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We’ll fight closure plan, residents vow; Pensioners blame council for uncertainty.

October 31, 2010 Leave a comment

Byline: Neil McKay

RESIDENTS who say they have been “left in limbo”for five years while civic bosses ponder the future of their sheltered housing have vowed to oppose closure plans.

Durham Council says it doesn’t have the funds to upgrade Oversteads House, at Ushaw Moor and Brandon House, Brandon, both on the outskirts of Durham City Durham City.

But the remaining residents of Oversteads House last night hit out at the “inhumane treatment” they say they have been subjected to by the county council and by Durham City Council before local government reorganisation.

Problems began five years ago when the city council halted a pounds 250,000 upgrade of the properties after the money ran out.

Audrey Renahan, 73, who has lived at Oversteads House for 10 years, said: “There were 34 residents here, but the council stopped encouraging people to move in. Now there are only 11 of us. They say nobody wants to move in, but that is because the future of Oversteads House is so uncertain.

“It is inhumane treating elderly people like this, causing so much uncertainty. We have had this hanging over us for five years. The council has even offered us money to move out, but we are happy and secure here.”

Another resident, Kevin Flaherty, 59, said: “The uncertainty means people are reluctant to spend money on new carpets or furniture. We want to know where we stand, whether we will be still here this Christmas or next Christmas.

“We are a happy community here and don’t want to be split up.”

Betty Underwood, 76, said: “We are happy here, most of us are from Ushaw Moor and don’t want any upheaval at this time of our lives.”

A report due to be discussed by Durham County Council’s Cabinet next week will say that falling demand for Oversteads House and Brandon House means 44% of flats are empty.

Some have been unoccupied for up to four years. They will also hear that a total investment of pounds 1.5m for the 45 flats would not even bring all up to standard. Cabinet member for housing, Coun Clive Robson, said: “We cannot escape from the fact that the ‘bed-sit” that we offer today is no longer fit for our customers.

“In addition there are location problems with Oversteads House in particular. It was built on a slope with very poor access to local shops and amenities. Nevertheless we recognise that, despite all these issues, this is a sensitive subject for the people living in these buildings.

“As such we have consulted extensively with residents and their families who also acknowledge the problems.” But residents of Oversteads House say they have made their feelings clear and that they don’t want to move.

They hope a private landlord or housing association could take over the complex and the one at Brandon and provide the investment required.

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Sheltered flats may be closed (From Durham Times)

October 30, 2010 Leave a comment

TWO sheltered housing units comprising 45 flats are at risk of closure.

Durham County Council says fewer people want to live in Oversteads House, in Ushaw Moor, and Brandon House, in Brandon, the properties have poor access and repairing them would be costly.

More than £1.5m would have to be spent to bring all 45 up to standard, a spokeswoman said – more than £33,000 per flat.

The council’s cabinet will be asked to close the two schemes at a County Hall meeting on Tuesday.

Oversteads House, built in 1972, includes 18 bedsits, eight one-bedroom flats, two two-bedroom flats and one three-bedroom flat.

via Sheltered flats may be closed (From Durham Times).

Family appeals for aid to care for ‘little miracle’ (From The Northern Echo)

October 28, 2010 Leave a comment

Ushaw Moor Childcare offers two hours of support per week and, along with Ushaw Moor Pre- School and Friends of Silver Tree Primary School, staff recently raised £1,600 for Sami-Jo by holding a raffle and fancy dress competition.

But the tot needs a feeding machine, suction machine and adapted chairs and pushchairs and her relatives are appealing for financial help.

via Family appeals for aid to care for ‘little miracle’ (From The Northern Echo).

A Valley good effort! Deerness gym quartet wins Great Britain call. – Free Online Library

October 19, 2010 Leave a comment

FOUR-MIDABLE – a quartet of young North East gymnasts are preparing to take on the world.

In a further boost for the Durham City-based club, their coach Glen Wharton will also be travelling with the squad as one of the coaching staff.

Richardson and Davies will contest the girls’ 11-12 year section, while Gilmoure and Knowd will be in the 15-16 years category.

All were chosen after trials in Wakefeld – and Wharton sees their call-ups as further evidence of the highly-successful club’s continued growth and recognition.

via A Valley good effort! Deerness gym quartet wins Great Britain call. – Free Online Library.

County Durham Sport Awards From The Northern Echo

October 16, 2010 Leave a comment

The best junior club was Deerness Valley Gymnastics Club tumbling section, England’s most successful club.

Sporting achievement of the year went to Alex Houston, of Consett, a member of Deerness High Performance Gymnastics Club, who won silver at the European and World championships.

via County Durham Sport Awards From The Northern Echo.

Olympic Star Helps Town Gymnasts

October 14, 2010 Leave a comment

Newton Aycliffe based Jayenell Gymnastics Club have recently celebrated their 10 years anniversary and the celebrations are still continuing with the success from their recent display held on 12th September 2010.Club Owners Jean Stifman and Louise MacDougall were proud to be able to open the doors to over 250 members of the public, by putting on a 10 year Anniversary Celebration, sponsored by Aquabliss Bathrooms, in the form of a display, which included routines from all children, coaches and adults who currently attend Jayenell, as well as performances from special guests Deerness Valley Sports Acrobatics, Grangefield Gymnastics Club and Skyline Cheer and Dance Squad.

via Olympic Star Helps Town Gymnasts.

ChronicleLive – Sport – Grassroots – Gymnastics: Deerness Valley quartet get GB call

October 13, 2010 Leave a comment

Gymnastics: Deerness Valley quartet get GB call

Oct 13 2010 Evening Chronicle

FOUR-MIDABLE – a quartet of young North East gymnasts are preparing to take on the world.Alexandra Richardson, Rachel Davies, Steven Gilmoure and Alex Knowd from the Deerness Valley Gymnastics Club have been selected for the Great Britain squad for next month’s World Trampolining and Tumbling Championships in Metz, France.In a further boost for the Durham City-based club, their coach Glen Wharton will also be travelling with the squad as one of the coaching staff.Richardson and Davies will contest the girls’ 11-12 year section, while Gilmoure and Knowd will be in the 15-16 years category.All were chosen after trials in Wakefeld – and Wharton sees their call-ups as further evidence of the highly-successful club’s continued growth and recognition.

via ChronicleLive – Sport – Grassroots – Gymnastics: Deerness Valley quartet get GB call.