Birthday presents for long-established Hexham Sunday League team, Barrasford

AFTER a summer of uncertainty, a football club has celebrated reaching its half century.

Hexham and District Sunday League members Barrasford were close to calling it a day in the off season due to a lack of players.

But an 11th hour meeting just before the new season got under way persuaded them to keep going, with new players enlisted to see them through another season.

And the decision was rewarded when they received two presents to celebrate their 50th birthday.

As they made the step down to back to Division Two this term, they look the part in new strips donated by sponsor Tarmac, which operates nearby Barrasford Quarry.

And the club also benefited from a donation from the Ray Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund Small Grants Programme, established by Vattenfall wind farm, and managed by the Community Foundation, of new goalposts at its home ground located at Dalla Bank.


By David Coulter  @CourantDavidC

Northumberland primary school pupils take to the shed to build for the future


AS a place designed to support and showcase local businesses, Kirkharle courtyard became a vital community hub for rural communities throughout lockdown.

Pupils at a Northumberland primary school have been able to build for the future – thanks to a special ‘invention shed’.

Pupils at Belsay First School can now tinker, build and invent whatever their imaginations can think of, while learning practical skills they will use in the future.

Giving children the freedom to be creative, to get out of the classroom and try something new, this school hopes to show their pupils different opportunities for their future careers.

Excited Sam Wood, nine, loves making things and is hoping to progress into a career as a builder.
He said: “I can’t wait to go inside and start making things. It will extend our learning and help improve our skills. I am hoping to be a builder when I’m older so I will really enjoy the invention shed.”
Ava Wood, 10, is looking forward to getting out the classroom to the secret hideaway in the school yard.
She said: “It’s really fun and it is a good way to get out of your own head and escape your worries by trying something new.”
The shed is a workshop space and a unique classroom experience for the children equipped with real tools, a workbench and vices.
Powered by solar panels and stocked with recycled materials, the children and staff in the school are working with an artist also known as the ‘Sheducator’, Jyl Friggins, who is facilitating the learning, ethos and set-up of the shed.
The aim is to provide the children with a unique learning environment that will support and extend their STEM skills and create an early interest and passion in these areas that may inspire future career choices.
The idea came from PTA committee, Amy Llewellyn, and PTA chairwoman Sue Etherington, who both experienced House of Objects’ work with their own children.
House of Objects provides practical solutions to make creative learning tangible, and has a centre in North Tyneside with a large workshop space and recycled materials resource. It also runs school workshops and outreach projects.
“We help to teach practical life skills, to encourage recycling and to let children use their imaginations – who knows the invention shed may inspire inventors of the future.
For more information on the Invention Shed project please visit their website.


By Rachael Nichol

New service for Age UK Northumberland after funding boost

A CHARIT Y which supports older people across Northumberland has been given a funding boost.

Age UK Northumberland has received £9,928 donation to deliver a varied programme of tailored support for people diagnosed with long-term conditions such as heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, and lung disease.

The new health and well-being service will be formed as a result of funding from the Ray Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund small grants programme, established by the Vattenfall wind farm near Kirkwhelpington, and managed by the Community Foundation.

Sessions will take place every Tuesday between 11am and midday at Bellingham Town Hall and include exercise, weight management, healthy eating, stress management and breathing techniques.

Anne Robinson, health and wellbeing manager at Age UK Northumberland said: “Our health can play a major part in our overall well-being and by creating a tailor-made programme of support based on individual needs, we know that it is possible to improve the lives of people with long term conditions.”

Paul Jones, Vattenfall’s service leader for the Ray Wind Farm, said: “I’m pleased to see funding from the Ray small grants programme support Age UK Northumberland’s new initiative to help make a real difference to people’s lives.

“I would like to encourage other local organisations to apply for the fund before the deadline of April 30.”

Pete Barrett, senior programme adviser at the Community Foundation added: “We’re delighted to back this new initiative improving health and wellbeing of older people in rural areas and would also like to announce a new round of funding available to community and charitable organisations in the region.”


By Bill Edgar @CourantBill

Ray Wind Farm cash available to North Tyne and Redesdale communities

COMMUNITY projects in the North Tyne and Redesdale are being encouraged to apply for a fund created from energy generated by the Ray Wind Farm, near Kirkwhelpington.

The community cash injection has already seen Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue service invest in a new drone and Kirkwhelpington has already improved its sports field for all-year-round use.

The parishes of Bavington, Birtley, Elsdon, Corsenside, Kirkwhelpington, Otterburn and Wallington can also apply for a share of a £272,000 annual donation from Vattenfall to improve their communities, develop a project to improve life in the area, or help continue a service which already exists.

The donation is part of the Local Initiatives Fund – a cash boost for projects which are not for charitable purposes but nonetheless will deliver community benefit. It is administered by the Ray Wind Farm Fund Community Interest Company which comprises representatives of the parish councils and parishioners.

Peter Ramsden, chairman of the Ray Wind Farm Community Interest Company, said: “We need everyone to be aware that this cash is available and that local communities or individuals should not be afraid to apply. We wish to be flexible and are looking at projects both small and large – we are pleased to advise and encourage.”

NEARLY three years after work began on a North Tyne wind farm, local groups can finally bid for a slice of a massive community fund.

Construction began on Ray Wind Farm, near Kirkwelpington, in 2015, and the clean power plant was opened in July last year.

The developer and owner of the site, Swedish energy group Vattenfall, has always maintained it will be making over £250,000 a year available in the form of a community benefit fund.

Now, the company has announced that local groups will be able to apply for grants of between £500 and £10,000.

Service leader for Ray Wind Farm Paul Jones said: “Vattenfall is harvesting a climate-friendly resource and empowering communities through the Ray Wind Farm fund.

“After listening to local interests, we set up the small grants programme and it’s good that it will be distributed by the Community Foundation.

“We want groups to use it and make a difference to a lot of local people.”

Charitable organisations, voluntary and community groups, and social enterprises operating within 10km of the wind farm will be given priority.

Senior programme advisor at the Community Foundation, Pete Barrett, said: “We hope to be able to fund as many projects as possible.

“This includes maintaining and upgrading village halls, access to facilities, providing vital funds to cover running costs for community groups, supporting projects that add value to public services and much more.”

The Ray Small Grants Programme has control of £100,000 of funding, with Community Foundation Tyne and Wear managing the programme on behalf of Vattenfall.

A further £172,000 will be made available later this year, once a local community interest company has been set up to manage it.

Vattenfall pays out £2.5m per year to community groups across the country.


By Bill Edgar @CourantBill