This is the June edition of eFocus. We've got news about the Chase Park Fayre on Saturday 7th June, planting up our villages, a project to restore historic assets in the Derwent Valley, and much more. Please feel free to forward to others who may find the contents useful.
The local elections on 22nd May saw Marilynn Ord re-elected in Whickham South and Sunniside and Peter Craig re-elected in Whickham North and Swalwell, both with increased majorities. In Dunston Hill and Whickham East, Labour held on by the skin of their teeth. Their defending Councillor was returned with a majority of only 78 over Lib Dem Kevin McClurey.
"Thank you to everyone who voted for myself, Kevin and Marilynn in the Whickham wards and for Dave Fawcett who was Lib Dem candidate in Lobley Hill and Bensham,â€ said Cllr Peter Craig. â€œThe elections may be over but we will continue to battle for our area.â€
Kevin McClurey said, â€œDunston Hill and Whickham East was a ward which in 2011 Labour won with a majority of 666. This time they only just scraped through. Unfortunately Labour were able to hold on. Had just a small number of those who voted UKIP, Conservative or Green switched to the Lib Dems, Labour would have been defeated."
Though Labour had given up trying to win Whickham South and Sunniside some years ago, they had high hopes of snatching Whickham North from the Lib Dems. The seat was Labourâ€™s top target in the North East and they poured in MPs and councillors in an attempt to win it. But their vote collapsed and the Lib Dem majority rose from 90 to over 300.
Labour had aimed to win 3 of the 4 seats defended by the Lib Dems in Gateshead but ended up making no gains at all.
Chase Park Fayre
The annual Chase Park Fayre is taking place this Saturday, 7th June, from 12pm to 4pm. There will be lots of events, live music and performances, sports competitions for the kids and stalls run by local organisations.
Preparations for the fayre have been underway today, Friday (see photos above and below). Saturday is promising to be a great event. Everyone is welcome to attend.
Despite the awful weather of the past two weeks, great progress has been made by a team of volunteers to plant up Church Green in the heart of Whickham. You may also have noticed that the iconic butterfly beds opposite the Gibside Arms have also been planted.
The designs and the planting were led by Rae Beckwith but an enthusiastic team of residents lent a hand to get the flowers planted. Planting Up Whickham also planted the beds at the Whickham sign on the Whickham Highway (near the Lakes Estate), the St Maryâ€™s Green sign bed and some of the tubs and baskets around Church Chare and the Village Centre as well as Pennyfine Road in Streetgate. The main flower bed at Swalwell was also planted this week.
The Brownies are going to plant the raised beds in front of Andrew Craig Estates and the Dentist next Tuesday and there are plans to put some plants into the bed at the top of Fellside Park entrance and the Whickham sign on Swalwell Bank.
Cllr Peter Craig, chair of Planting Up Whickham, said, â€œA big thank you to everyone involved. Once the flowers are in bloom, the area is going to look great.â€
Surplus plants from this weekâ€™s gardening sessions will be on sale at the Chase Park Fayre on Saturday 7th June.
Gateshead Libraries are currently undergoing a full service review, and as part of this, the Council are undertaking a non-user survey. Theyâ€™re trying to reach as many people as possible who have never used the library, or who have stopped using the service, so that they can find out why and try to encourage more people into libraries in the future.
The Derwent Valley landscape partnership â€˜Land of Oak and Ironâ€™ project has been awarded a grant of Â£155,980 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The partnership project is made up of the charity Groundwork North East, Gateshead, Northumberland and Durham Councils, the Durham Wildlife Trust, Gateshead Voluntary Organisations Council, North of England Civic Trust, the Environment Agency and Natural England.
The Derwent Valley was at the forefront of the industrial revolution but whilst many other areas have capitalised on their history, many feel that the Derwent Valley needs to catch up by highlighting its coal, coke, steel, rail and manufacturing past.
The Lottery grant will now mean the Partnership can start to make this happen. The plans also include protecting natural assets as well as identifying long lost waggonways and the remains of the once extensive coal mining, coke producing and steel making industries would be protected.
Over the next year, the grant will be used to develop plans for the Derwent Valley. If all goes well, the plan will be used to bid for Â£2.4 million of Heritage Lottery funding in 2015.
Beamish set to revisit the 1950s
Hopes of a Â£10 million grant to expand Beamish Museum have been raised following the award of Â£600,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
The award means that the Museum will be able to complete its bid for Â£10 million from the HLF towards the â€œRemaking Beamishâ€ project that aims to recreate everyday life in the 1950s North East and to complete the plans for the 1820s area of the museum. The Â£600,000 grant in effect confirms HLFâ€™s support for the Museumâ€™s development plans.
By 2021, it is expected that Beamish will attract 100,000 more visitors to the region annually. The project will create 95 permanent jobs, and 50 four-year apprenticeships in heritage and modern building methods and museum administration.
A 1950s trolley bus system and restored buses will transport visitors directly to the 1950s area with a new depot offering space to continue our work with passing on skills through heritage engineering.
An upland farm from the North Pennines - Spainsfield - will be moved to the Museum, stone by stone. The 1950s saw a rapid decline of the way of life of the upland miner smallholder. The Spainsfield project will allow Beamish to save the skills, conserve the buildings, and record this lifestyle.
New exhibits in the 1820s area will show how the simple needs of life gave rise to the blacksmith, potter and candle maker. Local records of Joe the Quilter who befriended the homeless will enable Beamish to recreate his 1820s home and illustrate the plight of the pre-industrial homeless.
A reconstructed 1820s Georgian coaching inn will demonstrate an almost forgotten way of life, examining the heritage of droving, horse-keeping, hospitality, postal service and the complex coaching industry itself. This exhibit will allow Beamish to get its nationally significant Georgian collections out on display and create opportunities for overnight stays for visitors in the inn which will also serve as a unique centre of learning for apprentice trainees in the hospitality industry.
Historian and local Councillor, Jonathan Wallace, said, â€œBeamish Museum shows what can be achieved when a heritage centre sets out with a strong vision. The new 1950s town will be a great addition which, for many, will bring back memories of their early years.
This museum covers its own costs and does not require the taxpayer to pay to run it. It is also an important part of our regional economy, attracting large numbers of visitors to the North East, employing hundreds of people and creating dozens of apprenticeships.
â€œAs a member of the joint committee that has managed Beamish, I am proud to have been part of this successful museum.â€
Chase Park anti-social behaviour
Following problems with anti-social behaviour in Chase Park, the police increased their presence in the area. As a result, the number of calls about problem behaviour in the park have dropped. However, please continue to report any problems on the 101 number.
There will be temporary traffic lights on St Omers Road, Dunston on 15th June, 22nd June and 6th July whilst work is carried out on a sewer.