Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Big plans, bright future

week Commencing 18 September 2017

Tuesday 19 September 2017

Attended the Safe in Tees Valley’s National Citizen Service Summer Graduation at Hardwick Hall, Sedgefield




Young people preparing themselves for the journey ahead of NSC programme

 It was with great pleasure to be invited to and attend the Safe in Tees Valley’s National Citizen Service Programme Event held at Hardwick Hall, Sedgefield, to endorse a Community Safety Partnership delivery of the National Citizen Service.

NCS bring together people and communities, working in partnership and creating opportunities to promote safer communities, to tackle the cause and effects of community safety related issues. These included the public opinions about drug related issues, car thefts, domestic burglary, fear of crime, alcohol abuse, shop theft, hate crime, anti-social behaviour and many others. With the vision and investment of safe and active communities, and the provision of preventative initiatives, young people at risk can be given the opportunity to move away from crime, and feed into a more comfortable society.

Safe in Tees Valley are a Community Safety Partnership delivering the National Citizen Service – a personal and social development programme for 15–17 year olds, to challenge them, teach them new skills and prepare them for life after school.

In the summer over 150 young people from Stockton took part in the development programme culminating in celebrating this year’s NCS Graduates. During the evening the young people’s NCS journey was showcased with videos, music and awards celebrating their outstanding contribution to their local communities.


Announcing the award winners


NCS work covers Community Safety, Health and well being, citizenship, digital inclusion, education/employability and enterprise, financial inclusion, victim care and advice, business solutions and many others.

We were welcomed by Shanice Pudge, an NCS Graduate who gave an account of her journey through the programme and what she learnt during those summer days and the inspiration that transpired to fulfill the programmes values, with the outcome of being a more confident and sociable person. 


Award winners

We viewed a video, entitled The Beginning of the Adventure, which gave an intro to the event in Albert Park where the young people talked about their experiences and looking forward to the challenges ahead. Presentations of Graduate Certificates were then awarded to the first wave of young people, during which photo opportunities were taken.

This was followed by viewing a second video – Challenging Yourselves – Phase 1 Outward Bound in Grasmere; How to tackle different challenges and concepts of surviving in isolation. Again presentations and photo calls were conducted to wave 2 young people, after the video.

A third video, Phase 2 Community Living, followed by a video showing the Social Action Projects were viewed, then Graduation Certificates presented afterwards.

The Graduation Awards went to the following:

Personnel Achievement Award – Nusim Duraz and William Davis

Above and Beyond – Stephen Chellor

Young Leader Award – Adam Tate

Outstanding Volunteer Omeron

Outstanding Mentor – Kira Pollenti

Outstanding Team Leader – Lauren Stephenson

NCS Enterprise Award – Winning team 6, Barries Angels

Innovative Social Action Award – Winning Team 6, Barries Angels.

Scrapbook Award – Winning Team 18, Ginger Ningers.


I presented Nicola Kennedy the award for the NCS Rising Star.

The Chief Executive for Safe in Tees Valley gave the closing speech to the wonderful young people who took part in the programme and the staff and personnel for their hard work and dedication in putting the programme together. After the live performance by Nathan Duff I thanked the organisers for the invitation to this wonderful event and wished them well for the future and may the funding be more available for this necessary worthwhile cause.


Wednesday 20 September 2017

Chaired the meeting of the Full Council at the Town Hall in High Street, Stockton

Before we got onto the main agenda I thanked Jade Mulhearn Sports Development Officer, for entering a crew in the recent Dragon Boat Festival for 2017 and raising funds for our three nominated charities, Cleveland Alzheimer’s Residential Care, Motor Neurone Disease and Meningitis Now. We thanked them for their invaluable support which was greatly appreciated. The team, the Stockton Slayers actually came second in the final and produced some of the quickest times in their heats, a great achievement.

We held a minutes silence for Fred Salt a former Councillor for the Western Parishes from 2009 to 2011, and Ray Liversidge a former Councillor for St Aides Ward  from 1987 to 1991, and Marsh House Ward from 1995 to 1999, who passed away recently.


Presentation of the APSE Award to the staff of Sports Leisure and culture for the best Service team of the Year


Early September we had the privilege of attending the APSE Service Awards ceremony at the King’s Centre in Oxford. Stockton Borough Council had been shortlisted for 9 awards out of 22 categories for 2017, including Overall Council of the year. There were over 300 submissions to the APSE Service Awards entered by over 100 organisations with 22 submission categories.

Although not a winner in the Overall Council of the year award this time, it was fantastic to be named finalist, an outstanding achievement by everyone who works for the Council, for the skills and dedication that our service teams contributed, to delivering the high standard, quality services and investment in our long term future of the Borough.

The good news is our Authority was crowned winner of the APSE Award for the Best Service Team of the Year – Sports, Leisure and Cultural Service Award which is further recognition of our success as a high performing council.

So from me, congratulations and well done to the team as they should be proud of their excellent achievements, hoping next year to have more success.



Presentation of cheques to RSM Scott Brash - Ist Battalion Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. Major Pat Ralph - The Yorkshire Regiment and Major Chris Lawton - The Rifles Regiment


It was a great pleasure to welcome representatives from the Freedom Regiments: The Rifles, The Yorkshire Regiment and 1st Close Support Battalion REME to the Town Hall. Our region has a proud heritage, which includes supporting veterans, cadets and serving military personnel, and the Council continues that support through its commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant.

Since 2011 the Mayor of our Borough has organised events and activities during Armed Forces Week to honour past and present members of the armed forces, it also gives opportunities for residents of the borough to come and meet with members of the armed forces, civilian support services and cadets.

As part of the Armed Forces Week activities we raise much needed funds for the Freedom Regiments through the ‘Mayors Charity Duck Race’. The total raised from this year’s duck race was £1389, giving a total of £463 to each of the regiments, which I am sure they will put to some good use.

Items on the agenda of the meeting included the Stockton on Tees Local Plan,  Appointments/Amendments to Committees and Panel for 2017/19, and two motions, and the minutes are available to view on the Council Meeting page


Show Racism The Red Card

After Full Council all Councillors gathered together for a photo shoot in support of Show Racism The Red Card.


Thursday 21 September 2017

Attended the High Sheriff of North Yorkshire Charity reception at Help the Heroes at Phoenix House Recovery Centre in Richmond Road, Catterick Garrison.


Introductions to the evenings event and the Invictus Choir


At the request of The High Sheriff of North Yorkshire Simon Wrightson we were invited at the Help for Heroes, Phoenix House Recovery Centre, Richmond Road, Catterick Garrison.

Phoenix House is located in Catterick Garrison on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales, the centre’s specially designed facilities and recovery activities help give our wounded the guidance and support they need for their recovery and learn how to live a fulfilling life after suffering an injury or illness.

Their aim is to deliver a holistic approach to recovery and therefore the activities they facilitate are designed to benefit the mind, body and spirit of each participant. It also empowers individuals to have the confidence to eventually reach out into their own community and engage with local activity groups at whatever level is right for them. Seeing them come through the Centre and accelerate their recovery by using the equipment and facilities on offer is proof that any donated money has been well spent.

During the evening we were able to talk to quite a few of the injured servicemen and women about their experiences and learnt about what the unit had to offer for them. They said the recovery programme was there to support each individual in rebuilding their lives and achieving their long term goals and aspirations. Specialist trained staff are available to oversee everything for each activity and it has helped those taking part to develop new skills and undiscovered talents.


High Sheriff of North Yorkshire – Simon Wrightson preparing his eloquent speech to the VIP’s in support of his charity appeal for Help the Heroes


Help for Heroes provides support – for life – for Service personnel, Veterans and their families. The people they help are on a journey to recover from life-changing injuries or illness, and these journeys are long and complex. Their mission is to inspire, enable and support them to lead active, independent and fulfilling lives.

If you wish to support this charity call 01725 514130 or online to

This was a tremendous evening and very informative of what our heroes have been going through, understanding the help that is needed in direct practical support for those wounded, injured or sick in the service of our country. It is good to know that every penny donated is spent or allocated on facilities and service support for our wounded heroes for life.


In discussion with servicemen and women about their experiences



Civics helping the cause with charity donations.


We thanked Simon for the invitation and wished him and Phoenix House the best for the future in the promotion of their charity.


Friday 22 September 2017

Attended Billingham Choral Society 66 years celebration at St John’s School Hall in Cowpen Lane, Billingham


Musical Director Margaret Pringle - conducting proceedings with the Billingham Chorister

It was with great pleasure, and with thanks for the invitation to, that we attended the fantastic concert provided by the Billingham Choral Society. Their aim is to promote good music, encourage singers and to take their music out to the public.

Billingham Choral Society celebrated their 66 years with this special Concert held at St John’s School Hall in Billingham. Their guests for the evening were Die Lerchen (The Larks) – a Youth Choir from Germany who performed both as a group and together with the Choral Society. This was the first time they had performed in England and I hope they take home some happy memories of their stay in the Stockton area.

There were the formal presentations by Jim Pringle, who introduced participants of Billingham Choral Society, Die Lerchen Youth Choir, and Hauke Scholten who formed the German group.

Billingham Choral performed Irvine Berlin’s America, Cockles and Mussels, The Water of the Tyne, and And We Sing Gloria.

Hauke Scholten played piano solo which was a rich modern classical piece, something similar to Olfar Arnalds (Icelantic) style of music, it was really good.

Billingham then sang Love Changes Everything, I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, Can’t Help Falling in Love With You and O Fortuna.

After the interval Die Lerchen performed Open Up My Heart, The rose, The Wind Beneath My Wings, Hine Cheinei Avadim, Damit Ihr Hoffnung Habt, Herrlich Zu Leben, Viva La Vida and  Irishe Segenswunsche. Jan Wiechmann sang a solo number which was excellent.

The finale – performed by Die Lerchen and Choral Society, together in unison: Singing All Together, May It Be Me, Sei Behutet, As long As I Have Music’


Hauke Scholten – leading Die Lerchen a youth choir from Germany


With both Choirs – Billingham Choral Society and Die Lerchen youth choir from Germany


We congratulated all the singers who contributed to the concert: we were blown away by the experience and their talents. There were special thanks to Die Lerchen choir who travelled all the way from Germany to entertain everyone. I just hope they have enjoyed performing for us as much we have enjoyed listening to them. This was Die Lerchen’s first time performing in the UK and we trust that they get a chance to visit some of the fantastic places of interest in our borough before they leave, making some happy and everlasting memories. We thanked those involved not just in the organisation of the event, but throughout Billingham Choral Society’s 66 years, for their dedication and enthusiasm.

New members are always welcome to participate please contact Margaret Pringle on 01642 363502.


Saturday 23 September 2017

Attended the 192 Anniversary of Stockton to Darlington Railway Celebrations at the Town Hall and Stockton High Street


Stockton & Darlington Railway memorabilia on display.


We were delighted to be involved in the fantastic Town Centre, celebrations of the 192 birthday of the opening of the Stockton and Darlington Railway.

The railway, which was opened in 1825 and was in operation until 1863 running 26 miles from Whitton Park in Co Durham through Shildon and Darlington to Stockton, is where the modern locomotive powered railway was born. It became the industrial epicentre of Stockton and was the first public railway to use steam locomotives.


Model train enthusiasts

With the bicentenary of the birth of the passenger railway approaching in 2025 and celebrations plans underway, Stockton Borough Council have been working with Friends of the Stockton & Darlington Railway to plan this fantastic celebration which we hope both inspire and build public interest in this important part of Stockton’s Heritage. We enjoyed walking around the stalls looking at the huge variety of activities on offer which included the marquee full of railway and heritage exhibitors, talk, workshops, and much more, it gave us the opportunity to enjoy learning more about the heritage of our town.




Yarm Brass Band ensemble


Special thanks go to Friends of the Stockton and Darlington Railway, who organised this wonderful event with the support from the Council. The friends Group are passionate about the railway heritage of the North East and seek to protect and preserve the Stockton and Darlington line in particular. So a high thank you for that.

It was a pleasure to introduce Mr Hibbard, Brass Teacher of Yarm School, and his brass ensemble who played a railway suite of music for us. We thanked them for coming to the event playing some superb music and we hope the audience enjoyed the performance as much as we did.


With Mr Hibbard Brass Teacher of Yarm School and ensemble


Saturday 23 September 2017

Attended the Friends of Stockton and Darlington Railway 192 Birthday Progress Update at the Stockton Baptist Tabernacle, The Square, in Stockton


Niall Hammond delivering an updated progress report for the 2025 celebrations.


It was with great interest to be invited to the Friends of the Stockton & Darlington Railway’s 192nd Anniversary celebrations and annual progress report of the Stockton & Darlington Railway.

Over the last year, significant progress has been made towards finally recognising the international significance of the Stockton & Darlington Railway, preserving and interpreting it in time for the 200 anniversary celebrations in 2025. Stockton marked the 192 anniversary of its opening at Stockton Tabernacle and Durham County Council presented the annual progress report on behalf of the three councils, Stockton, Darlington and Durham. Caroline Hardie and Niall Hammond delivered the reports to the many selective dignitaries and civic guests who have long standing interests.


Typical posters celebrating anniversaries of the Stockton & Darlington Railway.


The Friends of the Stockton & Darlington Railway was formed to bring together all those with an interest in the S&DR and to ensure that the 1825 line receives the recognition and protection it deserves.

To note - The Friends are working with local councils and partners to conserve and protect the original 1825 and branch lines and associated structures. They seek international recognition for the Stockton & Darlington Railway as the birth place of the modern railways. Their members also undertake research and fieldwork to make historic documents more accessible and record surviving remains. They have produced seven self-guided walk booklets along the line which can be downloaded from their website.


Centenary medal of the Stockton & Darlington Railway



CITC Group - Excellent Music by Friends of Stockton & Darlington Railway.


The evening’s reception was highly successful and was well attended. It underlined the importance of the Stockton and Darlington Railway in world history and the work that the Friends are carrying out with Durham County Council, Darlington Borough Council and Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council to preserve and protect the original 1825 line. It also highlighted the contribution it can make to the economic regeneration of South West Durham and the Tees Valley.