‘Exceptional’ service helping people with Learning disabilities

The quality of community learning disabilities services in Northumberland have been rated as Outstanding by the independent regulator of health and social care services in England.  In a report published this week, the services have been rated as Outstanding.

The report praised the services for their innovative approach and person-centred culture. Inspectors noted that one carer said the service they received was ‘exceptional’ and another told them she did not know where she would be without them.

Ponteland County Councillor Veronica Jones, cabinet member for Adult Wellbeing and Health, said: “The report highlights that people’s individual needs and preferences are central to the planning and delivery of our services and that their needs are listened to and catered for. This is precisely as it should be and we would like to thank staff for their dedication to providing excellent care.”

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Northumberland County Council at Pride



At Pride with Chief Fire Officer, and Rights Team Manager,


At Pride, Newcastle on Saturday promoting Northumberland County Council’s Apprenticeships and our Adoption and Fostering Services as well as NCC as a council whch values equality and diversity.

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Accesibility for all at the Sill


The Sill 2

Visiting the New National Park visitors’ centre

Visited the new National Park visitor centre at Twice Brewed and I’m delighted to find that the whole building is fully accessible for everyone including wheelchair access to the roof.   As well as a fully accesible room in the Youth Hostel , there are “Changing Place” facilities in the main area, one of only two in the whole of Northumberland!  Congratulations to the National Park.

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Mobile speed camera

Speeding motorists in residential areas will need to take care now our local police have a new mobile speed camera. This will be operating in the area at particular “hot spots” and can accurately measure speed.   A short trial last week on Callerton Lane, Ponteland, checked three vehicles, near to the school, at speeds of 38 and 39mph.

Motorists will be stopped and advised of their speed but, if  it is the first time they are stopped, will be only sent a warning letter.

If you have any particular roads you would like the police to monitor, where the speed limit is regularly ignored, please contact them – on 101 and ask for the Ponteland police. Alternatively, you can let me know and I will forward it on.   The camera is designed for detecting those speeding in 30 mile areas.

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Have you registered for high speed broadband yet?

If you live outside of Ponteland- in Stamfordham, Matfen or any of the surrounding villages, you will have received, or will shortly receive, a leaflet asking you to register your need for high speed broadband.  Superfast broadband is defined as speeds of 24mbps or above!  In our area, the speeds range from as little as under 1mbps up to 6 or 7. You can check your own speed at inorthumberland.org.uk.   My own is under half!

We are bidding to a fund to upgrade our speeds. We use the internet for email, shopping,  banking and paying bills, working from home, TV services such as iPlayer, Skype and of course, accessing the Council’s website. Schools set homework on-line and if you live in a rural area, your children may be at a disadvantage through have difficulty accessing the work – I know mine did.

In the future, people will be able to have remote access to health care through broadband and allow them to stay independent in their own homes for longer.  You do not need to have a computer to benefit from superfast broadband. For example, Sky+, Youview and Freesat digi boxes all use broadband. Downloading a film on 2mbps takes about an hour, on 32mbps it is less than three minutes. And increasingly, access to good broadband speed will affect house prices.

If you live in Stamfordham or Hawkwell you will receive details through the Communicator, in Matfen someone may already have called.  In other areas, someone will be in touch but you can register yourself at inorthumberland.org.uk. or contact me for details.

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Have your say – Help Plan the future of Northumberland

The Northumberland Local Development Plan is open for consultation and will influence all planning in Northumberland in the future.   It will affect new housing, new businesses, the protection of the environment and renewable energy, including wind turbines.   You can view the strategy on line at www.northumberland.gov.uk/corestrategy or there are drop in sessions at Morpeth Town Hall on 19 February or at Hexham Auction Mart on 7 March . Both sessions will be open from 10am to 8pm. There will also be a special session on renewable energy 11 March at Choppington Welfare Centre from 10am to 2pm.

Make sure you are happy with the plans for Northumberland and in particular for your area.


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Ready to Switch extended

Northumberland’s campaign to reduce energy billslightbulb-rts

has been extended to 28th January.

You can register for free and with No obligation at


You can register for free and with No obligation at Northumberland has joined eleven other councils to take part in a collective purchasing scheme to help save money on gas and electricity. Ready to switch will allow you to join people in these communities as a single buying unit to negotiate cheaper energy bills.

For further information you can call 0845 600 6400 or email energy@northumberland.gov.uk

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Ponteland Hopper minibus in operation: Have you tried it yet?

Minibus Service

The new Ponteland Hopper minibus service started in November and now has regular users who visit the shops or go for a coffee.   It is ideal for meeting friends, shopping, visiting the doctors or dentists, the library or just to have a coffee and can transport you door to door to destinations within the Ponteland area or to the main service bus stops if you wish to go into Newcastle or Hexham.

The cost is just £2 return and you can book by telephoning 01434 600599.

You do need to book and first time users will need to join Adapt at a cost of £2 per year.  Joining forms are available on the bus.

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Disabled parking confusion

One thing I would have hoped from the new regime of parking Civil enforcement officers was that they would put a stop to drivers who don’t have a blue badge or mobility issues parking in the disabled bays – or across dropped kerbs, preventing access for wheelchair or mobility scooter users.

But apparently not- when asked to help with illegal parking at Broadway, Darras Hall, an officer had to admit that it is not within their remit,

I will be following this up with Police and Council and Highway officers next week to see just what action can actually be taken and will report back.

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Good news for Ponteland- Hopper bus gets funding

I am absolutely thrilled that a funding bid for a Ponteland Hopper bus serving the parts of Ponteland without a bus service has been successful. The bid was led by the County Councillors, the Ponteland Community Partnership, the Medical Centre and the Town Council.  The grant will mean that those who donot live near the bus route will be able to get to the doctor, the supermarket, the village centre and to link with the main service buses to Newcastle and Hexham.  The bus will run on Fridays only to begin with but can increase with demand.  The service will be run by ADAPT and will be a dial a ride service.  Although it  expected that older people who no longer drive may be the main users, the service is ideal for anyone who does not have any other means of transport. Mums with buggies and no car will find it invaluable to get to the shops or the medical centre.

We hope to start the service in early November.

The Northumberland Comunity Transport Initiative who approved the bid have congratulated the group and said it was an excellent example of Partnership working, was well evidenced and well researched.!

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