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County Councillor Report (Jan 2022)

by Wendy Pattison – Tel. 07779 983072

And also on Facebook: Cllr Wendy Pattison

Photo portrait of Councillor Wendy Pattison

[All text and photos provided by Cllr Wendy Pattison and used with permission. Received: 05 January 2022.]


A very Happy New Year to you all, and as we continue to fight the pandemic, I send you my warmest regards and wishing you much good health throughout the year.

The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

Thu, 2 Jun 2022 – Sun, 5 Jun 2022  

From 14 January 2022 there will be opportunities for Parish Councils to apply to Northumberland County Council for funding to help celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Further details and information will be released shortly.

Jubilee Medal to be presented as a token of the nation’s thanks

To mark The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, a special commemorative medal will be awarded to serving frontline members of the police, fire, emergency services, prison services and the Armed Forces.

Acting as a token of the nation’s thanks, the Platinum Jubilee Medal follows a long history of awarding medals to mark Royal Jubilees, with the first one awarded to mark the 50th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s reign in 1887.

Made of nickel silver and being produced by at Worcestershire Medal Service in Birmingham, the medal will be awarded to:

  • Serving members of the Armed Forces that have completed five full calendar years of service on 6 February 2022.
  • Frontline emergency services personnel that have been in paid service, retained or in a voluntary capacity, dealing with emergencies as part of their conditions of service, and have completed five full calendar years of service on 6 February 2022.
  • Prison services personnel who are publicly employed and are regularly exposed to difficult and sometimes emergency situations that have completed five full calendar years of service on 6 February 2022.
  • Members of the Royal Household with one year of qualifying service.
  • Living individual recipients of the George Cross.
  • Living individual recipients of the Victoria Cross.

Ask your questions on Council Budget proposals

Residents are being invited to ask questions on next year’s draft budget proposals – at a special live Q+A session.  

While maintaining quality frontline services remains a top priority for the council, there is a number of key themes the authority will also be focusing on, including: 

  • Improving the quantity and quality of affordable housing to help create more homes for rent and affordable home ownership. 
  • Encouraging new businesses while supporting existing ones – creating jobs and moving from a legacy of heavy industry into new technology and renewables. 
  • Getting local people into local jobs through the right education and training. 
  • Investing in what people need – such as more EV charging points, new car parks and improved public toilets. 

Savings of £9.7million have also been identified to balance the budget for 2022-23. You can read more details here >> 

Until the 21 of January people can go to and give their views on a wide range of issues.  

And now a special budget question time will run from 5.30pm on 11 January where the leadership of the council will answer questions put to them by the public – as part of the consultation process.  

Residents will be able to watch the broadcast live on our Facebook page at 

Council Leader Glen Sanderson said: “It’s been another year dominated by Covid 19 but looking towards the next financial year there will be a continued focus on economic recovery. 

“There will be an emphasis on delivering a green and sustainable future for the county and our climate change action plan will drive everything we do. 

“As a council that listens, we’d really like to hear the questions people have, whether they want us to spend more or less or certain services, what we’re doing well and where we could improve.  

“This is an opportunity for people to ask about the issues that matter to them, as residents’ views will form a crucial part of our final budget.”

The Council’s budget consultation runs for six weeks until 21 January 2022 and will go before Full Council in February 2022. 

Free course launched to help people with healthy weight and better wellbeing

Residents in the county are being invited to sign up to a new free weight management programme which is being run by Northumberland Health Trainers.

The programme, supported by Northumberland County Council’s Public Health Team and funded by the government, will be available as an online programme in the New Year with weekly sessions and face to face group programmes planned for the Spring. It is open to adults in Northumberland who are interested in losing weight and getting fitter and healthier. 

Anyone interested in achieving a healthy weight can sign up to the programme which is aimed at people with a body mass index (BMI) of over 30kg/m2. A BMI healthy weight calculator is available at:

The unique 12-week course called Momenta has been developed by experts in the fields of nutrition, physical activity and psychology, and is based on the latest scientific evidence. The programme helps participants to start and maintain healthier habits and to introduce realistic lifestyle goals to achieve a healthy weight.  

They will also learn about the key factors that contribute to weight gain and why so many methods of ‘dieting’ fail in the long term. The programme consists of weekly, one-hour sessions delivered virtually or face to face groups. 

Liz Morgan, Director of Public Health in Northumberland County Council, said: “Maintaining a healthy weight is important for overall health and well-being. In addition to lowering the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and high blood pressure, it can also lower the risk of many different cancers.” 

Northumberland County Councillor, Wendy Pattison, cabinet member for adult wellbeing said: “Having a healthy weight brings so many health benefits and this course offers everyone the help and support to achieve this. 

“This free course is a fantastic opportunity to learn about how to adopt healthier habits in order to achieve a healthy weight.” 

The Health Trainer service is part of the Northumberland County Council Public Health service. It works with local partners to create a joint and long-lasting approach to tackling obesity and to support residents to achieve a healthier weight.   Residents can sign up themselves or be referred by their GP or health practitioner to join the course. 

 Anyone interested in taking part in this free programme can email or telephone 01670 623840 to discuss this further with a Health Trainer. 

More People Than Ever Plan to go Alcohol Free this January

Losing weight, more energy, better sleep and a healthier relationship with alcohol. They’re the benefits of Dry January as new research shows nearly 1 in 5 people (18%) who drink alcohol, or 7.9 million people are planning to take a month off alcohol in the New Year.

Balance with Northumberland County Council are encouraging people to download Alcohol Change UK’s free app, Try Dry®, and take part in Dry January® to double their chances of having a successful alcohol-free month. The North East in 2020-21 saw the highest rate of Dry January sign ups of any region.

With the free Try Dry app people can track units, calories and money saved, and set personal goals through the month. Visit

Nearly 9/10 Dry January participants report saving money, 7/10 say they slept better and 6/10 said they lost weight. It can also help people to cut down long-term: research has found 70% taking on Dry January are still drinking less six months later but this only applied to those who used the Try Dry app or coaching emails.

Research shows many people are drinking more heavily due to the additional stresses brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. New research shows that:

  • almost three in 10 drinkers (28%) have found themselves drinking more in 2021, compared to 2020.
  • around one in six drinkers (17%) feel concerned about the amount they have been drinking since the removal of COVID-19 restrictions in the summer.
  • a quarter (25%) would like to reduce the amount they drink in 2022 

Northumberland County Council’s Director of Public Health, Liz Morgan said: “We are happy to support this great campaign, by going dry for one month, people can change their relationship with alcohol. 

“Cutting down on alcohol consumption can reduce your risk of cancer and other health problems such as heart attacks and strokes. 

“Dry January is a great motivator for people to think about the amount of alcohol they’re drinking and help them to make a healthy change. I would encourage everyone to give it a go so they can experience the health benefits first-hand and maybe consider reducing the amount of alcohol they drink in the future.” 

It’s estimated around four in 10 people in the North East – or around 855,000 people – have been drinking above the Chief Medical Officer’s guidance of no more than 14 units a week – enough to significantly raise the risks from alcohol. 

As well as supporting Dry January Balance the North East Alcohol programme will also be launching for the first time a New Year health harms alcohol campaign to warn that alcohol causes cancers of the breast, bowel, mouth and throat. It comes as the region has seen the worst rate of alcohol deaths in the country.

Susan Taylor, Head of Alcohol Policy for Balance, said: “It can be hard to break drinking habits but millions of people will be doing Dry January and hoping to feel the benefits. Taking a month off alcohol can give you more energy, make you feel more positive, sleep better and help you lose weight. People who take part often say they feel invigorated and don’t miss a night drinking.

“Equally important is that taking time off alcohol can help reset your relationship with alcohol and help you cut down your drinking longer term. However stressful things might feel, alcohol is never the answer and never going to make us feel better. Too much alcohol raises the risks of cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke. It is fantastic to see how many people took part last January and we hope thousands of people give it a go again this year.

She added: “As well as supporting Dry January, this year Balance will also be launching an alcohol health harms campaign from December 27. This to counter the worrying numbers of people drinking at risky levels in our region. We know people who are more aware of the risks are more likely to take a break from drinking.  Just like tobacco, alcohol causes cancer and people have a right to know this.”

2022 is a chance for a new start. A month off alcohol can deliver real benefits, such as lower blood pressure, reduce diabetes risk, lower cholesterol, and reduce levels of cancer-related proteins in the blood.

A break from alcohol can also help you lose weight. A standard glass of red or white wine can contain around 160 calories (Alcohol Change) – that’s around four Jaffa cakes (Fitbit). And a pint of 5% lager can have around 220 calories (Alcohol Change) – the same as a Mars Bar and nearly as many as a McDonald’s hamburger (Fitbit).

Dr Richard Piper, Chief Executive of Alcohol Change UK, said: “We know that things are feeling uncertain at the moment and lots of us will be looking for ways to try to cope. As the pandemic continues to take its toll, research consistently shows that, for many people who were already drinking heavily, our drinking habits may have taken a turn for the worse.

“With many of us experiencing heightened levels of stress, it’s hardly surprising that some of us might be drinking more without realising.

“The good news is that being in control of our drinking can improve our overall health and wellbeing. And that’s where Dry January® comes in. It offers the opportunity for a total reset. 31 days to try something new. Sleep better and have more energy, improve your mental health and concentration, look fabulous and get brighter skin, save money and feel an amazing sense of achievement.

“What’s more, over 70% of people who do Dry January® continue to drink less six months later – so it’s an investment in your health and happiness year-round. “Dry January® isn’t about giving something up. It’s about getting something back.”

In November, Balance launched the Alcohol Causes Cancer campaign to highlight that alcohol can cause at least seven types of cancer including breast, bowel, mouth and throat cancer. The North East experiences the country’s highest rates of alcohol-related deaths and hospital admissions in the country.

For anyone dependent on alcohol, stopping drinking can be dangerous. Speak to a GP who will be able to get help for you to reduce your drinking safely, call Drinkline on 0300 123 1110 or speak to a GP who will be able to get help for you to reduce your drinking safely.

To find alcohol treatment services locally visit

Five top tips to help you get through Dry January

  1. Remember why you’re doing Dry January: 2020 and 2021 have been tough years and we all want to go into 2022 feeling better. Whether you’re sick of feeling tired and groggy, want to lose weight, feel more positive, save money or reach your health and fitness goals, write down the reasons that you’re taking part, and these can help you keep going.
  2. Work out your triggers from drinking: Lots of us have ‘triggers’ that make us reach for a glass of wine or a beer. It might be the end of a long day, stress or boredom. If you can work out what your triggers are then you can recognise them and try and avoid them.
  3. Treat yourself: Many of us use alcohol as our go-to way to de stress or treat ourselves. Think of other ways to be kind to yourself, like having a bath, phoning a friend, getting out for a walk or playing a video game.
  4. Get support: Your chance of success improves if you get support. You could do it with a friend or a partner. You can also sign up for free and download the Try Dry app, which has lots of tips for Dry January and helps you track your drinking, calories and units, year-round.
  5. Think about the future you: Dry January is a great way to kick start a healthier relationship with alcohol longer term. Once it’s over, check in with yourself. Cutting down can make you healthier and happier through the year. As well as the many benefits, you’ll realise that you don’t need alcohol to relax, have fun or socialise.

Alcohol – the risks

Here’s how alcohol can affect us:

Immune system: Alcohol use, especially heavy use, weakens the immune system and reduces the ability to cope with infectious diseases such as coronavirus

Cancer: alcohol raises the risks of at least seven types of cancer – of the breast, bowel, mouth, larynx, oesophagus, upper throat and liver. See more at

Heart: Drinking can have a harmful effect on your heart. Alcohol can cause abnormal heart rhythms and damage to your heart muscle.

Stroke: alcohol can increase your risk of stroke, even if you don’t drink very large amounts. And if you’ve had a stroke, alcohol could increase your risk of another stroke. This is because alcohol contributes to a number of medical conditions that are risk factors for stroke, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, being overweight, an irregular heartbeat and liver damage.

Blood pressure: Regularly drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure to unhealthy levels which can lead to other serious health conditions. High blood pressure is the most important risk factor for stroke. More than 1 in 4 adults nationally are living with high blood pressure.

Mental health: Alcohol is sometimes used by people to try and help manage symptoms of anxiety and depression, but excessive drinking is likely to make those symptoms worse. About 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year.

Liver: Drinking too much alcohol over a long period of time means the liver doesn’t get a chance to recover. This can result in serious and permanent damage. Alcohol is the leading cause of liver disease in the UK, which is the biggest killer of 35- to 49-year-olds.

Weight: many people aren’t sure about the number of calories in their drinks but reducing your drinking is an important way to help you lose weight. Being overweight can lead to many serious health conditions and can increase your risk of heart and circulatory diseases such as heart attack, stroke, type 2 diabetes and vascular dementia.

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