With excitement for Lumiere building, volunteers are needed to help make the magic happen.
Lumiere returns to County Durham next month with its most ambitious and far-reaching programme to date.
Key to its success will be its team of friendly and enthusiastic volunteers known as the Lumiere Festival Makers. The team plays a vital role in ensuring the festival runs smoothly, and there is still time to get involved.
Commissioned by Durham County Council and produced by Artichoke, Lumiere takes place from Thursday 18 to Sunday 21 November. Festival Makers are needed throughout the event and everyone aged 18 and over is welcome, whether they are a seasoned pro or a first-time volunteer.
There are a range of roles, including:
- Welcoming visitors to Durham, helping them find their way around and providing advice on how to get the best Lumiere experience.
- Telling people about the installations.
- Helping to run the festival’s visitor hub.
- Sharing knowledge of the city.
Those with special skills or interests, such as being a qualified first aider, are also encouraged to get in touch.
Festival Makers will need to be available for at least two shifts of between four and seven and a half hours during the festival. They will also need to attend two meetings beforehand to receive the information they will need to carry out their role safely and to complete a walkaround of the festival site.
There may also be some volunteer roles in the run up to the event, which will be arranged around availability and skills.
To find out more and signup, visit www.durham.gov.uk/festivalmaker
The deadline for applications is Friday 5 November, but applications received after this will still be accommodated if possible.
Lumiere is also supported by Arts Council England, Durham University and a host of other sponsors.
The full programme was announced earlier this month and features 37 installations by international and local artists. There will also be six installations outside of Durham City for the first time. To find out more and to book free tickets, visit www.lumiere-festival.com/.
For the latest festival news, follow @artichoketrust on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok
Free swimming sessions are returning to County Durham leisure centres this half term following the success of the summer holiday scheme.
Durham County Council has organised a series of pool activities for children and young people aged 18 and under living in County Durham.
The aim is to encourage young people to be more active and enjoy themselves, with a choice of free ‘fun with inflatables’ and general swimming sessions on offer.
Running from Monday 25 October to Friday 29 October, the sessions are open to children and young people who live in County Durham. It follows the success of a similar scheme that ran throughout the summer holidays, which saw more than 9,000 youngsters enjoy more than 28,000 swims.
Adults who qualify for a concessional rate can also swim for free if their child is unable to swim and needs some support in the pool.
To find out about the sessions on offer, visit: www.durham.gov.uk/swimming
Residents are encouraged to sign up for a free Thrive card in advance, which will allow children access to sessions. Sign up is only needed once, and children who already have a Thrive card do not need to apply for a new one. Parents and carers can get a Thrive card by visiting www.durham.gov.uk/thrivecard
Preparations for keeping roads in County Durham moving this winter are well underway.
Durham County Council is making sure its fleet of gritters and winter maintenance vehicles are ready to go when needed. The council’s winter maintenance team is making sure that salt barns across the county are stocked with 42,000 tonnes of salt ready to tackle any ice and snow and replenishing more than 2,300 salt bins located in key areas across the county to assist residents and businesses.
During the winter season 1,700km of County Durham’s priority one roads will be treated, covering almost half of the county’s road network. More minor routes, or more than 380km priority two roads, will also be treated in times of prolonged severe weather when resources are available.
Cllr John Shuttleworth, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for rural communities and highways, said: “While we are still enjoying the milder weather as we head into autumn, we need to be prepared for the first frost and any potential for snow fall during the winter period.
“It’s important that the winter maintenance fleet and salt stockpiles are ready to go as soon as the weather turns. All of the vehicles have to be well maintained and serviced as the conditions can be challenging for our divers and they need to be able to rely on these vehicles.”
Each of the county’s 40 power gritters are fitted with 360-degree cameras and trackers to help improve safety and provide up to date information on the latest weather conditions.
Residents can follow @DurhamCouncil on Twitter and use the hashtag #TwitterGritterNE on Twitter or like @durhamcouncil on Facebook for the latest information on the roads. To see a list of priority gritting routes, find out which roads are affected by adverse weather, or to track the council’s gritters as they are out and about and see the roadside weather cameras, visit www.durham.gov.uk/winterinfo
Residents can also find their nearest salt bin, or request that one is refilled, by visiting
www.durham.gov.uk/saltbins or calling 03000 260000.
News the BBC is to make its biggest investment in the North East in decades has been welcomed by the partnership spearheading County Durham’s Bid to be UK City of Culture 2025.
The BBC has announced it will spend at least £25 million over the next five years in the region to fund new television programmes, talent development and additional support to the creative sector. This will help to ensure there is infrastructure and training in place to increase representation of the North East on screen and create exciting opportunities for people to pursue broadcasting careers.
The announcement coincides with the Durham 2025 campaign, which is seeking to secure the prestigious title of UK City of Culture 2025 for County Durham.
Durham County Council, with support from principal partner Durham University, submitted the initial bid on behalf of Culture Durham, a partnership of arts and culture organisations from across the region.
Cllr Amanda Hopgood, Leader of Durham County Council, said: “We welcome this investment and are looking forward to working with the BBC and other partners to deliver exciting opportunities and raise our profile as a place where culture thrives.
“This announcement comes at a time when County Durham is campaigning to be UK City of Culture 2025. Previous UK Cities of Culture have developed great partnerships with the BBC and other broadcasters – who can forget Hull being added to the UK weather map? This special relationship between the BBC and the North East means we have a platform to develop truly extraordinary projects that shine a light on the talent and creativity of the region.”
Tony Harrington, chair of Culture Durham, said: “In the past, those wishing to work in film or television have had limited opportunities in the region, leading many to move away to bigger cities such as London or Manchester.
“The fact the BBC has decided to increase its investment in the North East shows it realises we have a lot more to offer, both in terms of skills and creativity, but also as a filming location. Our diverse landscapes and heritage sites have already featured in many high-profile films and television shows – from Vera and Inspector George Gently, to Harry Potter, Marvel’s Avengers and 1917.
“This investment will help create more such opportunities and promote our region to even more audiences. And, if County Durham gains UK City of Culture 2025 status, we can tap into this potential further and deliver an ambitious and inclusive cultural programme that benefits the entire region.”
Along with 19 other locations across the UK and Ireland, Culture Durham will discover if the Durham 2025 bid has made the shortlist of six places later this month.
The overall winner of the competition, run by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, will be declared next year. The winning location will then take on the baton from Coventry, UK City of Culture 2021, which has so far attracted more than £100m in capital investment to support cultural projects.
Seaton with Slingley Parish Council in partnership with former County Councillor Sue Morrison has purchased a defibrillator for use by the local community.
Former County Councillor Sue Morrison generously donated £1,398 to fund the defibrillator from her Neighbourhood Budget prior to standing down from her role as County Councillor in May 2021.
A life saving community defibrillator, in a locked heated cabinet, is located on the exterior wall of The Seaton Lane Inn, Seaton Lane, Seaham and is available 24 hours a day.
The Parish Council would like to thank Sue Morrison, the East Durham Area Action Partnership and The Rotary Club of Durham who all helped facilitate the installation.
The Parish Council would also like to thank The Seaton Lane Inn who agreed to locate the defibrillator on their building and take on all future responsibility for the defibrillator.
In the event of a life threatening emergency you must first ring 999, this will alert the emergency services to come to your aid. You will be advised where the nearest defibrillator is, given the code to open the cabinet (if it’s in one), and asked if someone can retrieve it.
The defibrillators are fully automatic and give complete voice prompts on use. We hope that the defibrillators will never have to be used.
Questions and answers to see how saving a life can be easier than you think.
What is a defibrillator?
When a person goes into cardiac arrest, their heart stops beating normally as the electrical activity in their heart becomes uncoordinated. A defibrillator sends out an electrical shock, to stop the electricity with the aim to get it to restart in a normal rhythm.
What should I do if I see someone who is unconscious and not breathing normally?
You must first call 999 to arrange for help. As well as guiding you through CPR, the call operator will be able to advise you if there is a defibrillator nearby. If there is, they will ask you to stay with the patient and continue CPR but ask someone around you to find the defibrillator.
Can anyone use one?
Yes. Defibrillators give the person using them clear audio instructions. You cannot hurt someone with a defibrillator because it won’t work unless a person is in cardiac arrest.
I’ve seen some defibrillators are locked inside a cabinet. How would I know how to get access to it in an emergency?
The 999 call handler will give you the code to unlock it.
Can it really make a difference to a person in cardiac arrest?
Definitely! Studies have shown that a shock given within three to five minutes can produce survival rates between 50 to 70 per cent. The immediate delivery of CPR combined with early use of a defibrillator gives a person in cardiac arrest the best chance of surviving.
More than 300 businesses have been supported and over 3,500 jobs safeguarded through a County Durham coronavirus recovery grant.
The Durham Business Recovery Grant was launched by Durham County Council in January to help companies overcome the challenges caused by the pandemic, as part of the authority’s commitment to supporting the local economy. To date, it has helped 318 businesses across the county.
The grant was aimed at businesses affected by coronavirus pandemic which were developing recovery plans to meet the challenges they faced – such as purchasing new equipment, developing new products, expanding into new markets, and adapting their operational models.
The scheme, overseen by the council’s dedicated business support service Business Durham, offered businesses with a clear recovery plan, grants from £1,000 up to a maximum of £40,000 and contributed 75 per cent towards eligible recovery plan costs, with the applicants expected to meet a quarter of the project cost.
Originally set at £5m, due to high demand for the grants, an additional £1m was added to the fund bringing it to a £6m scheme, with the council working hard to assess and process applications quickly.
Grants have been awarded to companies varying in size from micro-businesses to those employing up to 250 people in County Durham from a range of sectors including: business services, construction, healthcare, information and communication, retail and hospitality, leisure, manufacturing and engineering, and tourism.
The majority of grants (95 per cent) have been awarded to micro or smaller businesses employing up to 50 staff.
Grants have been awarded to 119 companies (37 per cent) in retail and personal services, 61 companies (19 per cent) in manufacturing and engineering, 60 companies (19 per cent) in the cultural, creative and tourism sectors and 34 companies (11 per cent) in business services, professional services and distribution, with the remaining 44 companies (14 per cent) coming from other sectors.
Each of the 318 companies have secured grants to enable them to purchase new equipment, develop new products, adapt their operational models and expand into new markets.
Flamingo Bar & Café in Seaham was awarded a grant of £14,900 to purchase new equipment which enabled the café to speed up service and adapt its premises to adhere to Covid-secure requirements by creating an outdoor food storage area, so it could increase seating and serve more customers.
Hannah Jackson-Harrison, owner of Flamingo Bar & Café, said: “Durham County Council has been amazing throughout the whole of the pandemic, and I just don’t think we would have muddled through if we hadn’t had the help in the form of business support grants from it. The grants came through very quickly and communication from various departments within the council has been fantastic.
“The Business Recovery Grant has enabled me to improve systems, increase seating and speed up service, meaning that when we step out of this pandemic and back into more ‘normal’ times we are ready to hit the ground running and pick up where we left off in March 2020.”
Aycliffe Fabrications received a £32,200 grant which it put towards the cost of the purchase of two new pieces of machinery enabling it to expand the service offering and open up new markets.
Christine Bewley, managing director at Aycliffe Fabrications, said: “Aycliffe Fabrications was delighted to receive funding from the Durham Business Recovery Grant. With the help of the consultant assigned to us it was easy to discuss not only our future plans, but where our business had come from and how the grant would enable us to move forward after a difficult year.
“Many small engineering businesses like ourselves have been greatly impacted by Covid and the fact that Durham County Council has recognised this and looked carefully at all grant applications across all sectors has been invaluable. It cannot be underestimated how much it has meant to know that an outside organisation has looked at our company and agreed that we are worth investing in and that together we will ensure a secure future for our employees, customers and suppliers.”
Cllr Elizabeth Scott, Durham County Council’s Cabinet Member for economy and partnerships, said: “Over the past 16 months, County Durham businesses have displayed immense resilience, adaptability and innovation, as they continue to navigate the challenges of the pandemic. It has been fantastic to see companies diversify to survive by expanding into new markets and manufacturing different products.
“However, we appreciate how difficult it has been for businesses and it is vital that we do what we can to help businesses recover and look to the future. That is why we launched our £5 million Durham Business Recovery Grant scheme earlier this year, adding the additional £1m due to the demand to demonstrate our commitment to local businesses, enabling them to adapt and thrive, safeguarding jobs and developing a sustainable economy for the long term. It is fantastic to see we have been able to support over 300 companies across the county in six months.
“The comments we have received from the companies demonstrate just how important this grant scheme has been to help them get back on track for the future, and to safeguard vital jobs and livelihoods in the county. We hope that with the support from the grant scheme, these businesses can continue to thrive, creating more and better jobs and contributing towards a strong competitive economy for the future.”
The scheme has now closed for applications but all those received will be assessed. Information on other support for businesses provided by the council, and advice for companies, is available online at https://www.businessdurham.co.uk and https://www.durham.gov.uk/business
A specialist energy efficiency team from Durham County Council along with others from across Europe met online to share ideas of best practice to support SMEs (Small Medium Enterprises).
Representatives from the UK, the Republic of Ireland, Germany, Finland, Slovenia, Spain and Italy, who have been exploring low carbon options for small businesses, joined together online for Interreg Europe’s SME Power virtual study visit event.
Durham County Council is participating in SME Power to share good practice with partners with similar schemes, to learn from their experiences and highlight some of the features which makes projects successful.
The study visit was held online due to the ongoing coronavirus restrictions and enabled international partners to learn from Durham without having to physically be here. The visit was deemed a success and partners are now scheduling follow up discussions to look at aspects of projects in more detail.
It highlighted the BEEP (Business Energy Efficiency Project) programme, which is now in its second phase, supporting SMEs in County Durham to make financial savings by being more energy efficient. BEEP is supported by the European Regional Development Fund and can also provide SMEs with finance in the form of grant support to further reduce the payback of any energy efficient installation.
The council’s low carbon economy team was on hand to talk about how County Durham businesses Beamish Park Golf Course and Ace Motorcycle Training have both accessed support through the BEEP2 scheme to save money by making themselves more energy efficient.
Beamish Park Golf Club members made a unanimous decision, having had advice from the BEEP team, to replace the club’s gas guzzling golf buggies with a complete fleet of 12 new electric ones. Members also had 750 old halogen bulbs replaced with LEDs in the clubhouse, meaning energy bills have gone down providing huge saving. But they didn’t stop there and also decided to put solar panels on the roof.
The club’s hope is that within a year it can reach the maximum amount of solar panels allowed for the size of the building. The club also plans to change the equipment used to maintain its golf course greens to an electric fleet as this is currently another huge expenditure.
Trevor Robson, club member, who was interviewed for a video which was shown at the SME Power event, said: “We had a call from the council asking for a very informal chat and would we be interested in listening to initiatives to do with business efficiency, energy savings and of course the answer was ‘yes please’.
“And from that formed the relationship with BEEP. It was wonderful to have somebody at the end of a phone for a little bit of advice, such as whether we were going down the right road and what they could do to support us in any way. And that support was always there.”
Cllr Mark Wilkes, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and climate change, said: “We’re delighted that our BEEP team was able to be a part of this online meeting and share ideas with others about energy efficiency.
“If you feel that your business could be spending too much on energy bills or you don’t know where to start with making sure your lighting and equipment meets modern efficiency standards, please contact the team to find out more.”
More details on how to apply for funding through BEEP are available at www.beep.uk.net/apply-now
For more on SME Power go to www.interregeurope.eu/sme-power/
Councillors and stakeholders are to be given the opportunity to contribute to a review of the future of a treasured regimental collection.
Durham County Council is holding a meeting next week at which its members and invited interested parties will be given the chance to feed into the review of options for the display and storage of the Durham Light Infantry (DLI) Collection and Archive, and the former museum building and grounds.
The meeting of the council’s Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Management Board will be broadcast live on the authority’s YouTube channel to provide Covid-safe viewing of the meeting for the public. For social distancing reasons, there will be extremely limited availability for members of the public wishing to attend, with anyone seeking to do so required to register in advance.
The council’s Cabinet agreed at a meeting last month that officers undertake a review of all options for the display and storage of the collection and archive, which comprise more than 200,000 historic documents and 15,000 objects, as well as the museum building and grounds.
Cabinet agreed to ask for a report to be prepared and brought back to councillors by September.
As part of the review, a special meeting of the board has been organised to give members of the board and invited stakeholders the chance to contribute.
Invites to the meeting on Wednesday 28 July have gone to the following key stakeholders: the DLI Trustees, the Army Museums Ogilby Trust, the Faithful Durhams, the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the National Army Museum, the National Archives, Arts Council England and the Veterans Group.
A presentation will be given to the meeting on the scope of the review. Stakeholders will be also given the chance to present their views, or to put them in writing.
There will be an opportunity for members of the board to comment and to ask questions on all information presented; following which they will identify and agree key issues for inclusion in a report which will go to the council’s Cabinet in September for a decision.
The council’s Cabinet members are also being invited to the meeting to give them the opportunity to hear the views of board members and stakeholders.
A summary of the key issues identified at the board meeting will also be reported to the September Cabinet meeting to ensure members of that are fully informed in any decision-making.
The meeting takes place in the council chamber at County Hall at 1.30pm.
It will be broadcast live at https://www.youtube.com/user/DurhamCouncil and members of the public who want to watch the meeting are encouraged to do so online.
In order to ensure social distancing within the chamber, spaces for members of the public are very limited and anyone interested in attending in person must register in advance by emailing Democraticservices@durham.gov.uk
Older drivers can feel more comfortable on the road with the restart of refresher driving sessions.
Durham County Council is restarting its Safer Driving with Age (SAGE) driving assessment, which was temporarily stopped due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Designed to help residents over 55 drive safely as they get older, SAGE consists of a 40-minute session with a qualified driving instructor.
Residents can take a drive in their own car, along roads they know well and use regularly, and afterwards the assessor will provide feedback on ways to make their driving safer.
SAGE has been running successfully in County Durham for a number of years with many drivers gaining huge benefits from attending the driving assessment. Some drivers repeat the experience annually.
Following the temporary closure due to the coronavirus pandemic, SAGE has restarted again and is now taking on new applicants.
Cllr Elizabeth Scott, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economy and partnerships, said: “As motorists with lots of years of experience, many older drivers can spot a danger on the road sooner than they could when they were 20. However, over time roads have become busier, new traffic systems have been introduced, and there are many more road markings now.
“There are other ways to travel rather than driving, but most people like the freedom of their own car. If you want to continue to drive, it is very important to keep your driving standards up. SAGE is designed to help people keep driving for as long as possible.”
Assessments are available all year round. Residents who are interested can call the council’s road safety team on 03000 268172 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
To fill out an application form and find more information, residents can also visit Older driver training.