Latest news

Employment specialist appointed to oversee North Tyne with government Levelling Up funding

Published: Wednesday 22 December 2021

EN:Able Futures, the employment and training delivery arm of regional social housing consortium Efficiency North, has been commissioned to develop projects boosting employment in the region.

The partnership of local providers, Karbon Homes, Your Homes Newcastle, Northumberland County Council, Bernicia, North Tyneside Council, and Changing Lives, has received £717k from the UK Government through the UK Community Renewal Fund.

The fund is a key initiative in the government’s Levelling Up agenda aiming to support people and communities most in need throughout the UK. Read here to find out more

Older people need more support to keep warm

Published: Wednesday 22 December 2021

A poll carried out by charity Age UK has found that a third of over-60s are concerned about affording their energy bills this winter, with a similar proportion expecting to have to reduce the amount of energy they use to stay within their means.  Overall, 45% are worried about staying warm over the winter, leading to the charity calling on the Government to take urgent action.  The charity's new report, Cost of Cold has found that around 1m older households are living in fuel poverty, and it is calling for a doubling of the existing Household Support Fund to £1bn to help heat vulnerable older households.

Source:The Independent UK

Durham communities given £120,000 opportunity

Published: Wednesday 10 November 2021

A new funding programme is giving groups in County Durham the chance to bid for tens of thousands of pounds.

The Community Capital Grant fund has been created to help improve health and wellbeing, job prospects or improve the environment in neighbourhoods across the county.

Charities, schools or community groups working in more than a hundred towns and villages across the area can bid for up to £20,000 for capital projects – for new or improved buildings, outdoor space like play areas, vehicles or even public artworks. Support with revenue costs such as events or activities, purchasing equipment and staff time is also eligible.

A total of £120,000 is available in the first round. An open call for applications is now live.

The funding comes from believe housing, one of the largest housing associations in the north east.  The Seaham-based organisation has invested heavily in community projects across the north east since it was launched, less than three years ago. During the height of the coronavirus pandemic, it provided more than £150,000 to over 30 community groups.

The £10,000-£20,000 range of the new Community Capital Grant fund makes the grant stream the largest ever offered by believe housing.

Damian Pearson, Community Investment Performance Team Leader at believe housing, said: “This funding is the result of our discussions with groups right across the county.  Many told us that they were looking for funding, but were struggling to find the right opportunities for medium-sized projects.

“Our smaller grants funds have been hugely successful and have supported a vast range of grass roots projects. We don’t want to move away from helping groups based firmly in County Durham, but we felt that the time was right to offer the opportunity for larger grants.”

Groups applying for grants need to work in one of the communities served by believe housing, which stretch from the Durham coast to the north Pennines.  Projects must also improve the health and wellbeing of communities, support employability and training, work to increase household income, provide a greener future by protecting the environment or tackle inequalities created by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Applications to the Community Capital Grant fund can be made now.  The current call is open until Sunday, 5 December. believe housing has a dedicated community investment team, who are available to provide support and guidance on applications.  Full details are also available on the believe housing website.

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.