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Welcome to edition 136 of eFocus, the email newsletter of your local Lib Dem Focus Team. In this edition we bring you news about:
  • survey on your views about the way forward after the lockdown;
  • Planting Up Whickham replants Church Green;
  • new garden planned for Sunniside Methodist Church;
  • Dunston phone mast approved;
  • Ring and Read service to be launched;
  • share your lockdown experiences;
  • Whinnies community cafe opens.
Please feel free to forward eFocus to family and friends and others who may find the contents useful.

Your local Lib Dem Focus Team: Marilynn Ord, Peter Craig, Sonya Hawkins, Chris Ord, Peter Maughan, Vicky Anderson, Jonathan Mohammed and Jonathan Wallace
Please give us your views on the way forward
Helping your local community

We would really like to know your opinions on what the next steps of recovery from Coronavirus should look like for our community. We have set up an online survey so you can give your views. To do so please click the here

"It will only take a few minutes and will really help us know what to focus on going forward so please do complete it," said Cllr Peter Maughan.

"Please forward the survey to family and friends so that we can get as big a picture as possible of what people feel are the steps for our community after the lockdown."

Planting Up Whickham plants up Church Green
Planting Up Whickham Church Green  June 20 (5)
Volunteers from Planting Up Whickham have replanted the flowerbeds on Church Green. As a result we are set for a great display this summer. The work was carried out on Sunday 21st June, summer solstice day.

"The volunteers have done a great job in the centre of Whickham," said Cllr Peter Craig. "They raised the money and have created a great display."
Planting Up Whickham Church Green  June 20 (6)
Watch the work being carried out!
Seeing the work in action on Church Green - Cllr Jonathan Wallace made this short video of the Planting Up Whickham volunteers replanting the flowerbeds.
New garden being created at Sunniside Methodist Church
Sunniside Church Garden June 20
There has been a large amount of work carried out on the garden at Sunniside Methodist Church. The hedge and many of the old bushes were causing structural damage to the perimeter wall and drains of the main building and therefore had to be removed.

The church are gradually turning the garden into a community space. There will be wheelchair access to a seating area, raised flower beds (with pollinator friendly planting) and space for a large tree at Christmas which can be lit.

The lockdown has meant planning and work has been slowed down. Also the church have been unable to fund raise.

The church asks people to be patient but they hope to have a great community space for everyone to enjoy next year, assuming sufficient funds can be raised.
Dunston phone mast approved
Plans for a 20 metre high phone mast at Park Terrace in Dunston have been approved by Gateshead Council's planning committee, despite opposition from residents.

Cllr Peter Maughan, who opposed the plans, said, "I am disappointed with this decision. It will be out of character with the street scene and will be at a prominent location in the heart of Dunston."
Ring and Read
Whickham Volunteer Library July 17 3
Libraries in Gateshead may not be open for browsing but you can still borrow books. On Monday 6th July a Ring & Read service is being launched.  

All you need to do is ring one of Gateshead's libraries and say which sort of books you like to read. Officers will choose some books for you and let you know when you can collect them. Officers can choose books for each member of your family too - if you have children the libraries will supply age appropriate titles for them. Unfortunately, requests for specific titles cannot be accepted at this stage.

Whickham Voluntary Library is taking part - you can call on 0191 4336424.


If you are shielding at home you may request a doorstep delivery in exactly the same way. 

You can now return your library books and CDs / DVDs from 6th July. Books will remain on your ticket for up to a week after you return them as they will be quarantined for 72 hours before returning them to the shelves. You will not be charged fines during this time so please don't worry if you check your account and find the books still listed on loan to you.

You can choose to collect your books from any of the library of your choice. Ring the service during opening times to arrange your collection from Monday 6th July. Library books may also be returned from this date and there are no fines to pay. Remember to have your library ticket to hand when you ring!

"Our hope is that this new service will help residents to get access to books, especially children whose education has been disrupted by the lockdown," said Lib Dem campaigner Jonathan Mohammed.

Share your lockdown experiences
Whinnies Community Garden social distancing May 20

Gateshead residents are being asked to share their lockdown experiences to help future generations remember the ongoing crisis. 

Gateshead Archive, based in Gateshead Central Library, has various collections celebrating local and family history and plans are in place to create a new collection which captures how the coronavirus pandemic has affected the borough.

Residents are being asked to share images, videos and any other materials that show daily life during the crisis. As the items will form part of an archived collection please only send images which you have taken yourself and can therefore give permission for us to use. If your picture includes images of other people (especially children), you will need to ensure you have permission from everyone in the picture.  

To contribute to the collection please email libraries@gateshead.gov.uk.

Whinnies Community cafe opens this weekend
Chatter Box Cafe Whinnies Jul 20
The Whinnies Community Garden in Sunniside (behind the Simply Local shop on Gateshead Road) will be opening their new cafe, The Chatter Box, on Saturday 4th July, 12.30pm to 4.30pm. The cafe and community garden will be open throughout the summer, Monday to Saturday.

The children’s play areas will also be reopening with 2 new play houses, BUTTERFLY COTTAGE and LADYBIRD LODGE. All welcome - social distancing still applies.
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