learn for fun. Members explore new ideas, skills and activities together. Our membership costs just £20 per year and is open to everyone who’s no longer in full-time work.

Sedgefield and District held a very successful first meeting of the new season when many members joined a Zoom presentation from Beamish Museum which updated us on the construction of the new 1950s area. We were fascinated to learn about the Quilter’s Cottage which has been transported from Northumberland and rebuilt near the Pocklington Hall Georgian area. Several interest groups have recently restarted their regular meetings and are looking forward to welcoming any new members who wish to join them.

• The Book Club programme offers a really good selection of styles and genres to read and to be discussed monthly over good coffee and nice biscuits.
• If you would like to try your hand at writing – a short story, poetry, any type of text etc – bring your ideas along to one of the bi-monthly meetings of the Scribes group and be encouraged and stimulated by other group members.
• Our Photography Group would be delighted to share their knowledge and experience in all things film.
• The Wine Group held their first meeting in eighteen months when they enjoyed the sampling of six different wines in a member’s garden.
• The Lunch Group met in mid-September for an in-person lunch at a local restaurant. Plans are already in place for the next three months, including our Christmas Lunch at the Dun Cow.

Several other groups are rather constrained currently by lack of suitable venues or events but we hope to arrange outside visits to Houses and Gardens as soon as possible. The Theatre Group already has tickets for a Matthew Bourne Ballet production in April next year and will be arranging further visits as soon as practicable.

Do visit our website u3asites.org.uk/sedgefield for lots more information if you are interested in joining us or contact any member of the committee if you have any questions or would like a chat.


Funding opportunity for local sports clubs

Local sports clubs have now been invited by Durham County Council to submit projects and applications for the sports element of the Section 106 funding that has been generated by the housing developments in Sedgefield.

The funding is intended for capital projects only and it is hoped that clubs will take this opportunity to develop projects which provide new or improved facilities. The invitations for applications mark the latest step in a process that dates back several years and resulted in initial allocations in principle that were made and communicated to seven clubs in 2018. Of those, the athletics track project has already made a formal application and has progressed through the process, so is not included in the latest invitations.

Any sports club which has not been contacted directly, and feels that it may have a suitable project, should contact East Durham Rural Corridor Area Action Partnership for advice via their email eastdurhamruralaap@durham.gov.uk.


Countryside Stewardship Facilitation Fund to reopen

A sixth round of the popular Countryside Stewardship Facilitation Fund has been announced, giving groups of farmers and landowners in England time to consider making an application ahead of December 2021 when the application window opens.

The £2.5 million fund encourages collaboration and knowledge-sharing amongst the farming community. To apply, groups must submit plans showing how they will work together and share knowledge to protect and enhance their local environment, in line with their local Countryside Stewardship priorities. This further round of funding is expected to invest in over 30 facilitation groups.

Successful facilitation groups will also offer invaluable training, support and advice to potential applicants for agri-environment schemes.

This year’s fund includes support for new environmental priorities such as the improvement of air quality through slurry removal, reduction of ammonia emissions, tree planting and shelters, and managing beaver activity that will offer support and advice for landowners when beavers move onto their land. Applications will be invited from December, with a closing date of 19 January 2022.


Your Letters-Thank you

St Edmund’s Church coffee morning, held on Friday 10th September, was an amazing success. My grateful thanks are extended to everyone involved, be it by baking, helping, attending or spending.

The magnificent amount of £667 was raised for the restoration fund. One raffle prize was not claimed, white with pink surround ticket no.326. If you have this winning ticket please contact Sedgefield News.
Thank you for your generous support. Sheila McMillan


Your Letters-Mayor’s Coffee Morning

Wow! A very big thank you to everyone who supported the event. There was a real buzz in the hall with people chatting and really enjoying meeting each other in person - and no Zoom!

My thanks also to family and friends who supported me and made the event work so well with fun and friendship. You helped to raise £730 for Youngminds and local charities. Thank you all very much. Ann Carr


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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 3rd August-Registration Opens
  Monday 11th October-Registration Closes
  Tuesday 12th October-Day of Auction
  Monday 25th October-Offers letters issued
  Tuesday 23rd 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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