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Following rising cases of COVID-19 across the region, Durham County Council has worked alongside Newcastle, Northumberland, South Tyneside, North Tyneside, Sunderland and Gateshead councils to request new stricter COVID-19 prevention measures from Government to stop the spread of coronavirus across the North East.

The Government has today (Thursday 17th September) announced that additional restrictions will come into effect from 00.01 Friday 18th September. The main points are outlined below; however we are still awaiting clarification from Government on the finer details.

Legislation - regulations will lawfully enforce the following:

  • Residents must not socialise with other people outside of their own households in private homes and gardens.
  • All hospitality for food and drink will be restricted to table service only.
  • Late night restriction of operating hours will be introduced, with venues required to close between 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m.


Residents are also advised to adhere to the following guidance to further reduce rates of infection:  

  • Residents should not socialise with other people outside of their own households in all public venues.  
  • Residents are advised to only use public transport for essential purposes, such as travelling to school or work (rather than car sharing etc).
  • Holidays should be taken within your own household or support bubble.
  • Residents are advised against attending amateur and semi-professional sporting events as spectators. 

Further details are outlined in the FAQs (www.durham.gov.uk/localrestrictions).


Locally, we are also seeing a significant rise in cases and a shift from isolated outbreaks to more general community transmission. Based on the current trend, it is forecast that by the end of the month, we could be experiencing daily rates in the region of 60 per 100,000. The distribution of cases now closely matches the distribution of population across the county. 

We are seeing an increase in cases in more isolated rural areas. In addition to areas where we have known outbreaks, we now have other parts of the county with equally high rates, but where a common source or identifiable link between cases is yet to be identified. 

A similar picture is emerging in a number of local authority areas across the entire region, and the seven North East local authorities agreed to work to greater regional coordination and an enhanced approach to tackle the pandemic.  

With cases significantly rising it is vital that everyone works together to help reduce the spread of the virus and any future lock down. We appreciate that some of the restrictions may be challenging but they are crucial. 

Durham County Council will be providing further communications to residents, businesses and other stakeholders so they know how they can play their part. Further information will be available on www.durham.gov.uk/localrestrictions  If you have any further queries after reviewing the website please contact our County Durham Together hub on 03000 260 260 or communityhub@durham.gov.uk   

09 September 2020NOTICE OF VACANCY


THAT due to the resignation of Christine Luke, a vacancy has arisen in the Office of Councillor for the Parish Council.

If by 29th September, 2020 (14 days after the date of this notice) a request for a by-election to fill the said vacancy has not been made to: The Returning Officer, Electoral Services, Room 1/104-115, County Hall, Durham DH1 5UL by TEN electors for the said Parish (Ward), the vacancy will be filled by co-option.

Where ten valid requests for a by-election are received by the Proper Officer then under the provisions of the Coronavirus Act 2020 and The Local Government and Police and Crime Commissioner (Coronavirus)(Postponement of Elections and Referendums) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020 the by-election will not currently take place, and the vacancy will be held open until the by election takes place. The 2020 regulations provide for the by election to take place on the date for the Ordinary Election of Councillors due to be held on Thursday 6th May 2021. However, this date may be brought forward or deferred by the Government depending upon the circumstances. Any Election that is in due course called will be duly publicised as required by law.

Dated 9th September, 2020
Clerk to the Parish


ADVERTISEMENT: Journey Enterprises has day centres in Northumberland, Newcastle and Durham for people with complex learning disability. We are a small local charity founded by parents of people with learning disability in 1983. 

We support conditions such as Down’s, William’s, cerebral palsy, Fragile X, autism and Sotos. These are lifelong conditions from birth, families using day services such as ours on a lifelong or long-term basis.  We provide support for adults to learn life skills and to train for part-time volunteering or paid work, but also provide a setting for friendship and inclusion.  Most of our service users (Clients) make life-long friendships in Journey’s Day Service. We can also support family carers, ensuring they reach carers’ services locally.

Working with Public Health England and local authority commissioners, we are currently providing our day service in an outreach model until the day centres are given the green light to re-open.  This new model has been operating since March and has enabled us to deliver both home-based 1:1 and small group support and support using technology.

We are aware that many families in our area may not be aware of our services. These are families where someone with complex learning disability is receiving a Local Authority Care Support award or NHS Continuing Healthcare Plan. This includes young people preparing to leave special schools and colleges in our region.

A short piece has been posted below to outline the services we offer and our blended service offer once day centres re-open:

Journey Enterprises is a local charity supporting 160 people with complex learning disability aged 18 – 70+.  The Charity provides services to enable Clients to learn life and work skills, to lead happy, healthy and inclusive lives. 

Journey has three Hubs, Coundon (Durham), Hexham (Northumberland) and Kenton (Newcastle), each Hub providing a varied activities timetable both on site and in community.  This ranges from activities to support health (nutrition, exercise, mental health, relationships) to creative and performing arts, woodwork and horticulture, a vibrant sports and outdoor programme, and employability training.  The Charity has enabled 63% of participants in its enterprise & employability programming to progress in to volunteering or paid work. Initial training is provided in the Charity’s small enterprises on and off site. 

We support conditions such as Down’s, Williams and Prader-Willi Syndromes, Fragile X, Sotos, cerebral palsy and autism.  The highest ratio of our Clients have Down’s Syndrome, a significant ratio of Clients also with co-morbid autism.  Clients form close friendships within service, and many carers form close bonds with other families in service. The Charity works in a Positive Behaviour Framework and within its own I Can assessment framework, Clients choosing a blended activities schedule working in small groups. We also support unpaid carers ensuring carers are informed about carers’ centres, carers’ respite grants, GP Carers’ Registers and prevention treatments and Local Authority Carers’ assessments.

Following COVID restrictions the Charity has reconfigured its service, initially providing a busy outreach service including 1:1, Care Calls, internet-based activities and chat sessions and a mobile activities and exercise equipment service.  These activities will continue as we now resume on-site service delivery in small group bubbles (Journey Hububs).

We are currently accepting new Client referrals to service. We also welcome applications for volunteering including Trusteeship, and new partnerships with local community groups and employers.  All employment opportunities are advertised on our website as well as local media, community websites, Job Centre Plus and college/university careers centres.

Initial enquiries to info@journeyenterprises.co.uk or the central number 01434 608118.  Your enquiry will then be sent to the relevant local Hub Manager.

Link for Website : https://www.journeyenterprises.co.uk/


MANY LOCAL RESIDENTS have shared their disgust and upset at some people's lack of respect for the pit wheel monument, which is a memorial of all the coal-miners who spent their lives toiling underground; it deserves respect, and gathering to drink alcohol and smash bottles is tantamount to desecration. One resident has even shown great community spirit by helping clear rubbish and litter from the pit wheel fields to make the area safer for wildlife and nicer for visitors; another has been regularly weeding and cleaning the memorial bricks. The Parish Council's grounds maintenance contractor is already clearing rubbish and emptying the litter bin a couple of times a week, usually Mondays and Fridays. Sedgefield Neighbourhood Police Team, which is tasked with reducing anti-social behaviour, has assured the Parish Council that these problems are taken every bit as seriously as the public does, and they have said they continue to devote significant time to address the problems described by local residents. 

‚ÄčThere are a number of ways you can get in touch with Durham Constabulary depending on the urgency and type of request. In an emergency, always telephone 999. In a non-emergency call 101. (Calls to 101 cost 15p per call, no matter what time of day it is, or how long the call lasts). A Police Emergency is when:

•Someone’s life is in danger
•Someone is at risk of violence, or property is about to be damaged
•A serious offence is in progress
•A suspect is at the scene or an early arrest is likely
•Serious disruption to the public is likely
•Very serious crime (e.g. rape, grievous bodily harm etc.)

Text message to 86101 will get an automatic text response prior to communications actioning the information. This service is for NON EMERGENCY contact only.

You can report crime anonymously by calling the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111. Crimestoppers is a simple and anonymous way for members of the public to help prevent and solve crimes throughout the UK. Information you have about a crime may be vital to the police. If you think you know something which may be of use then pick up the phone. Your call is free. It is completely anonymous. You may receive a reward.


THE PARISH COUNCIL has decided to start re-opening playgrounds subject to getting a safety inspector from Durham County Council to have a look at the play facilities making sure the children will be safe when using apparatus and playing in the area. A risk assessment has been carried out including COVID-19 risks using the Government's guidance to identify sensible measures to control risk.

FISHBURN RECREATION GROUND - will remain closed to the public. The single main outer gate, and the inner gate to the football fields, remain closed and locked to prevent access by the general public and remove the possibility of someone being locked in. Signage will be fitted on Wednesday 5th August.

MULTI-USE GAMES AREA (MUGA) - will remain closed to the public until further notice.

BOWLING GREEN - will remain closed to the public. Fishburn Bowls Club will make their own risk assessment and decision about when their facilities are ready to re-open and activities can be operated safely.

FOOTBALL PITCHES - The grounds maintenance contractor has been instructed to mark out the football pitches ready for Fishburn Community Football Club (FCFC) to start playing on Saturday 1st August. This is on the basis that FCFC has completed a thorough risk assessment and parental permissions for both training and football matches, as required by the Football Association (FA). The PAVILION and CHANGING ROOMS will not be open or used until the Parish Council and the FA have given clearance for this. This means that there are no toilet facilities because FCFC does not have the signage and other items such as hand sanitiser in place.

MEMORIAL CHILDREN'S PLAYING FIELD - the fenced play area will re-open after safety checks carried out; cleaning and repairs where necessary; and A3 signage produced with guidance for users. Durham County Council's playground inspector will be starting to carry out safety checks on parish council sites from Tuesday 4th August next week. Signage will be fitted on Wednesday 5th August.

STOBART TERRACE PLAY AREA  - the fenced play area will re-open after safety checks carried out; cleaning and repairs where necessary; and A3 signage produced with guidance for users. Durham County Council's playground inspector will be starting to carry out safety checks on parish council sites from Tuesday 4th August next week. Signage will be fitted on Wednesday 5th August.

MILLFIELD PLAY AREA - the unfenced play area has remained open to the public. Durham County Council's playground inspector will be starting to carry out safety checks on parish council sites from Tuesday 4th August next week. Signage will be fitted on Wednesday 5th August. The matting has been vandalised - ripped up - and has been removed by grounds maintenance crew to prevent a trip hazard.

PIT WHEEL MEMORIAL FIELDS - has remained open to the public (pedestrian use only). Picnic tables and seats - scientific advice suggests that COVID-19 virus can survive for up to several days on some hard surfaces. The risks may be reduced when outdoors, where surfaces are subject to UV light and/or rain. Main entrance gate has been repaired and is locked to prevent horses, motor bikes, quad bikes or all terrain vehicles.


THE PARISH COUNCIL has received estimates for the creation of a memorial garden and associated works at the cemetery and the planning officer at Durham County Council (DCC) has confirmed that the proposal would be considered to be permitted development and would not require a formal application for planning permission, and building regulation consent will not be required, subject to certain provisions. In February 2020, it was agreed to set aside a maximum £7,500 on the proviso that match-funding would be secured by means of grants or donations [sponsorship]. In March 2020, a proposal for a fund-raising event was approved but, unfortunately, on 23rd March, a strict lockdown and a time of national emergency was announced. Members will consider the matter again at the next parish council meeting on Thursday 10th September 2020.


THE gas-fuelled ceremonial beacon project - the ‘Queen Elizabeth Beacon of Hope’ - is steadily moving forward with discussions taking place with the manufacturer. Planning permission for Fishburn's beacon was granted subject to it being begun [on the village green] before the expiration of THREE YEARS from the date of the permission [21st February 2020]. The funding to date is as follows:

  • County Durham Community Foundation [E.ON Butterwick Moor Wind Farm Community Fund] has awarded a grant of £5,000.
  • The project has been allocated £2,500 each from the Neighbourhood Budgets of County Councillors David Brown and John Robinson, a total of £5,000.
  • The Parish Council has agreed to make up the shortfall not covered by grant aid funding.

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