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County Councillor Report (Feb 2021)

by Wendy Pattison

wendy.pattison@northumberland.gov.uk – Tel. 07779 983072

And also on Facebook: Cllr Wendy Pattison

County Councillor Wendy Pattison Northumberland

[All text and images provided by Cllr Wendy Pattison and used with permission. Received on 26 January 2021.]

Doing the right thing and staying local

Staying Local

While most people are doing their bit to follow the guidance on staying at home to help protect the NHS and save lives, the county’s countryside and coastal hotspots and villages are still seeing a large influx of visitors, especially at weekends.  Huge electronic signs have now been placed on key roads in Northumberland reminding people of the “Essential Travel Only – Stay Local” message, with more signs in production. 

Council Leader Glen Sanderson said: “We want to thank all of those who are doing their utmost to stick with the guidance and either stay at home or stay very local when they do go out. 

“We know it’s difficult and none of us enjoy these restrictions, but our hospitals are still under immense pressure supporting increasing numbers of patients becoming seriously ill.   

“With the more transmissible variant of the virus now accounting for approximately half of the current cases, it’s vital we all follow the regulations at all times. 

“Currently people are asked to stay at home except for a few exceptional reasons, including for exercise. However the guidance is clear that people should stay local if they do have to go out, and if they go somewhere that is already busy, turn around and go home. 

“We’re doing all we can to reinforce that message, with electronic signs out at key points across the county. We would really ask people to do the right thing. Do they really need to travel any distance to do their exercise or get fresh air?  

“We must all continue to stay at home except for the permitted exemptions and avoid mixing with other households, maintain social distancing, hand hygiene and the use of face coverings and do everything we can now to prevent our NHS services from becoming overwhelmed and vulnerable people in our communities from dying.”

Northumberland Libraries

The Library Service are organising doorstep deliveries to the most vulnerable customers in partnership with the Support Planning team. If you know a resident who might welcome a doorstep delivery of books, please let the library service know.

Unfortunately, the mobile library will not operate its normal schedule, however the library service will be reinstating befriending telephone calls. Alnwick Library is to remain closed. Fines on overdue books are currently suspended.
The digital library continues to be available and members can access hundreds of eBooks, eAudio and magazines.
T Digital Helpline is also still available for anyone who needs help and with getting online or accessing online services. Call 0345 600 6400 and request a call back.

Library website – http://mylibrary.co.uk 

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/northumberlandlibraries/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/NlandLibs

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/nlandlibs/

Northumberland Community Bank

Genuinely for people, not profit

Northumberland Community Bank is very different from a traditional high street bank – the main reason is that they are genuinely for people, not profit.

History

Northumberland Community Bank (NCB) was launched in April 2017 after bringing together 2 existing credit unions: The Credit Union for South East Northumberland and Tynedale Community Bank.

The aim was to benefit more people in Northumberland by creating an organisation which could offer a sustainable source of lending for individuals and micro businesses together with a safe home for savings.

By generating deposits from members, a fund is created allowing Community Bank to lend to local people, including those vulnerable to high interest lenders such as Pay Day and Door Stop lenders and Loan Sharks.

We use technology to ensure we are easy to deal with but still offer a personal service by phone or face-to-face at various locations across the county.

Members own the community bank

As a financial co-operative, we don’t have external shareholders, we are owned by our members and they have a say in how it is run.

Created to help build financial resilience…

The Bank exists to help members by offering financial products and services. We encourage our members to save with us, regularly if possible, because that really helps them be financially prepared when the unexpected happens and provides a fund for the better things in life.  Everyone needs a safe home for their savings, and we hope people choose to have theirs with us.

… and offer affordable credit

As a responsible lender, we provide loans to our members at rates they can afford.  Most people need a helping hand at some point, and many find it difficult to access affordable finance via high street banks or with other lenders.  We don’t charge setting up fees or make early repayment charges and by calculating interest on a daily basis our members are never paying more than they need to. If their circumstances change, we look to help them navigate trickier times by being flexible and understanding.  We are not a ‘computer says no’ organisation!

We offer loans from £300, unlike a lot of high street lenders who only offer much higher amounts or provide a credit card or overdraft as an alternative.

We believe in saving at the same time as borrowing too, even small amounts. It’s amazing what little and often can build into.

We know that what we do has a real positive impact on people’s lives because we see people week in, week out that come to us for help.

What the bank does

  • Savings accounts for individuals, micro businesses, charities and community groups
  • Loans to Individuals and micro businesses (including start-up loans for entrepreneurs)
  • Loans to individuals via employer payroll deduction schemes
  • Provision of bank accounts and debit cards to individuals (coming soon)
  • 3rd party secured loans for targeted disadvantaged groups
  • Signposting financially vulnerable individuals to appropriate support services
  • Provision of basic bank accounts (coming soon) and loans to support Universal Credit roll out
  • Financial Education for young people
  • Junior saver accounts

Why the bank is different

  • We genuinely exist for people, not profit
  • We offer ethical loans, from £300 – £15,000, tailored to individual requirements
  • Loan applications are looked at by a person not a computer
  • Loans are competitively priced with no hidden fees
  • We do not charge setting up or early repayment fees
  • We will be flexible if your personal circumstances or income changes

Member Benefits

  • A safe home for their savings* and potential for an annual dividend
  • Knowledge that their money held with us is helping local people
  • Free savings and loan insurance protection (terms and conditions apply)

*Savings up to £85,000 are automatically protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. By Supporting, you know your community will benefit.

Share your lockdown stories

Share your lockdown stories via this link

Have you been keeping a diary of your time in lockdown, or maybe you have been writing poems about your experiences? 

Then Northumberland County Council’s Discover our Land campaign wants to hear from you.  

The campaign team is looking for submissions from people of all ages and abilities of pieces of art, diary entries, poetry, song lyrics, sculpture, paintings, drawings, collage, knitting or anything else that you used to express yourself during lockdown. 

Some of these pieces will be saved into the Northumberland Archives so that future generations can look back and know what it was like during lockdown. Other pieces will be featured in an exhibition which will go live on the Discover our Land website on March 23, to mark the one year anniversary of the first national lockdown. 

Due to the nature of the storage we are only able to select a limited number of pieces to preserve, but we will do our best to include as many submissions as we can.  

As well as artwork submitted, the exhibition will also include audio and videos from people who have been volunteering or working through the lockdowns.   

To submit your entry go to www.discoverourland.co.uk/lockdown-stories. The following formats are accepted: 

  • Image – jpeg, png, bmp, tiff 
  • Video – mp4, mpg, mkv, avi 
  • Audio – mp3, wav 
  • Documents – Word files or pdfs 

There is no limit on file size but remember it may be difficult to attach and send very large files. If you are sending a large file, please complete the online and form and then separately email your entry to discover@northumberland.gov.uk. The deadline for entries is Monday, February 18

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