News & Updates



Do they know it's Christmas?

Nicky Robinson from Thornley has recorded a version of ‘Do they know it’s Christmas?’ The song is being used to raise money to help local homeless organisations including DASH.

Uploaded Project Aid at 

Also on YouTube at:

Nicky said;

“We have 6 singers and 1 lyricist

6 Singers:

Nicky Ré, (Nicky Robinson), Thornley, 22

Therese Carroll, Newcastle, 28

Craig Riley, Middlesborough, 27

Bryoni Askew, Consett, 16

Kati Gill, Kent, 32

Sarah Coleman, 24

1 Lyricist (Rapper) who wrote the rap part

Voykl - Kye Huggins, 32

Amber Woollett, 22, from Brandon, changed the lyrics to relate the song more to homelessness. 

This is the donation link;

 I asked Vokyl why he became involved and what it meant to him and he said this:

I'm 32, I’ve lived independently since I was 15. I got robbed and left with nothing but the clothes on my back. I've had to stay at a friend's flat that had no electricity or gas for 6 months and it was not easy and recently I had to give up my private rented flat because I had to move jobs and couldn't afford it anymore and if it wasn't for my partner Kayleigh Thomas I would be homeless right now. I can see how easy it is to be in that situation. I think what you're doing Nicky is amazing and I along with a huge percentage of the world have loads of good intentions of helping but life can get in the way so this is my way of doing something towards helping.

 The reason I did this is the people in charge are not stepping up to help and stop homelessness and I want to at least try and eradicate or even just put a dent in it in my area so to be able to create a platform through my favourite thing, music, is amazing as people can relate so much to music and this creates a platform for people to be able to do their part.”

The Rural Bulletin - 27 November 2018

This Rural Bulletin is published by the Rural Services Network and brings you a round up of our existing publications in one place! Get the latest rural news, read our current rural commentary in the Hinterland, focus in on our weekly Spotlight special feature and check out what we've been up to this week at RSN HQ!

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MHNE November '18 Bulletin

Our December bulletin will concentrate on giving information on where mental health service users can receive support – including crisis support over the festive period.

The January 2019 bulletin will look at what mental health services in the North East have looked like in 2018 and what we need to be our campaigning priorities in 2019. MHNE are greatly concerned about how financial cuts have negatively impacted on services to people recovering mental ill health, the horrific impact of Universal credit ‘reforms’ on mental health service users and the long waiting lists for talking treatments. However this in only our view and we would very much like to have a balanced view from throughout the North East.

We would , therefore , be very grateful for any contributions from you on any advances and improvements to services over the past year and any concerns you may have as well as your campaigning priorities.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards Beth and the MHNE Team


OOOPs is a support group for any individual or family member who is affected by an Ileostomy, Colostomy , Urostomy, or are currently living with inflammatory Bowel Disease, irritable Bowel Syndrome or bladder conditions .

We want to improve the knowledge about the management of IBD, IBS and bladder problems to help with all aspects of their rehabilitation including social and wellbeing activities , relationships with their families , friends, employers , colleague and members of the general public. Meetings are organised monthly for members to attend

Please see attached leaflet for further details or contact Claire Wilson on 0191 5863520

Humankind & Blenheim - Intention to Merge

Pioneering health and social care charity Humankind and innovative London-based alcohol and drug charity Blenheim CDP have announced they are intending to merge in April 2019 to form a national organisation which takes a different approach to addressing health and social inequalities.

The organisation, which will be named Humankind and employ over 1,100 staff, will build upon their commitment to pursue their vision for people of all ages to be safe, building ambitions for the future and reaching towards their full potential.

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The Rural Bulletin - 13 November 2018

This Rural Bulletin is published by the Rural Services Network and brings you a round up of our existing publications in one place! Get the latest rural news, read our current rural commentary in the Hinterland, focus in on our weekly Spotlight special feature and check out what we've been up to this week at RSN HQ!

Click Here for the Bulletin

Regional charity supporting prisoners’ families reviews progress over 2017/18

A regional charity which supports families of prisoners held its annual general meeting last week (Thursday 8 November 2018) and presented its annual review publication for 2017/18.

Nepacs is a long standing charity which works across the north east region to help support a positive future for prisoners and their families. Its staff and volunteers provide much valued services to support friends and families of prisoners, in seven prison across the north east and within the community, including prison visitors’ centres, play areas, youth projects, family support and in the Teesside, Newcastle and Durham courts.

Helen Attewell, chief executive of Nepacs, said: “We were delighted last year that Lord Farmer’s ground-breaking review published by the Ministry of Justice in August 2017 was emphatic about the significance of families as ‘the golden thread’ to achieve successful resettlement work and rehabilitation.

“Our services remain reliant on the passion, commitment and dedication of Nepacs’ staff and volunteers to sustain a positive experience for our visitors. It is that determination to stay true to our values that has seen us through, as well as continued investment in new work to broaden and sustain the range of services we provide for families or prisoners, including children.”

Some of the highlights of the year included:

- The expansion of the support at courts project, which offers support for defendant’s families throughout a court case and following sentencing, into Newcastle Crown Court. This means that support is now available from Nepacs’ volunteers at all three Crown Courts in the north east.

- Launch of the Hidden Voices arts-based toolkit which has been designed with prisoners’ children to help dads in prison reflect on the impact of their offending on their children at home and provide further incentive to give up on a life of crime

- The expansion of the Nepacs’ Heading Home programme into five prisons in the north east which supports prisoners and their families or friends prior to release from custody and helps them re-establish good communication with family members

- Accreditation of four of our family and parenting programmes (designed for prisoners/ex-offenders and their families) by OCN in November 2017.

A copy of Nepacs’ annual review 2017/18 is available on their website

Latest Issue of AiCD Newsletter..

We're delighted to share the latest issue of the Advice in County Durham newsletter...

Packed with useful information for advisers the magazine features:
- latest information on UC
- findings and recommendations from the FCA's latest report on high cost credit
- details of the new welfare rights campaigns team
- information on the main areas of focus in the newly-published Carers Action Plan 2018-2020
-an article on PIP and useful caselaw

You can view the newsletter at

Please feel free to share with colleagues and staff A massive thank you to everyone that contributed to the issue. If you’re interested in submitting a piece for the next issue please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sustainable Food Cities Newsletter October 2018

Welcome to the Sustainable Food Cities newsletter. We are passionate about towns and cities taking a joined up approach to food and want to help public agencies, NGOs, businesses and communities to work together to make healthy and sustainable food a defining characteristic of where they live. If you have news, events or questions for discussion for the newsletter get in touch.

Click for the Newsletter

Food Durham Annual Report and news of Annual Gathering

Please find attached our Annual Report for 2017 – 18. You may be wondering why you haven’t heard anything about our Annual Gathering, which we usually hold around this time of year. This year, the Advisory Board made a decision to postpone the Gathering until the Spring of 2019. We are in a period of transition, with several changes in personnel on the Board due to people retiring or moving on and we hope to have a clearer idea of direction of travel by March next year. So we are looking at the third week in March at the moment, and will let you know as soon as we have the date fixed. I already have an interesting keynote speaker lined up – our first International speaker, from USA, who just happens to be in the UK at the right time and is keen to come.

So I hope your appetite is whetted! If there is anything in particular you would like to see at the Gathering please send me your ideas!

Rural Bulletin October

This Rural Bulletin is published by the Rural Services Network and brings you a round up of our existing publications in one place! Get the latest rural news, read our current rural commentary in the Hinterland, focus in on our weekly Spotlight special feature and check out what we've been up to this week at RSN HQ!

Click here

PCP pledge to help end mental health discrimination

PCP is incredibly proud to be joining the Time to Change campaign aiming to end the stigma around mental health problems. Around 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem yet there is still a shame and silence about talking about how people feel. On Wednesday 10th October 2018, World Mental Health Day, PCP officially signed the Employer Pledge and to publically showing their commitment to helping end mental health discrimination in the workplace.

Carol Gaskarth, PCP’s Chief Executive said, “Mental health problems can affect anyone yet people can find it hard to open up to others. Sometime we say we’re fine when we’re not and we are encouraging everyone to get behind the Time to Change campaign of asking twice. By asking people if they’re okay and double checking you can give people the opportunity to share how they’re truly feeling, and then friends, family, work colleagues or employers can offer help and support. “The nature of what PCP does means we are well placed to champion change and tackle stigma around mental health in the communities we serve. Our pledge extends to empowering staff to talk freely about past or present experiences and providing practical help to build resilience whilst offering support when it is needed. PCP aims to make a lasting change for the benefit of current and future employees. It is in all of our interests to be more open about mental health problems and be able to share experiences in the same way we do with physical health problems.”

PCP signed the Employer Pledge at the County Durham Partnership Event at Ramside Hall Hotel in front of a range of partners, stakeholders, community groups and champions to demonstrate widely their pledge to tackle discrimination and stigma associated with mental health. To find out more about the Time to Change campaign go to

Savings for schools

"Traincon Learning provide training within schools and business around the Newcastle and Durham areas. Until recently I was also a school governor at Wyndham Primary School and I have gone through numerous Ofsted inspections where the inspectors are looking for major innovations that schools undertake to make major budget decisions.

As you may be aware, the government want to see all schools become sustainable by 2020. We are working closely alongside a company working on the ‘Greener schools initiative’ which is being overseen by Ofsted. They work alongside schools and large premises at identifying savings in their energy bills. They recently saved Hadrian school in Newcastle £17,000. I referred them to a school in Newcastle two weeks ago and it has been confirmed that they will be making a saving of £88,640 and a rebate of over £3,600 on their gas & electric bills which is amazing'. This releases money that can be benefited elsewhere.

If you would like further information please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

DASH Online Auction of Promises

Welcome to our on-line Auction of Promises We have over 40 great Lots for you to bid for, all of which have been kindly donated by our generous supporters - individuals and businesses throughout the Durham area. The Auction will end on Wednesday 5th December at 1pm.

We will inform the highest bidders of each Lot and make arrangements for them to collect their Promise(s). If the Lot is a voucher we will be happy to post this out.

Click the button below to see which goodies are being auctioned! Click Here

Holiday Hunger and Activity Provision…

Dear All As you will be aware as part of the council’s work around poverty, we have been looking at the issues of ‘holiday hunger’ and activity provision during the school holidays.

Learning Following on from the good work which was delivered by many groups and organisations to provide activities for children and young people during the school holidays (some of which provided snacks/food whilst others did not), we are keen to hear of any evaluation you may have carried out on the sessions/projects you delivered. If you did deliver something, we are particularly keen to learn:
· What did you deliver?
· What was it you wanted to achieve from the sessions you delivered?
· What difference did the session make?

If you could take the time to provide a brief response to these questions, it would be much appreciated, and please feel free to submit more detailed information and any learning you gleaned. The council’s Child Poverty Working Group will use this information to feed into the work they are doing on Child Poverty and holiday hunger. ***Please send your responses to Emma Gardner at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. before close of play on Friday 21 September 2018. October half term/Christmas We would like to repeat the data capture exercise which was carried out in earlier in the year and capture and publicise activities/schemes/sessions etc. which are planned for the October half term, and for the Christmas holidays.

The information we previously gathered was published on the Family’s Information Service website under the category school holiday activities which can be viewed by anyone with access to the internet. Users can filter the list to display only activities which provide food or those activities within a specific location etc. Search results can be displayed in a list format or on a map. Any new information we receive for the October/Christmas holidays we will check to see if this is already on the site and if not we can publish. Alternatively, because storing and publicising this information here means individual organisations and groups etc. can update their own entries as and when changes occur, you can help us by encouraging the teams and organisations you work with to check their entries and keep them up to date, or if not already on this system register and advertise their activities/schemes etc.

We are hoping that over time this information grows and proves to be a valuable resource not only for our residents but for teams and organisations working with residents etc.

Thanks for your time on this, and any questions please give me a call. Emma Gardner Policy & Executive Support Manager Transformation & Partnerships Durham County Council County Hall Durham DH1 5UF Direct Dial: 03000 268054 Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Durham County Council has partnered with Protech City to offer low-cost computer equipment to County Durham based registered charities under the Digital Durham Reboot scheme. A quarter of Durham County Council owned desktops and laptops are replaced each year to ensure they are technically up to date and perform well. Some of these devices are suitable for reuse, and are being offered through this scheme. The equipment starts at just £75 for a desktop and £105 for a laptop. Both come with genuine Microsoft Office 2010 Home & Business software and a Windows 10 operating system that includes anti-virus.

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The Wood Pile Latest...

Hello everyone, we'll have a new newsletter coming up soon, but in the meantime we wanted to let everyone know that we're going to be closed Friday 5th October until Tuesday 16th October. Our website will still be up and running and we'll be keeping an eye on social media if you have any queries do get in touch. We still have places available on some workshops, we have Gold Leafing on 22/09/2018 Mosaic on 29/09/2018 after this the weather starts to get rather cold in the warehouse so we'll just be running Shabby Chic on 20/10/2018 03/11/2018 and finally 01/12/2018. You can see all workshops on our website, and we're taking contact details for our wait list for next years workshops.

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SJKT Update **New**

The Sir James Knott Trust will be moving office on 17th of September 2018.

The new telephone number and address will be as follows:
Sir James Knott Trust, Suite 103 Broadacre House Market Street East Newcastle NE1 6HQ Tel: 0191 4328990

Please can you update our contact details

*Please also note that the office will be closed between Thursday 13th to Tuesday 18th of September and we shall not be able to send or receive e-mails during this period.*

As of December this year, Mrs Vivien Stapley will be retiring as Trust Secretary and her replacement will be in post from 1st October. We therefore advise that should you wish to contact the Trust, it would be best to use This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Miss Vicky Willis - Trust Administrator Sir James Knott Trust Floor 2b 16-18 Hood Street Newcastle NE1 6JQ Tel 0191 2304016 Registered charity number 1001363