Day: March 6, 2018


The UK Government’s Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme allows eligible residents to apply for a voucher code worth up to £350 towards the hardware and installation costs to get connected to a range of alternative technologies including satellite, wireless and 4G through approved suppliers. Residents are required to pay any additional costs such as the monthly service charge.

If you would like to know more about the scheme and about getting connected to alternative technologies such as satellite and 4G, Digital Durham will be offering advice in half hourly slots on Tuesday 13 March 2018 from 12 noon till 6pm in the UTASS Training Room. 

Contact UTASS on 01833 641010 to book a slot. It would be useful if you can provide your full address including postcode along with details of your current internet provision, and an idea of what support you need.

More information on the scheme and application form are available at:

If you’re unable to attend the session or access the information online, you can email or call 03000 261160 leaving a short voicemail, and a member of Digital Durham will contact you about your request.

Too cold to lay bricks, says FMB

A number of construction sites across the UK have ground to a halt due to heavy snow, according to the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).Sarah McMonagle, Director of External Affairs at the FMB, said: “Heavy snow showers have led to many construction sites across the UK grinding to a halt. Some construction bosses have told their staff to take the rest of the week off and not return to work until Monday. But it’s not just the snow that’s playing havoc with construction projects – some firms are reporting that the freezing temperatures mean it’s too cold to lay bricks. The overall impact of bad weather on construction growth remains to be seen but this situation is concerning given that the FMB’s latest research shows that growth among construction SMEs slowed in the final three months of 2017. We hope that the cold weather we have seen this week is just a blip and that all workers will be able to get back on site in coming days.

Wardens offer helping hand in bad weather

Teams of council workers have been out in force keeping County Durham moving during the bad weather.

Neighbourhood wardens from Durham County Council have been in East Stanley where they visited older and vulnerable residents to make sure they were warm and well.

Among them was 81-year-old Betty Phillips who was extremely grateful when the wardens stopped by to drop off some fresh milk.

The council is maintaining contact with care agencies across the county to ensure people who receive care at home continue to do so.

However, members of the public are also being encouraged to call on friends, neighbours and relatives who may need assistance.

Lee Alexander, the authority’s head of adult care, said: “Many people become more socially isolated when there is bad weather but a telephone call from a friend or relative can make a real difference.

“We will, of course, continue to do what we can to support those who are frail or vulnerable but would also encourage members of the public to contact people who they know who may be at risk in order to check that they are alright.

“We would also remind our vulnerable residents of the importance of staying at home and staying warm, particularly this week when we are expecting extremely poor weather conditions.”

Gritters have been out ploughing and salting priority one and two routes throughout the day and will continue to do so this evening and tomorrow morning as the conditions demand.

Although the traffic on main roads is moving, drivers should continue to drive with caution and allow extra time for their journey.

Clean and green teams are also working to keep footpaths clear in town and city centres and around priority areas such as hospitals and medical centres.

Refuse and recycling crews have been collecting in areas where it is safe to do so but have been unable to compete all rounds. Anyone whose bin has not been emptied is asked to leave it out so that crews can try to collect it tomorrow or in the coming days.

While the majority of schools remained open today, parents are advised to check the council’s website and social media channels for updates as the week progresses.

For updates on all council services, visit or check the council’s social media channels at and

‘For the first time, County Durham’s stop smoking service will give away free patches this No Smoking Day – 14th March 2018’

No Smoking Day is an annual health promotion day set up to encourage smokers to make a quit attempt and this year falls on 14th March 2018. For the first time, Smokefreelife County Durham are set to give away free nicotine replacement therapy patches in five locations across the county to help assist those wanting to quit on No Smoking Day 2018.

Stop smoking advisors will be available at venues in Consett, Newton Aycliffe, Bishop Auckland, Chester-le-Street and Seaham between 9.30AM and 4PM on 14th March. Quitters will receive one week’s worth of patches for free after filling out a short assessment with the advisor and will then be referred to their nearest clinic to receive further treatment and ongoing support.

Research shows that accessing a stop smoking service and quitting with an advisor makes you four times more likely to be successful than going it alone. Smokefreelife County Durham offers free support to anyone living or working in County Durham.

According to Fresh, approximately 78,696 adults smoke in County Durham and 138,774 NHS appointments are due to smoking. The smoking prevalence in County Durham is higher than the regional and national average, with Durham’s figures at 19% whilst England’s average is 16.9%. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death.

Annie Pluse, specialist stop smoking advisor, describes the project “This year, Smokefreelife County Durham are trying a more innovative way of engaging the public by offering free patches to help support a quit attempt. We have also used our Social Media platforms; Facebook and Twitter more to promote our plans for No Smoking Day 2018. By meeting people in the community and promoting the benefits of quitting smoking and receiving ongoing face to face support with a specialist advisor, we know that those people are far more likely to quit and stay quit for good.”

Between 2016-17 Smokefreelife County Durham helped 2840 people stop smoking. If you would like to give up your smoking habit for good, why not use this No Smoking Day as your opportunity? For more information on the service visit

Hubert Parry – 100th Anniversary Concert at Durham Cathedral on Saturday 10 March

2018 is the 100th centenary of the death of Hubert Parry, arguably one of Britain’s most iconic and influential composers.  To mark the occasion Durham University and Durham Cathedral are presenting a celebratory concert of his music on Saturday 10 March, 7.30pm at Durham Cathedral.  Participants include Durham University Orchestral Society and Choral Society, Durham Cathedral Choir, Durham County Youth Choir and the Durham Cathedral Consort of Singers.

The composer Hubert Parry is a favourite of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales who on his recent visit to Durham was given a performance of a shortened version of this concert, which was well received and enjoyed by performers and audience alike.







Music to be performed includes some of Parry’s best known works – I Was GladJerusalem, and Blest Pair of Sirens. Alongside this well-known repertoire, the musicians will present Parry’s engaging cantata The Pied Piper of Hamelin, a setting of Robert Browning’s famous poem, first performed in Norwich in 1905 and rarely heard in England since. This and the Idyll from the composer’s Suite Moderne edited by the scholar and Parry biographer, Professor Jeremy Dibble, (Music Department, Durham University) will take pride of place in a concert not to be missed!  Durham Cathedral Choir will sing the Never WeatherBeaten Sail, Number 3 of Parry’s Six Songs of Farewell as well as singing in the massed choir items.  All of the choirs and the audience will sing Jerusalem at the end of the concert.

Professor Jeremy Dibble of Durham University is one of the country’s foremost musicologists. His specialism includes British nineteenth- and twentieth-century music, in particular the music of Parry. This celebratory concert provides a special insight into Parry’s music by Professor Dibble, “This is a unique chance to hear a range of Parry’s choral and orchestral music, some well-known, some hardly known, and in particular a unique chance to hear his delightful setting of Robert Browning’s poem The Pied Piper of Hamelin.  It is a wonderfully colourful score that captures the bitter-sweet nature of the popular legend and is of appeal to audiences of all ages.”

Daniel Cook, Master of the Choristers and Organist of Durham Cathedral says, “It is most fitting we are presenting this concert in partnership with Durham University.  The choral tradition at Durham Cathedral can be traced back to the Cathedral’s formation in the 11thCentury.  Our neighbour, Durham University has a reputation for providing world-class undergraduate and post-graduate music education.  Six of its most talented singers hold choral scholarships to sing in the Cathedral Choir during their time in Durham providing them with professional musician experience at a formative stage in their careers. In addition our organ scholar is also a Durham University student. The evening promises to be a spectacular night of music making culminating in the singing of one of the country’s most loved hymns.”








Tickets for the concert range from £10 to £20 and are available from the Visitor Desk at the West End of Durham Cathedral, by phone 0191 338 7178 or online at