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Youth Organisations getting ready for the green light – to go

Now there is every chance we can look to the future with some confidence- the Community Partnership has given even more grants from its Physical and Wellbeing Youth Project to youth organisations for future activities – when the Government Road Map regulations allow.
As the Community Partnership is unable to deliver these activities ourselves we are passing the funds to those who have a better chance of helping the local youth. We want to support the hard work of volunteers and teachers during this exceptionally difficult time which has lasted for so long and at times seems never ending. But with hope just around the corner, funds in place, volunteers and teachers at the ready 2 schools (High School and Darras Hall Primary) and 3 youth organisations (Scouts, Rangers and Brownies) are planning their activities.
Last November the High School was granted money for new sports equipment called Kinball and in January the local Scout group were donated funds for new tents. Then in February and March the latest beneficiaries were 4th Ponteland Brownies, Castleward Rangers, and Darras Hall Primary School all to benefit funds for their proposed ideas and imaginative activities created to inspire our youth to stay positive and connected.
Some of the previous funds allowed young people to connect via Zoom as part of their activities with Scouts and Rangers now following the “Government Road Map” the earliest they can restart outdoor sessions from the 29th March, Leaders and Scouts can’t wait for some day hikes which are already being planned by the Scouts for the Easter vacation.
Without funding, volunteers and teachers, who are creating new ways to explore and learn, would not be able to fulfil this need.
PCP Quote: “The Community Partnership is delighted to have supported 2 schools and 3 youth organisations as part of the Physical and Mental Wellbeing Youth Project which started last September. This has turned into a fantastic project to benefit potentially over 1,700 local young people, with the funds helping volunteers and teachers to plan and implement new activities either via Zoom or as soon as the regulations allow in a more normal way. These activities for age’s 7 – 18 range from sport and recreation, art and crafts, also covering science, technology, engineering and maths all presented in a fun way. Now that schools have returned they will be able to initiate their activities with the youth organisations following some time after.”
4th Ponteland Brownies Quote “We are so excited to have been awarded this funding which will contribute towards their lockdown activities helping to remain connected as a unit. Activity packs have been sent out to each Brownie each month during the period of extended lockdown using Zoom meetings with the contents of the packs to engage in games and craft to entertain and explore; all to help them achieve more out of the Brownie badges programme. These sessions range from planting seeds and growing flowers and seeing them grow through spring & summer, First Aid with Teddies, introduction to map reading, secret messages and sign language – all important to help the pack feel connected. Once restrictions ease gentle rambles through the Ponteland bridleways could take place looking at the natural environment and local history Part of this money will contribute towards a safe bicycle course and a cycling proficiency badge when restrictions allow.”
2 Brownie Quotes: Ambika “I love Brownies as I get to see my friends on zoom” Brooke “Brownies is fun because we try new things and make new friends”
Ranger Guides Castleward Quote: ”This donation will make a huge difference to activities we can offer the girls at this most unusual of times. We are part of the 10 counties in the North East Girl Guiding movement all celebrating the 50 years of Guiding this year by completing the 50th Anniversary Challenge Badge. This is a great way for the girls to get to know their own county and the Northeast region through themed activities; for the Rangers this includes identifying famous people, landmarks, delicacies, craft and action activities. The challenge is geared for every level from Rainbows to Trefoil. This grant will enable the Guides out for a related activity challenge and more scope for online team building activities which work towards completing 2 unofficial challenge badges made from craft materials. Ideas like making beach bags or a “Hairy Mary caterpillar” which needs grass seeds and compost”
Darras Hall Primary School Quote: ”We are working towards organising broader based non-sport after school clubs that a more creative, when restrictions allow. Lockdown has highlighted the importance of school in maintaining a stable, safe and enjoyable place to be. We wanted the clubs to provide something special that we don’t always do in the curriculum. At this time there is a need to boost self esteem and confidence by providing for over 55 children things like an art club using a selection of different materials than the school is able to provide and a STEM (science technology engineering & maths) club equipment where children can experience experiments like exploding cola, foam rain clouds and marshmallow building – all exciting, fun and unusual. Our clubs are both scheduled to run next half term, straight after Easter.”

Scouts new tents for future camping


Thanks to the Community Partnership, Ponteland Scouts have been given enough money to purchase 3 new tents to start replacing their old existing stock.
This has been another youth organisation to benefit from the Physical & Mental Wellbeing Youth Project, set up by the Community Partnership; which continues into spring with more successful bids to come.

Quote from Community Partnership:

“This project started in last November when the partnership was looking for an appropriate project which could be delivered during these difficult months. Thanks to a number of schools and organisations responding we are able to support their needs for activities now and in the future. As we are all unable to organise outdoor environmental events we created a project that could allow those with fewer restrictions and the ability to deliver some interaction with young people now or in the future.

The High School was successful last November with the purchase of a Kinball a new sport option and when we heard the scouts had been using some tents that were 25 years old on their activities we knew that we could help; it fitted the criteria of our youth project. Although these activities at the moment are not allowed to take place, sometime in the future with relaxed restrictions these tents will be needed to complete Duke of Edinburgh Awards and international camp activities. – the partnership is delighted to support such a good cause they are charity and run on an entirely voluntary basis.”

A key part of the scouting experience is outside activities including overnight camps providing opportunities to work in teams while gaining confidence and independence. Scouts are do-ers & give-it-a-go-ers giving assistance with various community activities, e.g. Party in Park, Rotary Duck Race; Town Council and Community Partnership events on the Bridleway.

The 1 or 2 man tents chosen are the best option for use in Scouts DofE Awards, which once the Covid restrictions are lifted, can also be used by scouts, explorers, boys and girls, approx 80 members between the ages of 10-18 with the additional possibility of guides joining the scouts for their DofE expeditions. These small tents are suitable for use by single occupants, and under these on-going unknowns, single occupancy allows flexibility for camping activities.

Quote from Barry Hirst Group Scout Leader for 1st Ponteland Scout Group:

 “One of the aims of the group is to be a valuable part of our community. The Group is always keen to support community projects in Ponteland, including those promoted by Ponteland Community Partnership, such as the Bridleway Project.  I am delighted that PCP has been able to support us as we plan for safe camping as soon as we can.  Outside activities are very important for our youth members and these new tents will go a long way to allow for that, hopefully in the near future.”   

Scouting activities follow government guidelines set up under the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport and the National Youth Agency the Professional Statutory and Regulatory Body for youth work in England. Both organisations have in consultation with Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive, developed youth sector specific advice and guidance. 

This can be illustrated by their traffic like system a “4 Tier Readiness Level Framework” – Red, Amber, Yellow and Green, used by youth organisations. Currently we are at Readiness Level Red, which means no face-to-face activities are allowed.

4 Tier Readiness Levels

No face to face activity or meetings
No residential activities

Small group sessions can take
Place outdoors
No residential activities

Small group sessions can take
Place indoors & outdoors
No residential activities

All activities can resume in line with
Government guidance

Additional quotes:

Mark Wood Scout Leader said “This generous support from Ponteland Community Partnership will allow us to provide camping experiences again as soon as we are allowed.  Additional small tents will allow single occupancy as we do not yet know what restrictions will be in place due to the COVID situation.” 

Andrew Pile Scout Groups Quartermaster – responsible for the appropriate equipment for scouting activities. Andrew said, “We have always provided tents to support scouting activities, including for camps and Duke of Edinburgh expeditions.  Our existing tents are for multiple occupancies.  The new tents provided by the generosity of Ponteland Community Partnership are for single occupancy and will thus allow camping with ‘social distancing’ when we are allowed to restart again.”

“Kinball” comes to High School – thanks to Community Partnership

Kin-Ball, is a team sport created in Canada in 1986 by a physical education professor, in which the main distinctive characteristics are the large size of the ball, 1.2m diameter, with the matches played among three teams at the same time instead of traditional one-vs-one like most other team games. The International Kinball Federation has been spreading across Europe and Asia where in the Czech Republic its popularity makes it their national sport.

Ponteland High School are able to include this additional team sport in their curriculum thanks to the Ponteland Community Partnership who funded the Kinball, being delivered just in time for the opening of the new campus last year. This addition is seen as an interesting alternative activity for students who do not engage in traditional sports; it encourages a range of holistic skills such as teamwork, leadership, communication and creativity helping personal development.

This opportunity is all part of the Community Partnerships series of Youth Projects starting from the end of 2020 into the spring of 2021. Working alongside local schools and youth organisations the Community Partnership has set aside funds for creative youth activities aimed at young people’s wellbeing during this difficult Covid 19 epidemic.

The idea came about during the first lockdown when the Community Partnership realised that the youth in the community were finding things particularly difficult, so with some creative thinking they came up with the idea of inviting local schools and youth groups to get involved by applying for a grant to deliver extracurricular activities. The response has been excellent with the aim of selecting successful applications from last November; then into January and March 2021.

The first round was awarded to Ponteland High School for the purchase of a Kinball, as this sport could be offered to hundreds of students whilst being an interesting alternative for those who don’t normally engage in traditional sport.

Quote from Chairman:

“Young people are our future, we need to help them through this difficult time; the partnership has prioritised its efforts to encourage local schools and youth organisations who can deliver innotive activities during these challenging times for the benefit of our young people’s wellbeing. Usually we deliver the projects but this time, as we can’t due to Covid restrictions, schools and some youth organisations can – we are being more creative to support our community”

Quote from Head of PE High School

“This will allow us to develop our provision of moving Ponteland High School PE and School Sport away from a culture of traditional sports and introduce an alternative and broader provision for activities in line with our vision and core purpose for PE to ensure we teach and provide all students with a range of activities and opportunities to develop them as people and ensure they live a healthy active lifestyle”

This will be an excellent addition to the school and something that the students will have never seen before. No doubt the students and people in the area will be intrigued and engaged which could lead to something developing further as a result.

This first round of money was raised by a group of 16 young people completing their National Citizen Service Award, arranged by the Youth Service, by organising a Family Fun Day in Ponteland. The young people came from the central area of the county Ashington, Prudoe and Ponteland. This was part of a national programme providing a community project based on “making a difference in the community” helping to build confidence and self belief and giving young people the chance to embark on challenges and building skills for work and life. The young people wished to raise money to be spent on improving activities for young people who live or are educated in Ponteland. The Community Partnership has been a custodian of these funds creating a series of youth projects starting at the end of last year and continuing up until March 2021.

The next round of funding, made possible through the generosity of local donations, is the end of January when the Community Partnership will look at the remainder of the applications for consideration.


Taken from a from the Natural History Society of Northumbria blog
Capturing the History of a Hidden Gem
Click to read the story.


Coronavirus has caused our monthly meetings at St Mary’s Church Hall to be cancelled until further notice; whilst in this closure period the PCP management group will still operate to keep this website up to date.

Although we have delayed the starting date of any future projects our current Youth Projects for Young Entrepreneurs and Reporters is still open for applications. If you want to know more please contact the management group via the contact page for further information. These projects will be carried out by email.

Pont News & Views is published by Ponteland Town Council in conjunction with Ponteland Community Partnership and unfortunately the April edition will not be delivered as usual.

This edition can be viewed on the right hand side of this homepage or by viewing Ponteland Town Council website, ponteland-tc.gov.uk

Community Partnership back on track

The PCP management group since its lockdown last March, has like most groups been monitoring the situation; the 4 executive members have had frequent discussions over the phone to keep each other aware of views and potential ideas for the future. The main committee has been kept up to date by a monthly Newsletter, but, it is very difficult to plan around social distancing. We are all very positive and now will be the time to move into the next phase using technology as a replacement for meetings and stepping into the unknown world of Skype, Zoom or other. This will allow us to discuss, plan and agree how we will function over the coming months and still comply with government guidance. Future monthly meetings are on hold due to problems over social distancing and the venue closure; there are plans to use Zoom initially.

We all feel that we need that “feel good factor” and now should be a time for opportunity and creativity to consider new things and to do things differently all to improve the quality of life, getting out in the natural environment is good for you physically and mentally.

Our first target is to encourage residents to use the bridleway from Callerton lane, once that area is available, for exercise. Anything we consider as a project must be mindful of current regulations from government and guidance from NCC and CPRE is that no litter picking can take place for safety and contamination reasons.

Our aim for late summer 2020

This kind of fits our brief and our current thinking is planning an environmental event in September at the bridleway when the ground works will be complete for the start of the next academic year. Already we have received a donation which has given a reprint of the “Get healthy get walking feel the benefits” leaflet showing the wildlife corridor up to the Airport; these would be distributed only once it is socially acceptable. This would be an enjoyable and effective way to improve health and well-being; relieving stress, increase fitness, improve physical and mental health, and prevent the development of chronic diseases bringing people of all ages and abilities together – to feel great. This would also support the NCC Ageing Well Strategy.

Autumn 2020

Future projects in the short term will return to our 2 youth projects to be restarted in the autumn school term. Students have found things difficult especially with the length of time the home schooling has lasted and the effect it has had on the lack of daily structure.

Next Year 2021

For the past year we have been considering creating heritage walks around Ponteland village and the rural area with supporting leaflets giving information on our local history unfortunately Covid19 stopped any preparation for this and the group would like to get back to researching its viability. The aim would be to encourage residents and visitors to understand and value Ponteland’s past in today’s world and there is certainly plenty to see. It has been suggested that we could even have an app.

Community Matters:

The Community Partnership intend to keep you informed on issues of local importance and although these items, normally would not be available on our website, due to the unusual times we find ourselves in it is felt this would be beneficial.
Please click here for Kier Construction Ponteland Schools and Leisure Update.

April Youth Reporter of the Month, Yuvi

The Truth About Social Media

Social media is often deemed as having a negative effect on the younger generation and is considered as dangerous by several parents. Throughout this article, I will outline the evident benefits of apps such as Instagram and Snapchat, and will offer an explanation as to why so many people have these opinions.

Social media is defined as “websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.” This is rather vague as the creation of content is relatively different to simply social networking. Social networking isn’t very diverse in its uses as it generally just involves networking with people online which has its own pros and cons whereas, with making content, there is a lot more potential for originality and creativity. There is a lot more you can do with creating and sharing content such as making videos or memes. It is especially relevant at this point in time due to the lockdown as it can help prevent a feeling of isolation and loneliness.

Instagram is an app which allows a user to share photos and videos from their lives. It is used by 1 billion users on a monthly basis, 71% of which are under the age of 35. This then makes privacy and safeguarding a key issue which is why the app enables the user to set their account as private so that the user is able to determine who can access and view their story and posts. However, there is a very limited amount of control that you have with what you see in your “feed” as you cannot control what certain people or pages post which could cause users to view posts which violate the rules of Instagram. Albeit, Instagram have a team dedicated to preventing this, it is almost impossible to view and vet every post on Instagram. Instagram firstly increases artistic ability when taking, editing and creating photos. It also allows you to increase your social circle to different extents. One maybe simply following a person and liking each other’s posts but also being able to privately message them and create group chats similar to WhatsApp. This consequently allows you to stay in touch with people without actively having to message them personally.

Snapchat has a much more focussed aim as it is primarily used to talk and send photos of yourself to friends. Snapchat was said to be used for more than 90% of U.K teens and young adults, displaying its clear popularity. In comparison to Instagram, Snapchat’s privacy settings are also much more effective as you control who you snap and who can snap you. It also allows you to control who can view your story. Snapchat also will inform you if someone takes a screenshot of something whilst Instagram doesn’t. However, along with any app that allows you to directly message people, there is always the danger of explicit photos being spread and predators deceiving younger people. It is almost impossible to entirely prevent this as the app doesn’t view and can’t look back on the messages you send, but it does try and limit strangers messaging people as you have to be added back in order to message them.  Snapchat is more commonly used between friends and especially in quarantine, a great way to talk to your friends.

In my opinion, the major reason for people having negative views and opinions regarding social media is due to the news. This is because when social media is in the news, it is almost always for bleak and dismissive reasons. This consequently, creates the illusion that the entire concept of social media itself is flawed and that your children shouldn’t use it. In reality, Instagram and Snapchat can be safe and not harmful as long as you stay aware of the dangers and are cautious.

The Community Partnership is launching 3 project ideas for young students in 6th form, starting now and into 2020.
Each month a shortlist of successful applications will be considered for a prize in recognition of their efforts.
This will give you the opportunity to try your hand at something that interests you. See below:

Apply for Entrepreneurs of the Future
Have you got a business idea that you would like some help with?
Have you got a business plan?
Is your idea ready to go or already started?
We would like to hear from you and your business idea.
All applications will be considered and a short list of candidates will be invited to a future Dragons Den where you will be expected to pitch your idea to local business people for some funding.
Apply through the contacts page

Apply for Website Youth Reporter
Would you like to try your hand at writing an article for the Community Partnership’s website?
Could you write about something you feel passionate about or a topical or of local interest?
All articles will be considered by the editorial group to be included into a new section of the website and will be considered for pontelandonline.
Apply via the contacts page

All successful young people will be given recognition for their efforts.

Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) Grasslands Project

A former anonymous Darras Hall resident kindly supported the volunteers of the Community Partnership in the autumn of last year to create a 2020 New Year project and funded the manufacture of an Educational Information Pedestal for Grasslands Darras Hall – Middle Drive entrance. The research, development design and co-ordination were undertaken by the Community Partnership with the installation managed by Darras Hall Estates Committee and Natural England.

Quote: Chairman of the Community Partnership said” We were delighted to receive such a generous donation offered to support our project, we wanted to create an information pedestal that tells a story of the original land ownership, its protection in 1910, and how owners valued its status which was also recognised by Natural England ( previously English Nature). Obviously, there was considerable work undertaken by the partnerships volunteers in the research and getting the right balance of the heritage and the natural environment. Special thanks should go to the Natural History Society and the Hancock Museum for their help in allowing us to use the illustrations of Margaret Rebecca Dickenson a local Victorian botanist and the land owners Darras Hall Estates Committee who paid for the installation.”

Grasslands is a 4 hectares area designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) -notified under Section 28 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 in the middle of Darras Hall , well hidden by the surrounding houses on Middle Drive, Eastern Way and Woodlands and known only to the local residents. The pedestal shows the history of Darras Hall, the citation, listings of the rare plants and illustrations of some of the plants created by a local north east artist at the time when Darras Hall Trust Deed was being created.

The formal conservation designation by Natural England, formally English Nature, from 1984 describes an area that’s of particular interest to science due to the rare species of fauna or flora and important habitats such as grasslands and rare plants of high conservation value.

This is one of over 4,100 sites covering more than 4,200 square miles in England and over half of this area is internationally important for wildlife. Most SSSIs are privately-owned or managed; others are cared for by public bodies or non-government organisations. This status means owners “must” manage the site appropriately to conserve its special features and any intentional or reckless damage of a SSSIs features or disturbance of its wildlife is an offence.

History Darras Hall Grasslands was first identified in the Darras Hall Trust Deed 1910 as a specific area uniquely positioned in an isolated spot to be used for recreational purposes and has been left relatively undisturbed since – it has been said that the oval shape was significant to a cricket pitch. In the mid 1990s estate owners voted overwhelmingly to support this site for nature conservation and informal recreation. This small oval area of semi-natural grassland forming the Darras Hall recreation area, entirely surrounded by houses, is one of the few remaining examples of a semi-natural grassland type once widespread, but now much diminished by agricultural and residential development. The main botanical interest centres on the gently undulating species-rich grassland which has developed on clay soils and which grades into wetter areas.

Darras Hall Trust Deed is based on the principles of Sir Ebenezer Howard’s concept in providing urban planning for “Garden Cities”, initiated in 1898, its aim intended to provide self-contained communities surrounded by greenbelts giving home life in a rural setting away from the work environment. Locally, Joseph Wakinshaw, a very forward thinking man of his time, arranged for the purchase of Darras Hall, Little Callerton and Callerton Moor (all farms) making up a total of 1,025 acres purchased for £59,210 in 1907 with the intention of creating Darras Hall Estate. The land was originally divided into 185 plots of approximately 5 acres; leaving the rest for roads and community facilities. A 2 day auction took place on the 8th & 9th February 1911 and raised £76,423 which covered the initial cost and the development of the original roads.

Illustrations The illustrator Margaret Rebecca Dickinson was born in Newcastle in 1821 she was an accomplished botanist and a talented Victorian artist who painted in watercolour over 450 plant species of wild flowers. On her death in 1918 she bequeathed her collection of watercolour drawings to the Natural History Society.

Citation – Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) Notified under Section 28 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 Local Planning Authority: Castle Morpeth Borough Council National Grid Reference: NZ 158714 Area: 4.00 (ha) 9.88 (ac) Ordnance Survey Sheet 1:50 000, 88, 1:10000 NZ 17 SE First notified: 1984 Other information: This is a new site with the exception of a football pitch on the eastern side, the site is otherwise free from intensive management. Citation plants are categorised below:

Rarer Plants:

Dyers greenweed
Pepper saxifrage
Yellow loosestrife
Purple loosestrife
Common reed

Serratula tinctoria
Genista tinctoria
Silaum silaus
Lysimachia vulgaris
Lythrum salicaria
Phragmites Australis

More Common Plants:

Ladies mantle
Northern marsh orchid
Common spotted orchid
Common twayblade
Creeping willow
Ragged robin
Yellow rattle
Common knapweed
Primula veris
Alchemilla spp
Dactylorhiza purpurella
D. fuchsii
Listera ovata
Salix repens
Lychnis flos-cuculi
Rhinanthus minor
Centaurea nigra

Natural England Management Plan
As the site is a SSSI any operations on it are regulated by Natural England, who also funds some of the work that is carried out on it, including the annual cut, removal of the sward in autumn and the scrub control work during the winter. The site developed its botanical interest as a hay meadow it is important that it continues to be managed that way and not removing vegetation at the end of the growing season would result in nutrients going back into the soil leading to rank grasses out competing many flowering plants. The scrub removal is also important to enable the many visitors to the site to get around and stop areas from becoming overgrown and impassable. The site consists of a mix of unimproved semi-natural grassland and scrub (largely gorse, hawthorn and willow). There are now more than 220 plant species identified within the site, which suggests that it has not been intensively managed for a long time, probably 100 years or more. The site is noted for the occurrence of a number of plant species which are rare or uncommon in Northumberland. This type of grassland was once common across the English lowlands, but there is now less than 6,000 ha remaining, with this 4 ha (10 acre) site being one of the more significant of its type in Northumberland.

Time to reflect on the Healthy Lifestyle Initiative April – September 2019

Now this project has been completed we have had the opportunity to assess how successful it has been. This initiative open to residents and workers in Ponteland was not part of the NHS, but funded and manned by community partnership volunteers with the medical facility donated by the White Medical Group. Thanks must go to both medical practices for their co-operation throughout these passed months.

This pilot project supported by Guy Opperman has been rated a positive success with the community weight lose, reduced BP and BMI all for a healthier future. 
The project team was made up of 3 members who volunteered their time once a month to man the health project at the Ponteland Primary Care Medical Centre.

Attendees were encouraged to reflect on their current lifestyle eat wiser and increase their exercise by getting out and about and a change of scene – visit the bridleway where the recent step counts have been installed at 5 locations on route to the Airport.

This type of project fits into a new Joint Strategy between Northumberland County Council and the NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioners Group 2018-2020. Our local Cllr Veronica Jones is the portfolio holder for this joint strategy and was able to join one of the drop in’s to see for herself just how successful it was.

At the last “drop in” on Friday September 13th it was recorded that 37
individuals had attended this facility over the 6 month pilot with a 20.2Kg
weight loss and lowered BP.

The comments and reactions speak for themselves:


  • This fits in with my busy life having a drop in rather than attending a group for a couple of hours, I just need that little support to keep me motivated
  • I was made welcome and the advice was very helpful
  • A good idea to ask us to give the results back to our own surgery
  • I got a shock about my blood pressure; hope to get it down for next month
  • Very efficient but friendly and the GP was excellent
  • Blood pressure down again this month and I feel great – 10 years younger
  • What a good idea of inviting this community health trainer, I am certainly going to follow this opportunity up and ring the contact number for some help to keep me losing weight.

At the last session the Partnership organised a visit from the Senior Community Heath Trainer to assist those attendees who needed support after the pilot had finished. The Health Trainer Service is available to all in need of help to make realistic lifestyle changes that are tailored to individual needs.

Health trainers provide personal one to one support with:

  • Healthy food choices
  • Weight management
  • Increasing physical mobility
  • Drinking less alcohol
  • Stopping smoking

If you would like more information about creating a personal health plan contact:

Tel: 01670 623840

Email: healthtrainers@northumbria-healthcare.nhs.uk

If you wanted to know more about how the Ponteland “drop in’s” helped those who attended, use the contact page on www.pontelandcommunitypartnership.com

Discussions with both practice managers from both medical practices took place early in August to try and identify how this model of care could continue in the future but the outcome shows there is no easy fix and the Community Partnership will be requesting some support from our MP and NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioners Group for the future.

Photo –
Heather Thomas PCP Treasurer
Cllr Veronica Jones NCC
Dr Pratima Mehra PCP committee member
Alma Dunigan PCP Chairman

Guy visits Ponteland initiative

733 Squadron help out again on the 12th October

Thanks again to the Air Cadets for helping the Community Partnership.

Cadets lend a hand by working on the ground preparation for the replacement pedestal which will be reinstalled after the vandalism in July destroyed the existing educational pedestal.

Thanks to local donations a replacement pedestal is to be installed a few days after the clear up of the area has been completed. Donations will also enable us to add additional protection to the displays to all 4 of the other pedestals along the bridleway from Callerton Lane to the Airport, thanks to the generosity of Ponteland.

Many thanks – Bridleway pedestal replacement appeal successful

Community Partnership Committee are over whelmed by the generosity of local people.

Quote from Community Partnership

“ We were speechless when we found out about what had happened, as you can imagine an immense amount of work over several months by a number of people originally had gone into this pedestal project and we were all devastated by the mindless vandalism – but the response to the appeal has restored our faith in human kindness!.

Thanks to the generosity of a local businessman who has donated the full amount of £1,249.55 required to replace the vandalised pedestal at Rotary Way, the community partnership now have the funds to replace the vandalised pedestal this autumn.

Quote: Anonymous donor “I heard with sadness about the vandalism”

Not only do we have enough money to cover the pedestal cost but have also received a donation from one of the partnerships committee members and £250 presented after a success match at the Rugby Club.

L-R, Rugby Club President Tony Murphy, PCP Alma Dunigan,
Rugby Club Vice President David Comeskey

Quote:  Rugby Club President, Tony Murphy said “As a community organisation ourselves, we always look to give back to the very community that provides Ponteland Rugby Club with so much support.”

It was decided, with their approval, that we could extend our efforts by giving the other 4 pedestals along the bridleway route from Callerton lane to the Airport some extra protection. This work will also be carried out at the same time as the replacement pedestal is installed.

To complete this story, before the installation work can start this autumn the 733 Squadron Air Cadets have kindly offered to tidy up and prune back the summer growth of vegetation at Rotary Way.

Quote from the Community Partnership Chairman

Thank you to everyone who has helped us, make this possible”

Ponteland Healthy Lifestyle Initiative

Cllr Veronica Jones portfolio holder for the County Councils Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2018-2020, an agreement between Northumberland County Council and the NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioners Group, visits community Healthy Lifestyle Initiative organised by Ponteland Community Partnership.

This initiative open to residents and workers in Ponteland is not part of the NHS, but funded and manned by community partnership volunteers with the medical facility donated by the White Medical Group. Thanks must go to both medical practices for their co-operation throughout these passed months.

At the last “drop in” on Friday September 13th it was recorded that 37 individuals had attended this facility over the 6 month pilot with a 20.2Kg weight loss and lowered BP.

The comments and reactions speak for themselves:

Quotes: This fits in with my busy life having a drop in rather than attending a group for a couple of hours, I just need that little support to keep me motivated

I was made welcome and the advice was very helpful

A good idea to ask us to give the results back to our own surgery

I got a shock about my blood pressure; hope to get it down for next month

Very efficient but friendly and the GP was excellent

Blood pressure down again this month and I feel great – 10 years younger

What a good idea of inviting this community health trainer, I am certainly going to follow this opportunity up and ring the contact number for some help to keep me losing weight.

Everybody has been so helpful

On the last session the Partnership organised a visit from the NCC Senior Community Heath Trainer to assist those attendees who needed support after the pilot had finished. The Health Trainer Service is available to all in need of help to make realistic lifestyle changes that are tailored to individual needs. Health trainers provide personal one to one support with:

  • Healthy food choices
  • Weight management
  • Increasing physical mobility
  • Drinking less alcohol
  • Stopping smoking

If you would like more information about creating a personal health plan contact:

Tel: 01670 623840

Email : healthtrainers@northumbria-healthcare.nhs.uk

If you wanted to know more about how it helped attendees of the Ponteland “drop in” use the www.pontelandcommunitypartnership.com and use the contact page.

The Healthy Lifestyle Initiative, a pilot project is now completed and has been rated a positivesuccess with the community weight lose, reduced BP and BMI all for a healthier future.  The project team was made up of 3 members who volunteered their time once a month to man the health project at the Ponteland Primary Care Medical Centre.

Discussions with both practice managers took place early in August to try and identify how this model of care could continue in the future but the outcome shows there is no easy fix and the Community Partnership will be requesting some support from our MP and NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioners Group for the future.

Partnership produces Youth Activities Directory thanks to students

After many weeks the directory has now been finalised and can be viewed on our Homepage and on the Projects 2019 page. The directory shows regular activities only and where and when they can be found and will be circulated to local schools for students, parents and school use.

A youth survey was conducted at the High School on the internal on-line system with the principle aims to find out:

  • What young people do in their spare time?
  • What they think of the youth provision at the moment?
  • What they would appreciate being provided in the near future?

The questions in the survey were put together by the partnerships Student Advisor, from the High School and the chairman with an aim to keep the survey brief and outlining how the views of these young people would help for a better appreciation of the kind of provision needed by understanding their current hobbies, activities and aspirations.

Based on this survey the youth were requesting 3 things:

  1. A safe indoor area specifically for the youth, where they can meet their friends, relax and enjoy themselves where they will not be judged as troublesome.
  2. A small outdoor area for a kick about for unplanned activity.
  3. An improved system for advertising information on “What’s On, Where and When”

What happened next?

After reviewing the youth survey the partnership tried to find suitable accommodation for an indoor space and an outdoor area even for a temporary provision, to date this is proving to be very difficult. The partnership does not intend giving up on this however, being realistic this is going to prove a difficult task.

The Student Adviser and the chairman of the Partnership decided they could create a directory showing what’s on where and when which would help young people in their spare time. After many weeks the directory has now been finalised and can be viewed on the Homepage of this website, on the Projects 2019 page and will be circulated to local schools for students, parents and school use. The directory shows regular activities, where and when they can be found but not one of events.

A meeting took place at the High School between the Community Partnership, the High School and the Youth Service to discuss the responses from the survey. It is anticipated that a further meeting will take place inviting other interested organisations on the way forward.

What will happen in the future?

The Partnership will be meeting with other agencies to discuss how an indoor and outdoor provision can be sort for the future.

View The Youth Activities Directory

Community Partnership picks up the pieces

You can see why we need your help!

Do you remember seeing anything suspicious around Rotary Way on Sunday 7th July, if you do, please get in touch? www.pontelandcommunitypartnership.co.uk via our contact page

After so much hard work, by the community was put into the revamp of the Bridleway over the past 4 years the community partnership can’t believe what has happened. It has only taken one act of pure mindless vandalism to destroy part of a well loved walk in Ponteland.

The Partnership would like to see the educational pedestal replaced for the community and we have been in touch with the manufacturer to find out a replacement cost however, our group does not have the funds to do this.

If you would like to help by giving a donation or help in any other way please get in touch on www.pontelandcommunitypartnership.co.uk

Bridleway Celebration and Health Aid Step Counts

On the 4th May a celebration on the completion of a number of projects focused around the bridleway from Callerton Lane to the Airport took place with representation from organisations, volunteers, committee members and our MP Guy Opperman. The final project was the installation of the step counts at 5 points along the 2 mile route, funded by the Community Foundation “Out & About” fund. This inclusion of the step counts is an aid to general health and part of a health recovery programme which links into the Joint Health & Wellbeing Strategy 2018-2020 between NCC and the NHS Clinical Commissioning Group.

For over 4 years the community has contributed to the Ponteland Community Partnership by improving this local facility which started life as the railway line from Gosforth in the early 1900’s, closing to passengers in 1960’s. Over the following years it was used as a path and then a bridleway. The Neighbourhood Plan inspired the initial pruning event 3 years ago, when the steering group proposed the bridleway to be part of the “Wildlife Corridor” and through the examination process it was given this status; identifying the need for open and green spaces as a vital part of a vibrant and healthy community in mind and body.

The final project was the installation of the step counts at 5 points along the 2 mile route. The volunteers are quite diverse, representing the community and 13 local organisations.   Work started with a bridleway revamp, reinstatement of part of the old railway path, planting trees, wild flowers, bulbs and lastly the installation of step counts at each of the educational pedestals.

The Community Partnership’s work has been recognised by being awarded a Highly Commended Love Northumberland Awards 2 years running and has supported the Town Council in the entries to Northumberland in Bloom & Britain in Bloom.

Over the years there has been a significant increase of use from all age’s dog walkers, joggers, ramblers and cyclists for recreation, environmental and health reasons.

Ponteland has a higher than average elderly population with an increased need for safe areas for exercise and keeping fit this is why we are now working with both local GP Practices to promote this route for their patients as part of a health rehabilitation programme for both body and mind. The route is surrounded by fields newly planted trees bulbs and wild flowers with perch benches and educational pedestals showing scenes of local heritage and the natural environment. This is why we are promoting the Joint Health & Wellbeing Strategy between NCC & NHS Clinical Commissioning Group.

Quote from Ponteland Community Partnership “The success of our projects has by far exceeded all expectations and this must be down to 3 things, selecting meaningful projects that the community have got behind, the ability for accessing funding required and the continuous support of our volunteers – who never let us down. We will continue to look for new projects for the benefit of the community and consider other topics that may be appropriate as Ponteland changes in the future.

Cllr Veronica Jones portfolio folder said “It’s really important to get into the habit of regular physical activity and this is a lovely way to do this that is suitable for all ages. It’s a great idea to have the step markers and gives that little extra incentive to the walk.”

Guy Opperman MP said” It was a pleasure to celebrate the reopening of the old railway line footpath embracing the healthy living programme. I was able to thank the dozens of volunteers and organisations who have done so much on this project. I look forward to the next project which I am fully behind”

Counting Steps on 4th May

To celebrate this latest venture come and meet up on the 4th May for 11.30 at Callerton Lane car park where volunteers, Councillors and the Partnership’s supporters like the CPRE, Marianne Foster and Guy Opperman our MP, who is aiming to join us all for a photo.

You may then like to walk the route!

We all need some kind of exercise to improve physical and mental health especially with our busy lives. Easter is behind us and summer approaching fast so why not visit the bridleway from Callerton Lane to the Airport as part of getting “out and about”.

You don’t have to count the steps as it is already done for you. At each of the information pedestals the number of steps to be walked is displayed in both directions and there are perch benches if you need a rest on route.

The counted steps idea has been organised by the Community Partnership with the support of the Community Foundation “Out & About” fund. The aim is to encourage residents to improve their general wellbeing and to provide an alternative to a gym as an aid to health recovery.

This project supports the Northumberland’s Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2018-2028 which has a joint duty between Northumberland County Council and the Clinical Commissioning Group (NHS). The overall aim is to maximise the wellbeing and health of Northumberland’s residents and reduce inequalities.

Healthy Lifestyle Initiative

This is a new Ponteland Community Partnership pilot project improve general health and the quality of life. This started on the 12th April and is set to continue for several months due to an excellent turn out making full use of a drop in facility to have blood pressure and weight checks at Ponteland Primary Care Medical Centre on the Meadowfield Industrial Estate.

The Ponteland Community Partnership’s Ambassador for this event “Special Jon Gray” was the first to take advantage of this scheme. He commented that as one gets older and exercise reduces the waist expands, so it’s good to take stock and get professional guidance on what to do to stay healthy – I will be coming back next month. All other comments were very complementary.

Why not come to our next ‘Monthly Drop- In’ 10th May, this facility fits outside the NHS but will be hosted by the White Medical Group for all residents over the age of 18 and those who work in Ponteland on the second Friday afternoon 2-4.00pm of each month.

The ‘Monthly Drop – In’ completely confidential will be manned by a medical professional available to check BP and weight reduction or gain; no appointment is required, but please understand this is not a substitute for a Doctor’s appointment. You will be greeted at the entrance of the Medical Centre by representatives of the Community Partnership who will take you to the waiting area and give you a simple record card which you will be responsible for to bring back on any further visits. You will not be required to give any personal details this is purely anonymous and will be kept safely with you.

Get healthy get walking feel the benefits’

This could be your first steps towards a healthier lifestyle, the Way Markers Project aimed to help residents improve their general health or as an aid in a health recovery programme.

No matter what your age or your current physical ability, select a suitable walking distance along the bridleway from Callerton Lane to Newcastle International Airport. Take a friend and your mobile phone.

This is an enjoyable and effective way to improve health and well-being; to relieve stress, increase fitness, improve physical and mental health, and prevent the development of chronic diseases bringing people of all ages and abilities together – to feel great.

The Way Markers Project is linked into the revamped bridleway and has been undertaken by the Ponteland Community Partnership supported by the Community Foundation “Out and About” fund and Northumberland County Councils “Ageing Well Strategy”.

Over the past 2 years, the bridleway between Callerton Lane to Newcastle International Airport has become a wildlife corridor due to the “Made” Ponteland Neighbourhood Plan 2017. Since then the Community Partnership has organised and delivered a series of projects, thanks to the hard work of many volunteers with litter picking, hand pruning, foot path reinstatement, and wild flowers and bulb planting along this route. Funding from the Community Foundation LEAF fund and the Community Chest has also enabled the Ponteland Community Partnership to install 5 educational pedestals and perch benches along the bridleway.

Recent visitors will now have seen the installation of 5 way markers for the purpose of setting out the distance by steps between each information pedestal. They are positioned at each pedestal from Callerton Lane to the Airport along the bottom bar of the structure, telling you the number of steps in both directions still to be walked. If needed, the perch bench allows the walker to catch their breath, take in the view before moving on.

This is all part of a number of projects starting this spring undertaken by the Ponteland Community Partnership to encourage greater community participation in activities and improve the quality of life for those who live and work in Ponteland.

Watch out for more information about other projects undertaken by the Ponteland Community Partnership in the monthly Pont News & Views, view our website: www.pontelandcommunitypartnership.co.uk

Youth Survey carried out at High School – to seek young people’s views

During December 2018 and January 2019 the Community Partnership, their Student Advisor and the High School surveyed Years 9 to 13 about their spare time.

The survey was conducted as an internal on-line system and the principle aims of this survey were:

  • To find out what young people do in their spare time,
  • What they think of the youth provision at the moment and
  • What they would appreciate being provided in the near future.

The Ponteland Neighbourhood Plan had identified an under provision for unplanned activities for young people in 2017 during the preparation of the neighbourhood plan. In late autumn 2018 the Ponteland Community Partnership decided, with the help of their Student Advisor and the support of the Head teacher at Ponteland High School to survey the school population about their current spare time activities with the aim of identifying suitable activities for the youth in the future.

The background evidence of the recent Ponteland Neighbourhood Plan shows clearly the available activities at that time in 2017, since then the play and skate park has been removed as part of the new School and Leisure Centre development and with no youth service provision at the Youth Hut it only leaves Twizell Place for youth unplanned activities to take place. We recognise that on the completion of the new School Leisure Complex there will be more opportunities for planned activities than ever before. The Community Partnership feels that casual facilities should be made available for unplanned activity to help provide healthy physical and mental development especially for the younger generation of our community; who so easily get forgotten.

Youth Past Provision – Play Park, Skate Park, limited Youth Service activities and Twizell Place

Youth Current Provision – Twizell Place

Youth Future Provision – Relocated Play Park with the future of Twizell Park uncertain

The questions in the survey were put together by our PCP student advisor and the chair of the Ponteland Community Partnership with an aim to keep the survey brief and outlining how the views of these young people would help for a better understanding of what kind of provision is needed by understanding their current hobbies, activities and aspirations.

Based on this survey the youth a requesting 3 things:

  1. Firstly, a safe indoor area specifically for the youth, where they can meet their friends, relax and enjoy themselves where they will not be judged as troublesome.
  2. A small outdoor area for a knock about for unplanned activity.
  3. An improved system for advertising information on “What’s On”, Where and When.

What happened next?

A meeting took place at the High School between the Community Partnership, the High School and the Youth Service to discuss the responses from the survey. There is another meeting planned later in the year after the community partnership’s AGM when members will have the opportunity to review the situation.

It is anticipated that a further meeting will take place inviting other interested organisations.

2018 has been a fantastic year for Community Projects

30 young people help the Community Partnership

The Community Partnership thank all the young people who volunteered on a 3 stage event planting wild daffodils, snowdrops and wild primroses during late September and October.

The bulbs were planted from the Airport end of the bridleway towards the village; in total they planted well over 1,100 bulbs and 300 primroses starting on the 29th September when the Air Cadets volunteered to start the planting. This was followed on the 6th October with the return of the Air Cadets who were joined by the Scouts and Explorer Scouts continuing the planting up to Rotary Way.

By assisting in this way the Air Cadets are contributing towards their Participation In Public Events award and the Scouts & Explorer Scouts can use this experience for the Duke of Edinburgh Gold & Platinum award.

Due to bad weather the event on the 13th October had to be cancelled but willing hands on the 16th & 17th October planted more of the bulbs; leaving the remainder of the plants and bulbs to be planted with a litter pick on the 20th October.

Funding was raised through the Northumberland County Council Community Chest and from Cllr Eileen Armstrong member’s small scheme allowance.

All wild bulbs and primroses were sourced from Habitataid they are part of a community of small specialist growers linked to a number of specialist science based UK charities. Habitataid donate half the profits from online retail sales to the “Bubble Bee Conservation Trust”.

This recent planting has all been part of a 2 year programme of events to reinstate and improve the environment along the bridleway up to the Airport, which was an old railway track and now a wildlife corridor. All the trees planted last year, wild flower seeds and now the wild bulbs will all help to encourage birds, insects and small mammals to increase in number by providing suitable food required and a safe area for breeding.

The Callerton Lane part of the bridleway has been avoided due to the imminent building of the Schools Leisure Complex however the Community Partnership is already planning this area for a future project working with NCC and the developer in the soft landscaping reinstatement in around 2020.

Volunteers needed for bulb planting at the Bridleway on the 13th October

Once again the Community Partnership needs your help to plant wild daffodils, snowdrops and wild primroses from Callerton Lane to Rotary Way. Our group, with the help of the residents has spent the last 2 years upgrading this local asset and this is likely to be one of the last stages in the restoration of this wildlife corridor and heritage trail.

We finally decided on purchasing our items from Habitat Aid, https://www.habitataid.co.uk/shop/british-plants-seeds because they are part of a community of small specialist growers and half the profits from our purchase is going to the Bubble Bee Conservation Trust

Volunteers are needed on Saturday morning, 10 am till 12.30pm, on Saturday the 13th October.

If you are interested to come and help please get in touch by going to our website www.pontelandcommunitypartnership.co.uk and use the contact facility to register your interest- we will then contact you with further details. It is essential to let us know you intend to join us on the 13th October for the planning of this event.

The Community Partnership looks forward to you joining us.

Lord – Lieutenant’s Annual Garden Party at Alnwick Gardens, for volunteers and carers on the 13th September 2018

The event was attended by his H.R.H. Prince of Wales where he mingled with over 500 attendees made up of 250 nominees, their guests and dignitaries’. In his address Prince Charles said Northumberland was very special to him especially as he was the patron of Alnwick Garden; it gave him enormous pleasure to attend and thanked the Duchess for the annual event reminding the audience that his parents attended this event 5 years ago at the first Lord – Lieutenant’s Garden Party. He paid tribute to the wide range of organisations and charities and the work they do, very often unseen and unheard but much appreciated.

Background Information

“On Thursday, 13th September, as part of a wider programme of events in Northumberland, His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, will attend a special garden party which is hosted annually by The Duchess of Northumberland to recognise and thank the county’s carers and volunteers for their valuable contribution to the local community. The Duchess, in her role as Lord-Lieutenant of Northumberland, invites 250 volunteers and carers from across the county to attend with their partners or a guest. Now in its fifth year, the event is thought to be the biggest of its kind in the region.

Every year, nominations are requested from both the Lord-Lieutenant’s office, through Deputy Lieutenant’s from across the county, and directly from charities, organisations and individuals. Efforts are made to represent a broad spectrum of volunteers and carers who work so hard in Northumberland. Nominations can be made by contacting Jenny Walton or Kerry Ellis at Alnwick Castle on 01665 602456. Charities and organisations represented this year include the Great North Air Ambulance, SSAFA, Tynedale Hospice at Home, Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team and Headway to name but a few.

The garden party could not take place without the significant support of a number of sponsors; Greggs will supply the food and Ramside Estates the catering equipment and staff. Other sponsors include: The Barbour Foundation, Ringtons, Justerini & Brooks, Potts Print (UK) Ltd, Sir Robert McAlpine, Sodexo, The W A Handley Trust, Ward Hadaway Solicitors, Living North, The Chocolate Smiths, Dr A. D. Trapp, The Banks Group, Jo Malone, Fentimans Ltd., The MGL Group, Penhaligons, PIMM’S, Marks and Spencer and The Alnwick Garden.”

Some of those who attended were:

Iain Evans Ponteland Scouts

Alma Dunigan organising Ponteland Community Partnerships ‘Old Railway Line Project’

Frank Harrington organising Ponteland Community Partnerships ‘Old Railway Line Project’

Heather Forshaw Environmental Adviser to Ponteland Community Partnership

Yuvraj Chauhan Youth Ambassador, Ponteland Community Partnership

Sheila & Alan Pagan Organising the annual ‘Edwardian Ball’ – Charity

Lesley Hughes Ponteland Brownies

Sara Pagan Ponteland Guides

Lucinda Porter Ponteland Guides

Juliet Phipps Guides & Rangers

This year the Chairman of the Community Partnership, Alma Dunigan, was one of a number of nominees invited to attend this year’s Lord-Lieutenants Garden Party at Alnwick Gardens for her contribution to the upgrading of the Old Railway Line; known as the bridleway between Callerton Lane and the Airport. Other nominees and their guests represented the ongoing work with local young people in the Brownies, Guides and Rangers. A local charity was recognised for its contribution to organising  the annual Edwardian Ball.


Alma said, “It has taken over 2 years to organise and complete each stage from litter picking and pruning, significant ground work, tree and wild flower planting, installing 5 educational pedestals all celebrating our local heritage. None of this would have been possible without the support and the hard work of the volunteers and the £12,000 raised from a variety of sources. My nomination allowed me to invite 3 guests and they were the vice Chair Frank Harrington, Yuvi our Youth Ambassador and Heather Forshaw who has been our environmental advisor throughout.

Students raise £446.66 for ‘tiny lives’ charity with a 3 Day Event

A 3 day event was organised by 11 students called, Team Jiggy, to raise funds for the ‘tiny lives’ charity. ‘tiny lives’ is a charity that supports premature babies, sick unborn babies and their families to get research and support that they need to stay together during this tough time.

This was all part of the National Citizen Service (NCS) and the former prime minister, David Cameron’s main legacy project. It consists of a 4 week experience for 15 to 17 year-olds to help build confidence and self belief giving young people the chance on embarking on challenges and building skills for work and life. Northumberland has been part of a national programme, supported by the youth service, which has inspired more than 400,000 youngsters nationally to get involved.

This project started with a 5 day residential in Yorkshire making new friends and enjoying plenty of outdoor activities. The second week consisted of developing life skills better communication and building confidence all essential when preparing CV’s & UCAS personal statements.

During the third week the group met with the Ponteland Community Partnership and contacted the Town Council and local representatives with the intention of selecting  and planning community activities that could benefit Ponteland residents and could be used to raise funds for their identified charity ‘tiny lives’

The final week was delivering their chosen activities:

On Monday it was down to the river by the Diamond to remove as much of the Himalayan Balsam from the banks of the river whilst they were in bloom and before the seeds have a chance to be disbursed. Every plant produces about 2,000 seeds, so there was a great sense of urgency to remove these plants to help the river water flow in the coming months. 34 bags of the offending weed were removed in 3 hours with plenty of onlookers including Rory Bremner.

Tuesday’s activity allowed the students to stretch their legs by walking the bridleway from the Airport through Ponteland Park and up onto Darras Hall and finishing at the Darras Hall boundary. Their task was to record the number of steps taken between 10 static points along this route. This information will be used by the Community Partnership for their next project called ‘Walking back in Health’ all part of an aid to health recovery. Way markers will be placed along the route telling the walker how many steps it is to the next marker.

Wednesday was the Fun Day, luckily the rain held off to allow families with young children to enjoy face painting, tombola, cake stall, football shootout, wet sponge throwing and tug of war. All of these activities enabled Team Jiggy to raise £446.66 which is to be donated to the ‘tiny lives’ charity that supports premature babies and their families by supporting them with everything they need to stay together.

Team Jiggy will next meet up on the 18th September at their Graduation at Newbiggin giving a presentation of their project to all the other Northumberland project groups and their families.


The Community Partnership has been very impressed with the young people showing how thoughtful and considerate they have been to raise funds for the tiny lives charity.

Their commitment to improving the river by removing so much weed from the banks, helping the Community Partnership with calculating the steps through the bridleway for our next project and putting on a Fun Day in the Park. They have shown how the youth care and want to make a difference.

Students raise nearly £250 at ‘Family Fun Day’ for future youth project

On the 8th August Ponteland Fun Day got under way, 16 students planned and hosted events including football, long jump, face painting, raffles, tombola and refreshments raising nearly £250 to go towards a future youth project in Ponteland.

The first week was spent in the Lake District concentrating on team building activities then back to Seaton Burn for the second week focussing on confidence building workshops. During the third week the group met with local people, Town Council and the Ponteland Community Partnership with the intention of selecting a community project. The group identified that anti-social behaviour was the number one problem in Ponteland and decided to focus on raising money for a future youth project and ask the Community Partnership to use these funds for that purpose.

This was all part of the National Citizen Service (NCS) and the former prime minister, David Cameron’s main legacy project. It consists of a 4 week experience for 15 to 17 year-olds to help build confidence and self belief giving young people the chance on embarking on challenges and building skills for work and life. Northumberland has been part of a national programme, supported by the youth service, which has inspired more than 400,000 youngsters nationally to get involved.

Team Biccies, as the students were called, experience was divided into 4 stages

  • Stage 1 a five day residential at YHA Grasmere packed with outdoor activities, making new friends and team building
  • Stage 2 five days in a uni-style environment to develop life skills, confidence and better communication; all to boost individual CV’s & UCAS personal statements
  • Stage 3 Working in teams putting learnt skills into practice by delivering a community project, a form of social action of their choice; including planning , fundraising all to make a difference in the community
  • Stage 4 Graduation a celebration of achievements

Quote from the Community Partnership

We only met Team Biccies 10 days ago when they asked what they could do to benefit the community in Ponteland and within that short space of time they met with several people to understand where their efforts could be best used and came up with a youth project. The Community Partnership has been delighted to work with this group, the youth workers and have been overwhelmed by their efforts to raise nearly £250. We intend to keep in touch with the group’s representatives and the youth service when the project has been identified as their views will be sort at that stage.

Congratulations Community Partnership Winning Highly Commended 

The community partnership entered the “Old Railway Line” project for the 2018 awards and was shortlisted for the “Urban Category” of LOVE Northumberland Award 2018.

On the 12th July members of the Partnership were invited to attend the judging ceremony at Alnwick Castle Gardens with Her Grace the Duchess of Northumberland where the awards were presented in the Pavilion. This event was compared by Carol Malia, BBC Look North presenter.

The aim of the project was to raise community pride in an environmental asset by improving the natural environment and reinstating the 2 mile old railway track from Rotary Way south to Newcastle Airport; encourage community and visitor use at a newly designated “Wildlife Corridor”.

The old railway line originally built in 1901 and ceased operation in 1960’s; now a treasured route after much needed renovation for recreation whilst still retaining its rural setting.

The track needed significant reinstatement work enabling more community accessibility as the track had narrowed significantly overtime with water logged pot holes, over grown vegetation which had drastically reduced accessibility.

The project was made up of 6 community activities:

  • November 2017 litter pick, clearing overgrowth and pruning.
  • January 2018 Designing 3 interpretation panels to include heritage information on Local Mine, Explosives Depot, original Woolsington Airfield, wildlife illustrations,and maps.
  • February 2018 litter pick, pruning and planting 100 trees.
  • April 2018 Litter pick and pruning.
  • April 2018 Replacing fencing and installation of 3 interpretation pedestals at Rotary Way south and Airport. Clearing and skimming the sides of the track and reinstating hardcore – Ward Bros
  • May 2018 wild flower planting.
  • BBC Newcastle featured “Garden Mania” at:bbc.co.uk/programmes/p001d70c.
  • Project supports entry for Northumbria in Bloom and Britain in Bloom.

Quote from the Chairman “This is truly a community award for so many volunteers from 11 local organisations, young and old contributing efforts to improve and reinstate a wild life corridor, which was the original railway line from the 1900’s”.

 We are delighted to have won this year, last year we received a “Highly Commended” and this year the project built on our success from last year. None of this would have been possible without the community volunteering throughout the year with litter picking, pruning, planting trees and wild flowers for all of us to enjoy in the future years.

Thanks should be given to the Community Foundation who funded this project as part of the bridleway from Rotary Way towards the Airport which was the most challenging to improve and with the support and efforts of Ward Bros, who own the land, it would not have been such a success. They contributed manpower, machinery and hardcore to reinstate the damaged pathway back to the original width of the railway line”

It’s great to see more residents using this wildlife corridor for recreational purposes and as we have now secured more funding from the Community Chest to purchase wild daffodil bulbs these will be planted late September. This will complement the existing wild flowers planted this year in the areas behind the display panels and benches. Hopefully this will create a natural stopping place to take a breath and learn more about the ICI Explosives Dept, Prestwick Colliery and Woolsington Airfield.

A selection of comments from the users of the Old Railway Line on 17thFebruary 2018

  • A local elderly person dog walking “This has been a brilliant idea to improve this area – Thank you to all concerned”
  • 7 cyclists (male & female) from Gateshead “ We always use old railway lines for cycling and this has been a great ride so far, we are off to Stamfordam from here and then back to Gateshead”.
  • Two local middle-aged walkers” We have just seen these new pedestals, never knew there was so much local history and environmental influence at our back door; they certainly complement the original ones at Callerton. The information is quirky and really interesting – never knew the Town Moor had been considered for the Airport!” “Nice to see so many young people helping out”.

Radio Newcastle’s “Garden Mania” presenter Marian Foster visits youth wildflower planting on the bridleway thanks to the Community Foundation.

The Ponteland Community Partnership’s project to reinstate the natural habitat on the old railway line went ahead on Saturday 12th May as planned with the youth planting 200 wild flowers for the benefit of generations to come.

Community Partnership’s Aim:

To allow the local youth ownership of part of the “Old Railway Line Project” giving benefit to the community now and for future generations.

The Air Cadets, Scouts and Explorers, 20 in total, who all helped previously to plant 100 trees along this section of the bridleway all volunteered to take on this part of the project once the pathway was carefully brought back to its original condition from the early 1900’s.

Marian Foster, Radio Newcastle presenter, attended the event recording interviews and gathering information for her Sunday broadcast. Heather Forshaw explained she had grown a selection of appropriate wild flowers from Northumbrian seed to be planted in 3 selected areas, 1 of which was a wet area.

Selection of quotes from the youth:

  • I think it is good to help the community
  • It’s nice to give back to the community
  • It’s rewarding and you appreciate it more
  • This is part of my community work needed for my “Chief Scouts Platinum Award”
  • We need to partake in 2 community events for our “Participation in Public Event” Award
  • It’s hard work but worthwhile

Quotes from the bridleway users:

  • Cyclist – This is a great facility
  • Runner – Much better now the path has been improved
  • Walker – It’s good to see the young so committed

The chairman Alma Dunigan said “Last December the old railway track was given Wildlife Corridor status through the Ponteland Neighbourhood Plan a 32 planning policies document – the idea has come from this and the success of the previous environmental project. Callerton Lane to Rotary Way is already a well used stretch of the Bridleway and the Community Partnership wanted to encourage more recreational use including the health benefits for the last part of the Bridleway from Rotary Way towards the Airport”

“When planning – our first task had been to assess what work was needed to encourage the community and visitors to use this local amenity. It was decided that more trees needed to be planted in areas very exposed to the elements and to talk with the land owner about possible work on the pathway and involve one of our keenest supporters about planting appropriate wild flowers. We had already been advised by the local Wildlife Group that we needed to provide additional habitat to the existing environment such as wild flowers creating seeds and berries to support insects, birds and small mammals throughout the year giving them cover to feed and breed.”

Many thanks should be given to:

  • Ward Bros the owner of the land, who donated all the manpower, materials and equipment to make these improvements for dog walkers, horse riders, joggers and cyclists – to name a few.
  • All the wild flowers were grown from locally sourced seed by local resident Heather Forshaw, who is part of Friends of Ponteland Park and without her commitment and enthusiasm with the planting the event would not have been so successful.
  • The Community Partnership is delighted with the level of commitment and volunteer support today and we are pleased that some of these young people can use this experience to attain credit and qualifications – we are all winners.

The final stage of this project is for the installation of 4 perch benches positioned at the 3 educational pedestals, this will happen later this month and maybe in the autumn we can think about planting bulbs.

Neighbourhood Plan gets local recognition and moves forward

The Ponteland Community Partnership welcomes three former members of the neighbourhood plan steering group onto the committee to work as a discrete subgroup to identify suitable projects for the future. Guy Opperman MP takes time out to support the next steps and projects from the plan and Darras Hall Estates Committee recognise the contribution made by volunteers.

The neighbourhood plan document includes 32 planning policies all prepared from community consultations over a 5 year period, throughout this time residents recommended valuable contributions which in turn shaped the final document. Some items could not be included in the plan as they were not within its scope; however some of these were selected as “future community actions” and were attached in the plan as an appendix to be considered by other organisations. It is this section and other ideas from the supportive text in the plan which this new subgroup will be considering later as projects.

The Community Partnership chairman Alma Dunigan met with Guy Opperman recently to update him on how the “made neighbourhood plan” is to be used by their group in identifying future projects.

Alma Dunigan said “This is an exciting well timed opportunity, the plan gives our group flexibility to view new possibilities for projects; this means that the vision of the plan continues and we can consider what else could enhance the quality of life”

Vision Statement

  • Ponteland will maintain its identity as a sustainable, thriving community, accessible to people of all ages.
  • A gateway to Northumberland, which values its rural setting, rich heritage, natural environment and open spaces.
  • It will remain visually distinct and separate from the Newcastle/Tyneside conurbation, meeting the needs of the local population, without compromising this distinction.
  • The special identities of Darras Hall, the historic core of Ponteland village and the small settlements in the Parish will be maintained and enhanced for future generations, making the Parish of Ponteland a desirable place to live, work and visit.

Guy Opperman MP said, “The Ponteland Neighbourhood Plan is a valuable document. I want to thank the Steering Group and all the local community who have worked so hard on it. I hope the Ponteland Community Partnership will now be working with the local community together to formulate next steps. It was a pleasure to sit down with Alma and go through the neighbourhood plan, and I hope that the next chapter will show that this is a great step forward for Ponteland.”

Last month the Chairman of Darras Hall Estate Committee, Andrew Mate, presented a commemorative plaque at the Annual General Meeting on the 26th March 2018; in gratitude to the former Ponteland Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group represented by:-

Chris Winks, representing the Village.
Councillor Peter Jackson, representing the rural district.
Alma Dunigan, representing Darras Hall.

The Ponteland Neighbourhood Plan contains a planning policy, PNP 4, covering some of the unique features of the Darras Hall Trust Deed which now will be used by Northumberland County Council when considering any planning application within the Estate.

Darras Hall properties need to comply with the Bylaws and all applications need covenant consent by the Darras Hall Estate Committee as well as planning approval from Northumberland County Council.

The community partnership was set up in 2003 to identify the things that really matter to people of all ages who live and work in Ponteland Civil Parish which could and would improve their quality of life.

To achieve these aims we intend to involve the community, businesses, local organisations and the Town Council in creating meaningful realistic projects which would be funded by a variety of sources. The community partnership shares the vision of the Neighbourhood Plan and supports the community aspirations for Ponteland in the future.

To keep up to date with our progress please view the Pont News & Views, which is delivered to you free of charge.

We would welcome your ideas for new projects that would benefit the ‘quality of life in the Civil parish of Ponteland’ if you have any ideas please use our contact page to get in touch or come to our monthly meetings on the third Wednesday of every month, except December, at the Town Council Offices at Meadowfield Court (opposite the Medical Centre), Meadowfield Estate.