The Queen’s Green Canopy

To mark the platinum jubilee of Her Majesty The Queen, Carham Parish Council has planted ten native trees at West Learmouth. The ten trees are the parish’s contribution to The Queen’s Green Canopy – a UK-wide tree-planting initiative created to commemorate the jubilee. The trees were donated by Northumberland County Council as part of its free tree give-away scheme, and were planted by two volunteers. A generous anonymous donation paid for more than half of the cost of stakes and deer guards, while the parish council covered the rest of the cost. A further 12 trees, also donated, were planted close by, bringing the total number of trees planted to 22. Land for the trees, which are where the public footpath meets the byway at the old West Learmouth railway sidings, was generously allocated by Mrs Moore of West Learmouth Farm. A commemorative plaque will be put in place in due course.

Storm Arwen Review

Northumberland County Council is carrying out a review of the impact of Storm Arwen and the response to it. It wants to hear from individuals and local businesses about their experience of the storm and the multi-agency response to it, including that of the County Council itself. As well as examining the disruption caused by the storm and the response to that disruption, the review will make recommendations to ensure that everyone is better prepared for similar events in the future. Please send your written submission to Sean Nicholson at Northumberland County Council, County Hall, Morpeth NE61 2EF.

Northumberland Libraries’ Digital Help Line

Northumberland Libraries’ staff can provide basic help with IT queries, free of charge. Help might include, but is not limited to, getting online (connecting to existing WiFi at home), using the internet, setting up a free email account, accessing free digital books to read or listen to, supporting access to all digital NHS services, setting up Zoom, Skype and other video chats, online shopping, and troubleshooting other basic problems. All help is free of charge, private, and given by library staff. Call 0345 600 6400 (Monday to Thursday 08.30 to 17.00 and Friday 08.30 to 16.30) to arrange a call-back appointment. You will be called back by a staff member on either a Tuesday or a Thursday between 10.00 and 19.00. While some IT problems may be too tricky to fix over the phone, you are invited to get in touch if you are struggling, and staff will try to help. If you know someone in the parish who might find this kind of help useful, please let them know about this service.

Free Energy Efficiency Improvements

Northumberland County Council is offering free energy efficiency improvements, such as wall insulation, solar panels and air source heat pumps, to help homeowners cut energy bills and improve the warmth of their homes. To be eligible, you must own your own home and have a household income of less than £30,000, or someone living in your home receiving benefits, and your home must hold an EPC rating of D, E, F or G. The improvements scheme – the Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery scheme – is funded by the government and delivered by E.ON in partnership with Northumberland County Council. To apply, visit E.ON’s Green Homes Grant page or call 0333 202 4820 Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5 pm. You do not need to be an E.ON customer to benefit from this scheme.

Free Trees

Northumberland County Council is giving all residents the opportunity to obtain a free tree to plant on their property. Two tree species are available for small, medium and large sized gardens, as well as shrubs suitable for planters for those with limited garden space, balconies or rented properties. The trees are small cell-grown plants, sourced from the UK, and will be provided with a biodegradable tree shelter guard, a cane, and planting and care instructions. To order a tree and book a date to collect it, go to https://nland.uk/freetrees. For enquiries, contact Northumberland County Council’s Climate Change team.

Local Elections Jobs

Northumberland County Council’s Elections Office is recruiting for the elections that take place on 6 May. Available roles, which are paid, include polling station staff and safety marshalls across Northumberland, including in the north of the county. There are also roles for postal vote opening staff and verification and count staff at Blyth.

Job descriptions for most of these roles are on the Northumberland County Council Elections page – click on 2021 Police and Crime Commissioner, County and Parish elections and go to General information to find them. To request further information about the safety marshall role, please email the Elections Office. To apply for a post, or posts, complete the online application form which is underneath the job descriptions.

The Elections Office advises that Public Health for England guidance on Covid-19 will be adhered to at this election and you may be required to use appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) which will be provided where it is deemed necessary.

Waste Not, Want Not

Northumberland County Council’s garden waste kerbside collection service for 2021 will resume in March. For a single annual payment of £43, the service offers the opportunity to receive 20 garden waste collections over the main growing season, running from early March through to late November. For details, visit Northumberland’s garden waste page. The green waste that is collected is composted and the compost is available to buy. If you want to make your own compost, Northumberland County Council offers a range of bins with getcomposting.com. As well as standard compost bins for garden waste, the range includes wormeries and Hot Bins which you can use to make compost out of waste food.

Library Services Public Consultation

Northumberland County Council is seeking views on the library service. It says: “We would like to understand how you use the library service at the moment, what services are important to you and how we can improve these services in future. You do not need to be a regular user of library services in order to complete [the] survey – we are interested to hear your views whether you use the library services regularly, just occasionally or even if you have never used a local library service. Your feedback will help us shape both the future direction of our library services and how we will deliver them.”

For more information and to complete the survey, go to the Library Services Public Consultation page on the Northumberland County Council library site.

Snow Wardens

Northumberland County Council is introducing a Snow Warden scheme to allow an individual or a group of community volunteers to sign up to help clear snow and ice from public footpaths in their local areas.

A statement on its website says: “By carrying out voluntary snow warden duties you will be helping to keep your community safer during severe winter conditions. In return we will provide you with a snow warden kit which comprises a snow shovel, bag of salt/grit, a thermal hat with a head torch, a pair of thermal gloves and a hi-vis vest.”

For more information and to download an application form, visit the Winter Services page on the Northumberland County Council website, and scroll down to Snow Wardens.