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Latest news

Changes to notice periods in England from 1st October 2021

Published: Monday 13 September 2021

The UK Government has confirmed to Propertymark that notice periods will return to their pre-COVID lengths.

Following the pandemic and the introduction of the Coronavirus Act 2020, the UK Government initially increased all notices to six months for most grounds (including Section 21 notices), with exemptions for certain serious cases. 

Since 1 June 2021 until 30 September 2021 notice periods must be at least four months in most circumstances apart from exemptions for the most serious cases. Notice periods for cases where there are less than four months of unpaid rent, reduced to two months’ notice from 1 August.

Moving forward, the UK Government intend to retain the power to implement any similar measures again in the future should the public health situation worsen.  To this end, legislation has been tabled that retains the ability for the UK Government to reapply longer notice periods until 25 March 2022 as a backstop.

Additionally, they will update the landlord, tenant and local authority renting guidance and court guidance ahead of 1 October 2021 to reflect that notice periods will be reverting to their pre-COVID lengths.  Plus, prescribed forms to reflect the return to pre-COVID lengths will be updated. 

Befriending Services

Published: Monday 13 September 2021

The Pioneering Care Centre (PCP) are proud to offer a selection of befriending services to the local community:

  • New Befriending Group
  • Face-to-face Befriending Services
  • Every call counts - Befriending telephone service
  • Volunteering opportunities

Who can access PCP Befriending Services

Open to those aged 18+ who live in County Durham, PCP Befriending Service offer a conversation and companionship to help with social isolation.

For more information on how to access PCP services, contact or call 01325 329934.

Call for autumn funding bids

Published: Friday 10 September 2021
Call for autumn funding bids

A funding programme that specialises in quick turn-arounds for community projects in County Durham has issued a call for applications.

The believe housing community investment fund provides more than £150,000 a year to dozens of community and not-for-profit groups.  Now the multi-award-winning housing association has issued a new call for applications to its small grants pot.

Grants of up to £500 and up to £1,000 can be submitted for projects that help vulnerable people, tackle issues such as hunger or poverty, and improve health or lifestyle.  The grant applications require a minimum of paperwork and decisions are made monthly. Projects submitting a bid now, could still be up and running during Autumn.

The process has also been designed with small, or recently formed groups in mind, which might not have experience of submitting funding bids. Advice on submitting an application is available from a dedicated team at believe housing.

Damian Pearson, Community Investment Performance Team Leader at believe housing, said: “When we launched this funding programme, we identified a real need in the region for smaller grants, with minimal paperwork and quick decisions.

“We’ve been able to help everyone from tap dancers in Dawdon to foodbanks in Stanhope.  But we’re really keen to hear from new groups and projects as we head towards the autumn and winter months.

Haswell Mencap were able to support 50 families facing isolation and loneliness with their ‘booster bus’ project thanks to a £500 grant from believe housing.  The funding provided materials and helped to cover running costs.

Hayley Hood from Haswell Mencap said: “We are grateful for the financial support from believe housing. The pandemic hit us really, really hard.” 

Any community organisation, non-profit making group, charity or school in the areas covered by believe housing is eligible for the scheme.

Applications to the believe housing community grant programme are open now.  A full list of areas covered by the funding and an online application form are available on the believe housing website.

£1m home improvements approach completion

Published: Friday 3 September 2021
£1m home improvements approach completion

Affordable homes in a Bishop Auckland are undergoing a major makeover to improve their energy efficiency and appearance.

A total of 77 homes in the Woodhouse Close and West Auckland areas are being upgraded by County Durham-based believe housing as part of a huge programme to improve existing properties.

The homes in Irvin Avenue, Murphy Crescent, Price Avenue, Ramsey Crescent and Robson Road are all receiving new roofs and loft insulation to bring them up to the latest standards. The work will help to cut energy bills for residents and reduce emissions.  At the same time, structural work has been carried out, including re-rendering to make the homes more attractive as part of a £1m investment by the not-for-profit housing association.

Further work in the Bishop Auckland area has seen improvements to fencing in Archer Avenue, Brooklands, Crawford Close and Douthwaite Road.

All of the work is being carried out as part of believe housing’s £138m home improvement programme.  The project will ensure high-quality affordable housing provision in scores of communities stretching from rural Weardale to the Durham coast.  The refurbishments are being carried out in partnership with specialist contractors EQUANS, the new name for Regeneration & Services specialists ENGIE.

Building Surveyor at believe housing, Daryl Reed, said: “This upgrade is designed to make the homes more efficient and ensure that they can provide a comfortable and affordable place to live for many years to come.

“The transformation is great and I know that our customers are really pleased with the work being done too.”

Alan Maskell, Refurbishment Director at EQUANS, said: “The EQUANS team is delighted to be working closely with believe housing to upgrade homes for the benefit of their customers across County Durham.

“As well as reducing bills by making their homes more energy efficient, the works, where required, have given a facelift to the external façade which, along with the new roofs, gives the programme an impressive aesthetic makeover

“We look forward to continuing our works in communities across the region as part of our long-standing refurbishment contract with believe housing, which has already seen thousands of homes given high-quality modernisation works.”

Karbon Homes - Foundations for Life

Published: Tuesday 24 August 2021

Karbon Homes’ Foundations for Life team provides 121 tailored support to customers and residents across North Durham to move them closer to, and into work. Support includes Employability, Digital, Wellbeing, Money Advice, English & Maths.

We have a dedicated team to provide wraparound support to help you achieve whatever your goals, and whatever your starting point.

We have a support fund to help break down financial barriers in your way, such as travel costs, DBS, uniform etc. We also have a digital device and data loan scheme to ensure you can stay connected whilst on your journey with us; we’ll even give you 121 support to teach you how to use it!

For more information, please click LINKCD Foundations for Life and CLLD Foundations for Life or get in touch now at and follow us on Facebook Karbon Homes – Foundations for Life