Wednesday, March 27, 2013

£6million scheme to help clean up Saltburn beach

A £6million scheme to help clean up the water at Saltburn beach has been announced today (Wednesday, March 27) after a dramatic drop from the highest to the lowest category in the Good Beach Guide.

Northumbria Water has announced the project after heavy rain last year meant pesticide, storm runoff and dog mess was washed into the water off Saltburn.

Graham Neave, Northumbrian Water’s operations director, said: “We are committed to playing our part to help the bathing water at Saltburn meet the new standards for visitors to enjoy."

Tough new regulations coming into force in 2015 mean that if nothing is done to improve, the beach may have to display a sign stating it has poor water quality which will put visitors off and damage the local economy.

Nick Noble, owner Saltburn Surf Hire and Surf School, said: “It comes as no surprise to us. Of course we’re worried about the signs going up because people tend to react badly to that sort of thing but until there is an improvement in infrastructure there is always going to be a problem."

Beaches' water quality hit by disastrous summer

Last year’s disastrous summer – one of the wettest on record – has led to a significant drop in the quality of bathing water of Britain’s beaches.

The relentless rain and flooding led to an increase in the amount of bacteria and viruses ending up in the country’s bathing waters.

And the North-East, including North Yorkshire, was particularly hard-hit according to the Marine Conservation Society’s annual Good Beach Guide.

Eight of the region’s breaches failed to meet the minimum standard – compared to none last year.

And after being the best performing region in last year’s guide, this year only 31 out of 64 beaches are recommended by MCS for excellent water quality - 22 less than before.

Nationally 42 beaches failed to meet a minimum standard – 17 more than last year – and only 403 of the 754 UK bathing beaches tested as having excellent water quality - 113 fewer than the previous year.

The pollution found can originate from a variety of sources such as agricultural and urban run-off, storm waters, misconnected plumbing, septic tanks and dog faeces.

MCS coastal pollution officer Rachel Wyatt said improved monitoring of combined sewer overflows and action to reduce pollution from farms and populated areas was urgently needed.

She said: “Action must be taken now. With stricter bathing water standards from 2015 and summers that appear to be getting wetter, the iconic image of people bathing off golden beaches could be at serious risk."

Beaches that failed in the North-East and North Yorkshire included: Sandsend, Staithes, Saltburn, Seaton Carew North, Seaham, Seaton Sluice and Spittal.

Saltburn's annual Spring beach clean, scheduled for last Sunday, has had to be postponed due to continued bad weather.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Saltburn Drama Festival

Next week’s Saltburn Drama Festival is the perfect opportunity for new directors to stage their first plays.

And this year, the Saltburn ‘53 Drama Group Youth is presenting A Year And A Day, directed by Stephanie Lightwing, who is a member of the youth group.

At just 17, Stephanie is directing a large group of young actors in this complex and challenging play.

Set in a beautiful garden, it tells the story of two warring tribes and the consequences of their antagonism through the ages.

The play is very visual with a strong emphasis on dance and physical action, and music is a recurring theme. There is also a supernatural element.

“Two people, one from each tribe, fall in love and are killed,” says Stephanie. “The play is about how they come back together to seek revenge.”

The play, by Christina Reid, was written specifically for young actors and first presented as part of the National Theatre’s Connections Festival.

Stephanie says she was attracted to the play when she read the script and found she could visualise the staging.

“And the ’53 Drama Group has the people to do it,” she adds.

Stephanie has been a member of the drama group for several years and has performed in many productions, most recently playing Belle in Beauty And The Beast the pantomime, and Feste in Twelfth Night.

She would like to work in theatre professionally.

“I would like to be an actress and then go into directing when I have more experience,” she says.

The Saltburn Drama Festival runs from Monday, March 18 to Saturday, March 23.

Shows are at 7.30pm Monday to Friday and 7pm on Saturday.

A Year And A Day will take to the stage on the Wednesday.

Tickets are £6, concessions £5 and a weekly ticket is £15.

All tickets are available from Saltburn Health Food Shop, the Theatre Box Office and online at

Friday, March 15, 2013

James Arthur comes home for Comic Relief to support STAMP Revisited.

Ahead of Red Nose Day Saltburn's X Factor winner James Arthur has been back on home ground to lend support to the Comic Relief cause.

After visiting CRISIS earlier in the week in support of homeless single people and helping them run a songwriting workshop James was back on Teesside.
Yesterday he visited a mental health charity in Middlesbrough, which is partly funded by Comic Relief, and he also called in on his old school in Redcar.

James was diagnosed with depression before he was persuaded by friends and family to audition for The X Factor, and he revealed that he still suffers similar symptoms.

As reported in the Sun, James said: "Sometimes I can't sleep, I've got so many creative ideas going round my head. I get the guitar out and start singing at the top of my voice until I feel any anxiety draining away."

"Music is my coping mechanism. Singing something passionately releases that energy."

Speaking about meeting people with similar issues, he said: "In my life I've had some low points, so now it's really important to give something back because I'm really passionate about changing people's perceptions about mental health.

"This project is doing amazing work and the men and women it supports are inspirational."

The group specialises in providing an advocacy service for people affected by mental health issues across Teesside, County Durham & Darlington.

The vice-chairman of STAMP Revisited, Ralph Hagan, said: "You can have all the money in the world but it's not important if you're suffering. James will be a big role model in making more people aware of mental health issues."

James also returned to visit his old school.

He told his Twitter followers that he was "Really looking forward to going back to my old school to see what they are doing for @rednoseday. Lets hope they don’t kick me out this time”

It turns out that he had little to worry about, posting: “Had a great time visiting my old school today and seeing some old faces. Thanks for everyone who was there!”

James finished his stint on The X Factor live tour two weeks ago and for the last week he has been working on his debut album. He revealed he's been hard at work in the studio with Graham Stack who has previously worked with Kylie, Girls Aloud and JLS.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Dementia Cafe opens in Saltburn

As the diagnosis and treatment of dementia continues to dominate the media landscape and government healthcare discussions, Four Seasons Care Centre in Saltburn-by-the Sea has launched a specialist dementia café.

The Herb Garden Dementia Café will be open to residents and the public every Wednesday, enabling people who are living and caring with someone with dementia to share their experiences and offer support to one another under the guidance of a fully qualified member of the Four Seasons team.

Located on Ox Close, the Four Seasons dementia café will also host an interactive musical session, called Musical Minds, which offers vital interaction for those with dementia through music. Sharon Lewis, Head of Activities at Four Seasons, comments: "Most people with dementia feel enriched by the interaction and sense of connection that music can offer, so we were keen to provide our residents and the local community with the opportunity to come together regularly to benefit from music therapy.As we have opened up the café to the public, it also enables residents in our local community to seek advice and support on dementia, from our qualified and experienced staff as well as others who are living with and caring for someone with dementia, providing a full network of support."

Part of the Key Healthcare group, Four Seasons will open its Herb Garden Dementia Café every Wednesday between 1.30pm and 3pm. It is hoped that the café will expand its activities schedule to include pet therapy, reminiscence therapy, arts and crafts, and a small fee will be charged for each session.

For more information on Four Seasons, please call 01287 624516 or visit / Twitter: @KeyHealthcare

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Saltburn Athletic Under 10’s plea to 'Save Our Pitch'

Saltburn's footballing youngsters are facing eviction after the sale of their pitch to make way for new housing.

Saltburn Athletic Football Club’s under-10s are on the lookout for a new home after Redcar and Cleveland Council agreed to sell playing fields at the old Saltburn School, on the corner of Marske Mill Lane, to developers.

Coach Cathal Carey said the decision left players devastated and could lead to the club’s closure. He said: “Our pitch is being sold for housing and we’re being evicted.

We have used this field for more than five years for our under-eights and under-10s teams to play their matches. It’s the only seven-a-side pitch in town.

This decision will have a terrible impact on the club as without a seven-a-side pitch we can’t start new teams. This could mean the end of our club which is run entirely by volunteers for the benefit of children in the town.”

Mr Carey said the club was given three weeks’ notice that the council was selling the field in September. It sought to take ownership of the site via a community asset transfer fund but was unsuccessful.

Mr Carey added: “Then we were notified that the land is to be developed for housing. This is despite the council’s own playing field strategy recommending the field be used as a playing field.”

The playing fields had been part of Saltburn Junior School, which closed three years ago. The sale of school playing fields has been a major national issue, with the Government facing calls to protect playing areas.

Redcar and Cleveland Council confirmed it has accepted a bid but refused to say how much it is for.

Norman Pickthall, Cabinet member for corporate resources, said: “We’ve allowed the club temporary use of the land free while we address drainage issues at pitches rented from Saltburn Learning Campus. This has been extended pending disposal of the site.

Bids to secure the site were discussed at Cabinet in January. Discussions with the proposed purchaser are at an early stage and notice will need to be served on the club in due course.”

The club has started a petition to save the site and it is available at

Saltburn Schools leading the way with solar energy.

Saltburn schools are harnessing the power of the sun after 140 solar panels have been fixed to the sports hall roof.

Saltburn Learning Campus - incorporating Huntcliff School and Saltburn Primary School - has just had the panels installed, making Huntcliff the first secondary school in the area to have so many.

The panels form part of a solar power project in conjunction with Redcar and Cleveland Council’s renewables programme, which has been running since April 2010.

The programme, which aims to be completed this month, has involved a total capital investment of £700,000 in clean green energy technologies.

Other projects have been based at local primary schools, as well as care homes, visitor centres and museums.

Installations have also taken place in new Redcar buildings including The Hub and My Place, as well as the new Civic Heart, still under construction.

The Saltburn campus’s scheme is worth £44,000 and should provide power to the schools for 20 to 30 years, generated by the panels.

Heather Ollerenshaw, the school’s community and marketing co-ordinator, said: “The newly installed panels convert the sun’s energy into direct current electricity that’s then converted to useable power via an inverter unit.

Power feeds directly into the schools and means less electricity has to be imported from the national grid. It’s expected the system will deliver enough power to save the campus more than £2,000 each year and reduce its carbon footprint.

The borough council will recoup the initial investment via the Government’s Feed-in-Tariff scheme.

An energy display will be visible in the main atrium area of the campus so students, staff and visitors can see how much power’s being used at that exact moment. It will also show the total used since installation and the amount of carbon dioxide saved.

The panels will offer financial advantage, and will also be beneficial to students, providing a unique method of educating them on the issue of renewable energy and sustainability.”

Pupil Erin Hannaway, nine, of Saltburn Primary School, said: “It’s a good idea and will teach children about a natural lifestyle and help Saltburn become cleaner.”

Huntcliff student Luke Plumpton, 16, of Saltburn, said: “It will promote the use of clean energy, create more awareness - and save money.”

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Another yarn...

Another addition to Saltburn's yarn bombing appeared yesterday. Perched proudly on her throne, complete with corgis, HRH Elizabeth sits knitting an outfit for William and Kate's baby. This new addition can be seen on the railings outside the Community Theatre.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Return of Saltburn Farmers Markets

Local food fans have a tasty springtime treat to look forward too, with Saltburn Farmers’ Market back after a winter break with its first event of the year on Saturday 9 March.

The brand new season follows hot on the heels of the popular monthly Market’s glowing annual survey results and, according to Market organisers, there’s never been a better time to buy local!

Market organiser Lorna Jackson said: “The first Farmers’ Market of the year is a sure sign that spring is in the air, and we can’t wait to get started again.

It’s a perfect time to come to Saltburn and stay all day. Wander round the Market, the shops, the cafes, the art galleries, the salesrooms, the pier, and maybe even the beach and the woods. That’s what Saltburn’s all about.”

It all began one cold wintry Saturday in 2008. Frozen to the spot and at the mercy of an Arctic blast's icy grip, Lorna Jackson could have been forgiven for regretting her latest venture.

Huddling for warmth while a blizzard angrily swirled past, she had just launched the first Saltburn Farmer's Market amid bone-chilling Easter temperatures.

It may have been a slightly inauspicious start with some customers put off by the cold, but Lorna is made of sterner stuff and shrugged off those dark clouds, worked hard, and six years on has catapulted the farmers' market into a glowing beacon of locally-sourced food in the North-East.

From its humble beginnings, the monthly market, in Saltburn, east Cleveland, now attracts nearly 10,000 people, with mother-of-two Lorna hoping for continued success.

Lorna, who is a partner in her family-run business, Real Meals Deli, in Saltburn, said: “It was so cold back in 2008, we thought we would freeze if we didn’t keep moving, but we thought we had something special, and were determined to make it work.

We could feel in our bones that last year was just getting busier and busier as it went along, and we are confident we helped about 100,000 people come into the town last year.

Such is the market's success, traders now have to sign up to a waiting list before they can show off their produce to customers.

Lorna studied ecology at university before working as a farm manager in White Waltham, near Maidenhead.

But she is a North-East girl and knows all about a seaside town's unique fabric after picking up pocket money in her younger days by helping to run beach donkey rides.

She said the market was catering for consumers' precise needs, but revealed its origins were not so straightforward.

She said: “The organisers of a folk festival approached us and asked if we would mind if there was a market.

We had no problem at all, because, if anything, it was only going to increase awareness of good food.

We were then approached about a month later and asked if we wanted to run the market for them as a one-off.

It was extremely successful and someone who runs a Christmas celebration then approached us to do a market for that.

From that point, the market has grown and grown, and it creates such a nice feeling and liveliness in the town.

People have an appetite for how their food is produced and who is producing it, and those queries are answered instantly by the farmers' market.

It is like a theatre on the High Street, it is an exciting and vibrant place to be and people are swept up by that.”

Lorna said there has been a spiked increase after the horsemeat scandal, with customers more eager than ever to find out about their food.

She said: “The markets could not be more topical at the moment because of people's desire and need to know where their food is coming from but also exactly what it is.

That is part of the reason the markets have grown, and that point is made even more clearer when you see how television chefs like Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall have brought important food issues, such as pig rearing and chicken farming into focus.

The market is great for giving people the information they want and that has been reflected in its success.”

The market returns on Saturday, March 9, and organisers also hope to stage a food festival in August, with Lorna excitedly looking to the future.

She said: “I love the markets and the deli, there is such a good mix of work, but one of the best parts is choosing the products, we taste test our meats, cheeses and salamis, which is fantastic.

But I also enjoy the customer relationship side of the business, engaging with people and talking to them because we have such a great mix of customers.

We wanted to get the appetite for food, rather than squash it, and we have.
Once you get people trying and liking something, they never go back.”

Saltburn Farmers’ Market returns for a brand new season on Saturday 9 March at 9am, just outside Sainsbury’s, near the Railway Station. A popular mix of favourite stalls and special guests sell a mix of fresh seasonal fruit & veg, meat & game, free-range eggs, honey & jams, cakes & fudge, wild mushrooms, fresh herbs & chillies, wine & cheese, plus a range of local art & crafts.