A festival which promotes lifelong learning in adults has been celebrating individuals and organisations who have gone above and beyond in their learning. Durham County Council’s Adult Learning and Skills Service (ALSS) hosts an annual awards ceremony to recognise those who have used the service to make a difference to their own lives, or the lives of others.
The Festival of Learning took place remotely this year due to the coronavirus outbreak, with Linda Bailey, Strategic Manager for Progression and Learning, and David Lee, Delivery and Performance Manager, from ALSS, calling winners to inform them they had won. The winners, highly commended learners, tutors, and groups of learners all received calls, as well as trophies and certificates in the post.
Each year the awards feature a number of categories which recognise the hard work of learners, tutors, and organisations, with accolades such as Inspiration Learner of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, and Outstanding Service to Learners.
East Durham Trust was recognised with two awards for its dedication to supporting learners on the course and was the winner in the Outstanding Service to Learners category and the overall winner of the Festival of Learning award.
Graham Easterlow, the new CEO of East Durham Trust, said: “The trust has a really active adult learning programme and during the coronavirus outbreak the trust did not furlough any staff. We continued to deliver a range of vital services, including our adult learning programme. Using innovative approaches, the team were able to reach out and connect with learners across East Durham.
“Winning this award is an incredible testament to the hard work and dedication of East Durham Trust’s Adult Learning team. We have an incredible team here and awards like this demonstrate and reward the real impact made in the communities we serve.”
The categories and winners in the Festival of Learning are as follows:
“Our mission is to highlight the benefits of learning, celebrate the achievements of adults who have used learning to transform their lives, and to encourage everyone to embrace lifelong learning.”
Adult learning courses for Autumn 2020 are now live and are accepting applicants. For more information visit www.durham.gov.uk/adultlearning
A County Durham learning service has adapted during the coronavirus outbreak to continue to reach hundreds of adults and children. The home delivery of learning packages means that, to date, 274 adults and 414 children have continued to engage with East Durham Trust, which delivers community learning on behalf of our Adult Learning Skills Service. As well as helping families and individuals develop new skills and enjoy learning together, the packages also include a meal.
The sessions target vulnerable families and are usually delivered throughout the school holidays, when school meals have previously not been available.
The coronavirus outbreak put a hold on classroom activities and communal meals. However, with more vulnerable families needing extra help, new ways of providing services and reaching the community have been introduced.
Home deliveries have seen families receive arts and crafts learning packs with accompanying resources and information, such as rainbow mosaic making and bunting in celebration of VE day. To ensure learners can do activities without the help of tutors, special instructions have been provided, and activities matched to their needs.
Debbie Watson was referred to the project by a Durham County Council One Point family worker. A single parent of two children, aged 11 and 13, she received an activity pack that the whole family could get involved with. Debbie said: "We enjoyed participating in the learning activity as a family and it provided a good opportunity to do something positive together during this period of uncertainty. "Once lockdown is over, and some type of normality resumes, I would like to learn some more new skills including sign language. I also would like to take part in a walk leader course and volunteer in the local community." As well as activity packs, the service has been providing a meal of pie, peas and potatoes, along with cake for dessert. A total of 688 meals have been delivered so far.
Cllr Olwyn Gunn, Cabinet member for children's and young people's services, said: "We are so pleased that families and individuals can continue to grow in skills and in confidence despite the unfortunate circumstances the pandemic has presented us with. Whilst face to face interaction cannot be replaced, the home deliveries are helping us all stay connected and keep learning."
A charity is delighted to see builders return to complete work on a new extension aimed at engaging people in arts and culture in east Durham.
East Durham Trust had spent two years raising over £100,000 to develop an Arts Café at their premises in Peterlee. The work commenced back in April, but was immediately halted due to the coronavirus lockdown and government guidelines around social distancing. Work has recommenced and is scheduled to complete by August.
The facility is part of a drive by the trust’s East Durham Creates initiative, funded by the Arts Council. The building will also be used to support families facing financial difficulty and is seen as a natural extension to some of the charity’s other activities such as the Foodbank and the People’s Takeaway food delivery service.
Chief Executive, Malcolm Fallow said, “It’s great to see the builders back in action, although in the current climate a café may seem like an unlikely venture, we firmly believe that facilities like this will play a major role in getting our community back on it’s feet as we come out of these terrible times.”
East Durham Creates was formed to address the issue of low engagement with the arts and culture in the district.
Mr Fallow said: “East Durham was highlighted as one of the areas in the country among the lowest in terms of art and cultural engagement."
“One of the reasons for that is that it doesn’t have a major theatre, or gallery and is made up of small communities that couldn’t support such a thing. People tend to travel 10 to 20 miles if they want to partake in arts and culture – to the major centres such as Durham, Sunderland and Newcastle.”
He added: “In an area that has significant number of people who are financial disadvantaged, it is always going to be an issue, because of travel and the cost involved.
“So what we are trying to do at East Durham Creates is to come up with a relatively small venue. It’s never going to compete with larger venues, but it would be nice to have a few smaller venues to allow the area to punch above its weight. We are delighted to have got support for this from the local authority and individual councillors.”
Mr Fallow said: “One of the things we will be looking to do when Covid-19 is cleared up and the building is completed is to hold events that do have an arts or cultural aspect but where people can be fed, in the same way that our Food Takeway has helped people. "So we will be killing two birds with one stone, in terms of helping those who are financial disadvantaged, but also art and cultural engagement.
“We are gong to be as diverse as we can, staging everything from photographic exhibitions to comedy nights to music events. If we can light the fire in people with regard to certain art forms, we can then support them in going to facilities in some of the major centers.”
A charity has combined the challenge of feeding families with the need to keep youngsters occupied during the coronavirus crisis by giving out material to make rainbows.
East Durham Trust is home to one of the region's longest-established foodbanks and has seen an explosion in demand from families struggling financially or simply finding it difficult to access supplies during lockdown.
The trust has been distributing food packs with sufficient ingredients to prepare a healthy meal, but have also included the necessary materials to produce a 3D Rainbow which can be used to demonstrate support for the NHS.
Trust chief executive Malcolm Fallow said: “The idea is a combination of our People’s Takeaway project which involves home deliveries of food and as Family Learning programme. As well as receiving a hearty meal the family get craft equipment and instructions to produce a fabulous rainbow. The first wave of packs went out last week and went down a storm.”
"The trust has provided support to over 2,000 local people since the lockdown began and is determined to support people in staying at home with home deliveries of food, food parcels and volunteer-led shopping trips.
"As well as recognising the importance of keeping people occupied, the addition of the rainbow production, which was the brainchild of learning co-ordinator Faye Watson, is also seen as a great way of showing support."
A teenage boy has been arrested after the headquarters of a charity which is keeping people fed during the coronavirus outbreak was broken into.
By Fiona Thompson
Tuesday, 31st March 2020, 4:56 pm
Demand for support from the project run by East Durham Trust has rocketed in recent weeks as more people claim universal credit and schools close to children, with those who are self-isolating being supported by the Peterlee-based organisation.
On Sunday, just after 1pm, Durham Constabulary was alerted by residents living close its headquarters in Yoden Road after they spotted suspicious activity outside the Community House building.
The charity has said it lost stock being stored in a shipping container ready to be distributed, with jars of food and eggs amount the items damaged when a dumper truck was crashed into the box.
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By Jo Kelly
Deputy Head of Content
DURHAM UNIVERSITY remains open, and is making the health and wellbeing of its staff, students and the communities of which they are part its priority in all decision making.
The restrictions imposed on movement have meant that the university has had to move all its teaching and exams online, close many of its buildings – including its museums and visitor attractions, and ask most of its staff to work from home.
Students were invited to leave Durham early for the Easter vacation and have been advised not to return after Easter. This traditional graduation ceremonies in Durham Cathedral have been postponed.
However, the university is also lending its resources and expertise to help in the battle against the virus.
Two students, one staff member and a local member of the University’s Community Engagement Task Force founded the Durham City Mutual Aid Facebook group, which now has more than 800 members.
Tyla Danskin, one of the students involved, said: “I feel that students living in Durham owe it to the local community to offer support where we can. Although this group was fundamentally established as a way of communication, it has potential to build community spirit going forward – and will hopefully connect more students with the community.”
Before the lockdown restrictions, the university was also able to donate food that would have otherwise gone to waste to the East Durham Trust, which provides food parcels to people in east Durham facing financial difficulties.
Malcolm Fallow, the trust’s chief executive, said it had seen an unprecedented increase in demand for food parcels and the university’s donation was “a welcome boost both practically and to the spirits of the staff and volunteers”.
John Murphy, from East Durham Area Action Partnership, added: “Great to see Durham University playing a role in East Durham in helping feed those in need during this emerging crisis.
For more information, please visit www.durham.ac.uk/community/covid19support
For the full story click here.
By Fiona Thompson
Monday, 30th March 2020, 5:34 pm
East Durham Trust, which is based in Peterlee and supports people from across Easington, was targeted in a break-in over the weekend, with a stolen dumper truck driven into one of its storage containers, which is used to hold goods donated to its cause.
Its Community House HQ, in Yoden Road, is at the centre of its efforts to deliver emergency food parcels to those in need. Various items of food, including eggs were lost in the attack.
It means a major setback for the team, which is helping those in self-isolation and those on Universal Credit.
For the full story click here.
East Durham Trust charity has been providing food parcels to struggling families during the coronavirus outbreak.
A charity has suffered a devastating blow when a stolen digger was ploughed into a container holding donated food supplies.
East Durham Trust, which operates a food bank, launched an emergency response to help vulnerable families in Easington during the covid-19 crisis.
But the Peterlee-based charity was targeted over the weekend during an attempted break-in that saw an onsite digger stolen, before crashing into a shipping container.
The trust says essential food items and eggs were lost during the incident meaning a reduction in the amount of food at a time when it is most needed.
For the full story click here.
A team of community supporters are continuing to work to keep people fed and supported as a three-week lockdown begins to take a grip.
By Fiona Thompson
Wednesday, 25th March 2020, 11:04 am
East Durham Trust is still running with a core of workers as it is classed as a crisis intervention organisation, delivering frontline services to help those most vulnerable to poverty and hunger.
The Peterlee-based organisation, which also helps Seaham residents and those across Easington’s villages, runs a food bank among its many projects.
For the full story click here.
People across East Durham are being reminded that help is available if they’re affected financially by the coronavirus pandemic.
East Durham Trust, which manages the area’s foodbanks, is urging anyone in financial difficulty to contact them about the help available.
The trust is currently looking at the extra support it will be able to offer to parents who will struggle following the closure of schools, which was enforced by the Government from today (Friday), except for pupils and students of key workers.
The measures being considered include making packed lunches and food deliveries available to those families that are eligible for free school meals.
For full story click here.
By Kali Lindsay
12:00, 19 MAR 2020
The East Durham Trust is appealing for volunteers to help and asking for food donation.
It is one of the most deprived areas in the UK, with families struggling to survive on a day-to-day basis.
Now, East Durham Trust has launched an emergency response to the coronavirus crisis to help the most vulnerable people living in Easington.
The trust already operates a number of services such as a food bank and a telephone helpline for vulnerable people in the former coal mining community that has some of the worst levels of ill health and poverty in Europe.
EDT managing director Malcolm Fallow said: “We have to act quickly to get people and supplies in place.
“The aim is to support the emergency response with community mobilisation on a scale we have rarely seen.
A CHARITY has made a desperate appeal for donations and volunteers as the coronavirus hits an already vulnerable former mining community.
East Durham Trust has described their foodbank as being “like a military field hospital” as demand has trebled overnight because of the Covid-19 virus.
The Peterlee-based trust is hoping that public donations will help them meet the surge in demand caused by people having to self-isolate who are self-employed or are on zero hour contracts.
Since Monday the trust has already supported crisis food parcels to almost 200 people – a total that is unprecedented even at times of financial crisis such as Christmas and school holidays.
With schools due to close this Friday pressure on the trust’s services will massively increase in the coming days.
The charity is appealing to everyone in the local area to consider food banks at this difficult time and buy additional items were possible.
This includes any non-perishable food but particularly long life UHT milk, cereal, tinned meat, fish and vegetables and pasta sauces as well as bread.
Additionally East Durham Trust is requesting that those who can volunteer their time to support meeting the demand get in touch with their availability. They are particularly interested in volunteers with access to a vehicle.
Malcolm Fallow, chief executive of East Durham Trust has said. “Our foodbank has turned into something resembling a military field hospital and we are concerned that demand will outstrip supply.”
Anyone wanting to donate food can bring donations directly to Community House (Yoden Road, Peterlee, SR8 5DP) or use the donation basket Asda Peterlee.
You can also donate online by visiting http://bit.ly/DonateEDT.
SCORES of young people pounded the pathways of East Durham as a major physical activity project reached its climax.
The Console to 5k project saw local young people involved in weeks preparation for the final event, which was staged at noses point in Seaham on Sunday.
Youngsters from Seaham Youth and Community Centre, Peterlee and Horden Rugby Club and The Project, Peterlee, completed the course, along with experienced runners from the official race organisers the Sunderland Strollers Running club, including Olympic marathon runner Aly Dixon.
You can read the full article here
A PLAY exploring the Miners’ Strike will be performed at the historic home of the Durham miners on the anniversary of the start of the dispute.
Undermined, written and performed by Danny Mellor, will be hosted at Redhills: Durham Miners Hall on Friday March 6.
The one-man show, based on true stories and events from the 1984-85 strike, will be followed by a discussion and Q&A with Danny.
Local people who were active in the strike, which began on March 6, 1984, will also be there to talk about their experiences.
The play, featuring just one man, one chair, and one pint, comes to Durham following an acclaimed run at the Edinburgh Festival.
You can read the full article here
A group of young people from across East Durham are about to embark on their first 5k run and are being fired up for their big event by an Olympic runner.
Olympic marathon star Aly Dixon inspired the Young People participating in East Durham Trust's Console to 5k project, prepping them for their grand finale 5k event.
You can read the full article here
A GROUP of young people from across east Durham are about to embark on their first 5k run and are being fired up for their big event by an Olympic runner.
Olympic marathon star Aly Dixon inspired the Young People participating in East Durham Trusts Console to 5k project, prepping them for their grand finale 5k event.
The event is supported by the Wellesley Trust Fund at the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland.
The aim of the Console to 5k project is to encourage young people to put down their electronic devises and take up physical activity.
Since summer last year the project has seen over 60 young people between the age of 14 to 20 embark on a programme of running and improve their fitness and welling being.
Malcolm Fallow, Chief Executijve of East Durham Trust said, “In an age when many young people are spending longer than ever in front of mobile phones and computer screens, it’s encouraging to see young people enjoying physical activity and the resulting impact it has had, not only on their health, but overall wellbeing and confidence.”
The Console to 5k project will culminate with the East Durham 5k run on Sunday February 23, 10am at Noses Point, Seaham. The event is open to entries from the wider public by visiting http://bit.ly/console25k.
A social club marked a special milestone as it celebrated its 100th birthday.
Shotton Colliery's Comrades Club was set up by a group of ex-servicemen, returning from war, who, rather than going to other pubs in the area at that time, decided to form an organisation where they could meet. After much organisation and meetings, the club was officially opened on 7th February 1920 and is still popular today.
To mark the special anniversary, the club slashed the prices of its drinks, held a party for children during the day including entertainment such as face painting , balloon modelling and a bouncy castle and hosted a party on the night time for adults featuring a soul band.
There was also memorabilia on display showing old photos and memories of the club and its punters over the last 100 years.
Club Secretary Stephen Parkin said: "The events over the weekend went really well and all received a good turn out from the public. The comrades is really popular in the community due to it hosting regular entertainment, flexible opening hours during the day and reasonable prices. I Believe that's why we have managed to stay open for so long and continued to grow year upon year."
A group of young people are about to embark on their very first 5k run after being fired up for their big event by an Olympic medallist.
Olympic marathon star Aly Dixon has been busy inspiring participants in East Durham Trust's 'Console to 5k' project, prepping them for their grand finale.
The aim of the project is to encourage young people to put down their electronic devices and take up physical activity. Since last summer, the project has seen more than 60 young people, between the ages of 14-20, embark on a programme of running to improve their fitness and well being.
The trust's Chief Executive , Malcolm Fallow, said, "In an age when many young people are spending longer than ever in front of mobile phones and computer screens, it's encouraging to see young people enjoying physical activity and the resulting impact it has had, not only on their health, but overall wellbeing and confidence."
The 'Console to 5k' project, funded by Wellesley Trust via Tyne and Wear Community Foundation, will culminate with the East Durham 5k run on Sunday 23rd Febrary, 10am at Noses Point, Seaham.
Based in Peterlee, the East Durham Trust is supporting families facing hardship in the once proud mining community
A mum didn't tell her little boy it was his birthday after Universal Credit left her with no money.
It is just one of the heartbreaking stories heard by staff at the East Durham Trust in Peterlee that offers a frontline service to those struggling on the controversial benefit.
Once a thriving coal mining community, the villages were built around the industry but when the pits closed thousands of people were left unemployed. Now, East Durham is one of the most deprived areas in the UK and has felt the full force of Universal Credit since the roll out started two years ago.
You can read the full article here
A Charity has benefited from the support of the area's Sikh Community in its fight against poverty. East Durham Trust welcomed representatives of the Sikh Temple to a special event in Peterlee aimed at raising cultural awareness and celebrating diversity.
The event saw staff, volunteers and beneficiaries of the Trust's services enjoy food prepared by members of the Gurdwara, in Thornaby, and youngsters from the temple gave a talk on Sikhism covering issues such as customs , traditions and festivals.
The assembled guests, which numbered around 30, were also given talks by Easington's MP Grahame Morris and the Police.
The Trust's Chief Executive Malcolm Fallow said: "It was great to see so many people attend. We have a commitment to breaking down barriers and bringing people together from different backgrounds and cultures in a spirit of friendliness and cooperation."
GP Dr Kamal Sidhu, who helped organise the vent, said: "It was a great opportunity to showcase diversity, especially at these challenging times of increasing diverseness within society."
East Durham Trust provides a range of services for vulnerable people with many facing disadvantage and poverty. Its services include a food bank and providing advice on welfare, benefits and pathways out of debt.
East Durham Trust
T: 0191 5693511