Invitation to participate in DCMS survey about rural network coverage (mobile)

Invitation to participate in DCMS survey about rural network coverage (mobile)

“ Would you like to contribute to government policy? We, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), are currently researching the impact of mobile coverage in rural areas. This is part of our Shared Rural Network programme which aims to increase mobile network coverage across the UK to 95%. Now, we want to find out how this programme can help you in your daily life.

We particularly want to hear from you if you live or work in rural UK!

You can participate via this link: 

The survey should take around 10 minutes to complete.

Or email to request to complete the survey over the telephone.

Information about the Shared Rural Network can be found here

Tees Valley Rural Action supporting village halls bouncing back.

TVRA wraps a supportive arm around our village hall communities, with support and expert advice.

What a sad and surreal day it was in spring 2020, when hundreds of village halls across the country had to close their doors, literally turning off a life-line for many who relied on the facilities as their safe haven and for social interaction.  Buildings that were a hive of activity providing coffee mornings, library and health and wellbeing activities etc – suddenly became silent.  Volunteer management committees now had to consider their new role, that of managing an empty building, they could not just lock the door, walk away, and wait for the government to tell them what to do.

At the start of lockdown, Tees Valley Rural Action’s (TVRA) staff and Village Hall Advisor were inundated with enquiries as to what was happening and what they should do.  Tees Valley has over 70 village halls who grabbed opportunities to come together virtually with expert partners/agencies such as Martyn Ingram from Norris and Fisher Insurance Brokers Ltd who was able to give guidance on behalf of insurers for village halls.

Throughout the pandemic, TVRA has provided advice, guidance and support to village halls and community buildings across the Tees Valley.  This has included funding advice and encouraging the management committees to apply for the government business support grant, regular interpretation of the guidelines coming out of central government and helping them to understand what they could and couldn’t do.

Fast forward some 15 months and there is an excited buzz in the air!  Why?  Because village halls are planning their re-opening and diligently working to ensure their users and visitors feel confident that they are entering a safe environment.  Returning once again to providing a facility for communities to meet and services that are paramount in small villages and go a long way to reduce loneliness and social isolation.

Rita Lawson CEO, “Throughout the pandemic, TVRA has never been so busy.  The team has been at the end of a phone providing advice and guidance on following the government guidelines.  Also, as TVRA is your regional network member of Action with Communities in Rural England, (ACRE) we have had access to simplified updates which again we have been able to share with our village hall and community building management committees.  One of our village hall members did say that without TVRA’s help and support they were fearful of doing things wrong and putting people and themselves at risk.  We’re coming to, what will hopefully be the end of this current lockdown and applaud everyone involved in our communities for diligently following the 4 step road map.   We do need to be continually mindful not to become complacent and undo all the good that has been done in keeping our communities and each other safe.  As we emerge back into the new normal of life, TVRA will be there every step of the way as ‘together we are stronger’.”

Village halls in England are being encouraged to sign the online record to mark 100 years of rural community action. Has your hall signed the national record yet? There is still time to get involved.

Many of England’s Village Halls date back to the 1920s. There are over 10,000 village and community halls to be found across England. Many were established in the 1920s when there was a national drive to improve social and educational provision in rural areas. In a survey undertaken by ACRE last year, it was found that 60% of village halls provide the only meeting space in the local community. An estimated 50,000 individuals too are reliant on the use of village halls to make a living.

The online record has been set up by national charity, Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE). The Domesday Book is a colourful, and arguably historical record, so far featuring 700+ village halls whose volunteer custodians have taken time to explain their charity’s history, their response to the pandemic, and hopes for reopening and supporting their community in the future.


Notes to editor 

TVRA work to ensure all village halls and community centres are well run by professional management committees working for the betterment of their communities.  TVRA encourage and support hall redevelopment projects, provide grant funding advice, give regular information and advice on running a hall in your local community and provide advice and guidance on all aspects of village hall and community building management.

  • There are 10,000+ village halls in England
  • 1,000 village halls host a community enterprise such as shop, café, post office.

Please feel free to contact Janice McColm at Tees Valley Rural Action on 01642 213852

Help us support you online and make sure you don’t miss any of our conversations by following us on social media. You can follow us on Facebook and on Twitter.

Tees Valley Village Halls

Moneywise Begin Year of Celebrations

Moneywise Begin Year of Celebrations

Moneywise, the largest credit union in the Northeast of England, is celebrating its 30th year in 2021 with new outreach initiatives and events in its network of branches.

Helping the Community Since 1991

Credit unions like Moneywise are financial institutions similar to banks – the difference being that a credit union is a member-owned, not-for-profit organisation aimed at helping the local community rather than seeking to earn a profit for shareholders.

From humble beginnings in 1991, the Moneywise we know now grew from the Newcastle City Council Credit Union. Originally only permanent employees of the City Council were eligible to join, but today Moneywise offer savings accounts, affordable ethical loans and payroll savings schemes to over 11,000 members from as far afield as Northumberland to the Redcar & Cleveland area, and partner with nearly 50 local and regional employers including Newcastle, Stockton, Middlesbrough and Redcar & Cleveland Councils, Thirteen Housing Group and Beyond Housing.

Also operating under trading names of Tees Credit Union in Stockton and South Tees Community Bank in Middlesbrough and Redcar, from the very beginning Moneywise have been keen to be seen as part of the community it works with and has always had a commitment to outreach and improving the financial wellbeing of its community. As an extension of this and as part of its 30th-year celebrations, it is launching a new “financial health” initiative; driven by its community partnership team, each branch will be working with community, faith and voluntary organisations to promote financial education and improve the financial health of the North East. As well as the financial health project, Moneywise are promoting savings through offering incentives and opportunities to win shopping vouchers, including a draw for all new members who join between July and September! For your chance to win, all you need to do to become a member is visit one of our websites at, or

Phil Goad, Chairperson of Moneywise, said: “We’re extremely proud of our beginnings from an employee credit union to being able to expand out to offer valuable credit union services to the Newcastle and Teesside communities and beyond. We can see in the last ten years alone; the growth has been tremendous and there are many more members of our communities to reach yet. We are excited for what the next 30 years will bring”


Covid 19 –—– Safer Community Centres

Helping Community Centres and Village Halls Re-open Safely

Community centres and village halls are places that help to support and sustain public life across the country.  They are hugely valued by their communities for playing a multi-purpose role, serving as a social centre, arts centre, sports centre and in some cases providing education, health, or retail services.

The Covid-19 Safer Spaces guide has been published to assist staff and volunteers to ensure their centres are safe to re-open as the different phases of lockdown come to an end.

Developed by Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) in partnership with architects IF_DO, and Clarion Futures, this free-to-use guide sets out clear stages of how to safely re-open community centres and village halls across the UK.  Visual diagrams illustrate the spatial adaptations required for hiring and other essential services to recommence as safely as possible.


ACRE also produce timely updated information sheets on their website along with example risk assessments and other useful information.  Please keep checking these as theses are updated as and when required

New information to help village halls reopen – ACRE | Action with Communities in Rural England

Tees Esk and Wear Valley NHS Foundation Trust – Mental Health Resilience Funding Opportunity

TEWV- Mental Health Resilience Funding Opportunity

The impact of the COVID pandemic on our mental health and emotional well-being is becoming increasingly evident.  Across the lifespan, we are seeing heightened rates of anxiety and low mood amongst the population.  Many people have been living in fear of contracting the virus; and feelings of anxiety surrounding re-engaging with community life are understandable and very normal.  For those who have been significantly unwell as a result of contracting COVID themselves or have lost a loved one to the virus, we may see specific trauma responses.  Loneliness, social isolation and the lack of freedom and meaningful activity that the lockdowns have caused has posed challenges to our emotional well-being.  Those amongst us who experienced pre-existing mental or physical health difficulties may have found that these have been exacerbated due to the pandemic; with those who have significant vulnerability, multiple disadvantage or living in abusive environments perhaps most at risk.

The pandemic has caused many of us to reflect on our own emotional well-being and what helps us to maintain this.  Services have, as a result of the restrictions, had to become more creative and flexible in how they operate and meet the needs of the local population.  There is a recognition that it is now crucial we learn from these experiences and put into place robust support for people as they navigate their own journey to a place of greater well-being.  ‘Resilience’ funding has become available through Tees Esk and Wear Valley, (TEWV) in order to enhance existing VCSE service provision in the Tees Valley to meet this need.  We would therefore like to invite bids for grants which will have a specific focus on recovery from the pandemic and which are designed to meet the particular needs of the local population; considering any gaps in existing services.

This fund is now open for applications, see below.  It is a simple application process and our Darlington groups can apply for a minimum of £2,000 up to a maximum of £10,000.  (Please note if you are an organisation operating in one of the other local authority areas of the Tees Valley this minimum and maximum level may be different or not exist at all.  Contact details for the other areas are at the end of this brief.)

Applicants must consider the criteria outlined in the attached pdf document, ‘Resilience Funding Tees Valley Overview’. Resilience Funding Tees Valley overview FINAL 10062021

The deadline for receiving applications is by using the application form attached and returning via email to or by post to TVRA’s office address by Wednesday 21st July 2021 at 5pm

Darlington TEWV Application Form

It is anticipated that the decision panel will meet on 26th July 2021 to consider applications received.

Please circulate to your networks If you have any queries please contact our office on (01642) 213852 where you will go straight to voicemail but please leave a message and either myself or Janice McColm will get back to you.

For further information on other areas the contacts are the following:
Stockton Catalyst:
Redcar RCVDA:
Middlesbrough VDA:

East Cleveland Villages Big Local Partnership



East Cleveland Villages Big Local is a Lottery funded, resident led programme to invest over £1m in the communities of East Cleveland. Phase 1 of our programme ran from 2014 to 2020; we are now beginning phase 2 – which is due to run until 2026.

The attached action plan tells you about the history and the future ideas of this exciting community project. In January 2021, we relaunched ECVBL with a resident led plan to invest £211,000 in the local community over the next three years.

Under the rules of the Big Local programme, we require a group of at least 8 people, the majority of whom must be residents of the target area, to oversee and coordinate the delivery of the programme. We have 6 members, and we are looking for at least 2 more.

This is an opportunity to be part of a project that can do really good things for East Cleveland. It is also a great opportunity to meet people, learn more about community action and develop your own skills. There is professional support provided by Tees Valley Rural Action, our support organisation (Follow this link –  Tees Valley Rural Action – Supporting local communities ) and there are many opportunities to learn – both locally and via the national Big Local programme. (Local Trust – Trusting Local People) We are all learning, so you will not be alone in this.

The way in which we are organised is with a steering group of up to 12 people and a wider community forum open to all. There are five themes to our plan and our intention is that each of these will be supported by a task or theme group.

The role of the Partnership steering group members is to:

  • Listen to, connect with and be accountable to, local communities
  • Oversee our Big Local action plan and steer how it is delivered
  • Read communications and attend meetings
  • Make shared decisions when necessary
  • Be champions of the project
  • And if you want – get more involved in particular themes and projects.

Attributes – or ‘person spec’

We are looking for people who:

  1. Support the resident led, inclusive approach of the Big Local programme
  2. Are passionate about the whole East Cleveland area
  3. Are willing to work together for the good of the whole local community
  4. Will be impartial and fair – will not favour particular ideas or projects
  5. Will be available and reliable – able to devote at least a few hours a month to the Big Local
  6. Are willing to learn.

Application Process

To apply to join our partnership, please get in touch, and tell us 1) a bit about yourself and 2) why you would like to be involved.  We do not need much – maximum approximately one side of A4.

If your application is appropriate, we will first invite you to sit in on a few Big Local meetings so you can get a feel for what we do and who we are. Then in due course we will agree with you whether it is for you and if you want to become a member.

For an informal conversation about the Big Local or to send your application, please contact:

Julie Thornton

Business Support Manager

Downloadable Information for applicants ECVBL Application information

Current ECVBL Plan 2021 to 2026

Steering Group Recruitment photo

East Cleveland Mutual Aid Groups Initial Research Findings

As you will be aware that we have been involved in a piece of research with Teesside University looking at the impact of community groups during the pandemic. This has been with our friends and colleagues from East Cleveland Good Neighbours and Saltburn Community Response.
We wanted to provide you with an update as to how it was going and some of our initial findings.
You can get involved in participating in interviews or an upcoming focus group for people who have helped out in April by contacting Claire O’Malley at the University, or take 5 to fill in our questionnaires here:

Census 2021 is in full swing in Tees Valley.

With March 21 literally around the corner, Census 2021 is in full swing in Tees Valley.

The letters, with your unique access codes, have all gone out and responses are already coming in.

“A successful census will help give the best picture of the needs of everyone living in England and Wales,” Iain Bell, deputy national statistician at the Office for National Statistics, said.

“It helps us understand what our society needs now and what it will likely need in the future. We’ve had a fantastic response so far, with so many of you completing the questionnaire on your laptops, phones and computers.

“It takes just 10 minutes per person to take part and if you can’t get online, there are paper forms available for those who need them. Now is the time to make your mark on history.”

Operating in line with the Government’s latest Covid-19 guidance, field officers will be deployed across the country to contact those who have not responded. They will offer help and advice to those who need it. They will also remind people that their census response is required by law.

This census is the most inclusive yet. Everyone can identify as they wish using search as you type online and write-in options on paper if they need it.

The questionnaire includes questions about your sex, age, work, health, education, household size and ethnicity. And, for the first time, there will be a question asking people whether they have served in the armed forces, as well as voluntary questions for those aged 16 and over on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Results will be available within 12 months, although personal records will be locked away for 100 years, kept safe for future generations.

To complete your census, and to find out how you can get help, please visit or call 0800 141 2021.


Multiverse Lab invites you find out what heath and social care issues matter most to our communities

Multiverse Lab: Zoom Social

11am on Thursday 15 April or 5pm on Thursday 6 May. FREE.

Book at

Come along to a fun, informal Zoom session to talk about all things health and wellbeing! This 1-hour session will introduce you to a North East project called Multiverse Lab. Multiverse Lab aims to ask 2,000 local people, “What is the health or social care breakthrough you hope to see in your lifetime?”

Multiverse Lab has been commissioned by health researchers including Newcastle University to find out what heath and social care issues matter most to our communities. They will use the findings to make sure that North East health research better reflects what matters to local people.

This is a chance to make your voice heard!

Book at

To find out more email

Youth Centre Recovery £8 Million Fund by Julia & Hans Rausing Trust

​The Youth Centre Recovery Fund has been established by Julia and Hans Rausing to help charities running youth centres to be able to survive and recover from the impact of Covid-19.

A total of £8 million is available to provide core funding for the costs of running youth centres and delivering youth work. Funding will cover the period from 1 April – 30 September 2021.

The aim is to ensure that youth centres remain viable and are able to re-open or continue to deliver services as the country emerges from Covid-19 restrictions. The pandemic and concomitant actions taken to combat it are likely to have a significant negative impact on young people’s mental health and life chances, especially those from less advantaged backgrounds. As such, it is critical that charities running youth clubs are able to continue to provide support and opportunities to young people.

Who Can Apply

The Fund is open to registered charities who run youth centres in England. They must offer youth services within a locality and operate out of a fixed space or venue. They should be at risk of being unable to re-open and resume services, of cutting provision, or of permanent closure for financial reasons by the end September 2021.


The Youth Centre Recovery Fund from 52 Group on Vimeo. #FundingAlert #funding #youth #HereForYouthCentres