A new social enterprise, currently being set up, is looking for board members.

Ecotherapy takes counselling outdoors in to an environment that is proven to be physically and psychologically beneficial.  Founder, Chip Ponsford is currently running the first Ecotherapy Group for Men Suffering with Depression, which has been funded by various local trusts and foundations via NDAS (Northumberland Domestic Abuse Services).  This six month project offers overwhelmed and socially isolated men a place in which they can safely begin to re-connect with their own experiences, with each other, and with the natural environment.  The project is now half way through and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Download the flyer.

A meeting will be held on a Friday in June for people interested in joining the Board. The meeting will be facilitated by Anne Lawson who works for Northumberland County Council advising on the set-up of social enterprises. It will be an opportunity to hear more about Ecotherapy, and ascertain what skills and experience people can offer in relation to what is needed for the enterprise to proceed to make it robust enough an organisation to apply for significant funding.

Chip said: "My initial plans are to grow this project, which is currently the only one of its kind in the UK, and to train counsellors interested in learning about person-centred Ecotherapy."

There are currently 3 board members:


  • Chip Ponsford (MBACP Accred) is a person-centred counsellor and supervisor with particular interest in and experience of working therapeutically with men outdoors. Whilst living in London, he facilitated a group for men convicted of serious offences at Katherine Price Hughes House in 2012;  worked with male torture survivors at The Refugee Therapy Centre, London; and with people with psychological distress and diagnoses in a number of settings including at Islington MIND, Highbury Counselling Centre, The Maytree Sanctuary for the suicidal. In 2015 he relocated to the North East so he could develop his outdoor work and private practice.


  • Richard Bliss is a freelance artist and arts project manager. He is currently working on The Quest for the Perfect Shirt, an Arts Council England funded project exploring masculinity, one shirt at a time. He is project managing community events associated with Our Petals are Kisses, the major exhibition by Turner Prize winner Lubaina Himid at Baltic (as part of The Great Exhibition of the North). Previous work includes working for Northern Stage (Newcastle) as Director of Communications, and Communications Officer forNorthern Arts/Arts Council England; project manager, performer and workshop leader for Queer Up North, Equal Arts, bait and Cultural Spring. In 2008 Richard founded the Community Interest Company Projects Galore and was Creative Director until 2018, when Richard left the company to pursue his own artistic projects. Richard served on the Board of Ballet Lorent for over 10 years, and was chair of the Board for 5 years. In 2016 Richard re-trained and spent over two years as a Domestic Abuse Practitioner (IDVA) Men and Boys for Northumberland Domestic Abuse Services. It was during this time that he raised funds for my current Ecotherapy project.


  • Andrew Calcott has thirty-three years experience working in mental health for the NHS. Prior to this, he was a clinical lead in Community Mental Health Crisis and Self Harm Services.  He is a Registered Mental Nurse and from 2009 he worked as a Psychological Therapist in Northumberland Primary Care mental health service. He has trained in person-centred counselling, behavioural psychotherapy and (in 2006) an MA in Solution Focused Brief Therapy. He was the chair of the UK Association for Solution Focused Practice. Bringing knowledge of NHS mental health services as well as clinical governance and safe practice, Andrew will be helping us connect with NHS services in the area in order to bring in referrals.


  • Rab Erskine is not a board member, but is a crucial part of this enterprise as a co-facilitator. He is a person-centred counsellor with 32 years' experience of working therapeutically outdoors.  He has run a counselling service in primary care for the last twenty two years. From 1995 to 2005, Rab ran a small company offering short term residential ‘Wilderness Based” therapeutic experiences to individuals and groups referred from social work, education and NHS secondary care referrers. From 2005 to 2016 he was commissioned to run the Going Places project for the Borders NHS Adult Mental Health Psychiatric rehabilitation Service. Rab is a practitioner member of Cosca  (Confederation of Scottish Counselling agencies).


Chip and Rab are planning to publish in the PCEP Journal - wapcepc (https://www.pce-world.org/pcep-journal.html) which will include a robust description of the rational behind this unique project.  They are also members of the Pre-Therapy International Network and will be presenting their work to the network in Ghent, Belgium in October 2018.

They are looking for a minimum of 2 more trustees with an interest in men’s mental health and nature and with skills such as:

  • Finance
  • PR / Marketing
  • Legal/governance
  • Operations - (contact for things not dealt with elsewhere - ‘firefighting’)
  • Policies and procedures
  • Strategic and business planning 
  • Stakeholder engagement - ensure org is fulfilling needs of stakeholders + stays ‘real and effective’


If you are interested in becoming a board member, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

19.5 hours per week school summer holidays
3.5 hours per week term time Saturdays
6.5 hours per week May & October half term holidays
Additional enabling hours are also available on request
Payrate is £7.38 to £7.90 per hour depending on experience
Closing date for applications is 1st July 2018

Wecan is a small local charity based in Hexham, Northumberland supporting children and young people with additional and complex health needs to access leisure activities and events in the community.
With the approach of our annual Summer Scheme, we are currently seeking Support Workers who are available to work during the school summer holiday period to assist the children and young people to access activities and participate in socialisation with peers, support may also include elements of personal care.
Applicants will ideally hold or be working towards an NVQ (or equivalent) in a Childcare related subject.  A current valid DBS certificate is preferable but not essential.
For an Application Pack please contact Mrs Hayley Armstrong on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or telephone 07741 480188.


WECAN new compressed

Based in Amble, Northumberland
£17,772 pro rata (fixed point salary) – 21 hrs (over 3 days)
Fixed term until September 2019
Closing date: 4pm 22nd May 2018
The Bridge Project is looking for an experienced and highly organised Support Officer to provide full administrative support, including evidencing activity and spend against funders requirements.
Applicants must have skills and experience within an administrative role and have excellent communication and inter-personal skills.  They must have good attention to detail, the ability to prioritise work and be able to work to timescales.
VoiCeS Northumberland is the lead Operational partner in the Bridge Partnership which is part of the Building Better Opportunities Programme funded by the European Social Fund and National Lottery, through the Big Lottery Fund until September 2019.  The Bridge Project aims to help those who experience multiple barriers to work in finding a job or be in a better place to look for work. Bridge is a partnership between Northumberland County Council (NCC) and a number of voluntary organisations in Northumberland.
Find out more about the vacancy, the project and how to apply.


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The Bridge Project is funded by the European Social Fund and National Lottery, through the Big Lottery Fund as part of the Building Better Opportunities Programme.

Northumberland Day 2018


Community networks and volunteers across Northumberland are being encouraged to get involved with the second Northumberland Day, taking place this year on May 27, with celebrations and events happening in the weeks around this date.

Northumberland Day proved a huge hit with communities last year, with those that arranged a community event reporting how successful a celebration of Northumberland can be, in terms of bringing people from all age groups and walks of life together and generating the feel-good factor.

In both Beadnell village and Haydon Bridge, community groups that normally never get the opportunity to work on projects together, discovered how powerful a concept Northumberland Day is when it comes to working collaboratively. It also generates a lot of fun and encourages creative thinking, as Northumberland Day can be celebrated in any way an individual, community or group chooses.

Both villages were rewarded for their efforts in decorating their villages in the colours of the Northumberland Flag, and organising a range of community events, when they won very special ‘Northumbie’ Awards. These are handmade, fused-glass awards by local artist, Helen Grierson, which are specially commissioned by the Northumberland Day organisers, to reward initiative and those who go the extra mile to celebrate the county day.

This year, the celebrations are gearing up to be bigger and better and there is still plenty of time for villages, networks, community groups, schools, businesses and individuals to get involved. Events range from village hall afternoon teas and street parties, to rock and music concerts, art and craft exhibitions, disability sport taster sessions, historical re-enactments, walks and rambles, special events at hotels, tourism attractions and public places, food tastings and events and quirky, one-off ideas.

There are also opportunities for businesses that wish to demonstrate that they care about their county to get involved, as sponsors of Northumbie Awards and other elements of the celebrations, for relatively little cost.

A list of ideas of what to do can be found at www.northumberlandday.net and there are regular updates at www.facebook.com/northumberlanday and www.twitter.com/NLandDay

If you do get involved, let organisers know what you are planning, so they can help promote it, by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or calling Jane Hunt on 01253 891114. You never know, you could become a Northumbie winner!



21 hours

£12,334.20 pa (FTE £20,557 pa)

Based across Northumberland

Fixed term funding until August 2019

Closing Date 20th April 2018


Cygnus Support has had a presence in Northumberland for 30 years and we are very aware of the increase in the number of individuals who are struggling to maintain a good enough level of mental health. Cygnus Support is a vibrant charity with a strong reputation as a professional emotional Wellbeing service, offering talking therapies, education and support to individuals across Northumberland.

Cygnus Support is a key provider in the Northumberland Building Better Opportunities Programme – Bridge, funded by Big Lottery and European Social Fund. Bridge is a new employability programme which is about getting people nearer to employment through personalised support and reaching out to some of the most vulnerable people in our communities. Cygnus Support’s role in the Bridge Partnership is to lead on the provision of high quality talking therapy, coaching and training interventions.

We are looking to recruit experienced and dynamic individuals who can engage, inspire and prompt change. Our interventions will focus on building confidence, restoring emotional resilience, and developing effective problem solving strategies that will enhance the future of Bridge beneficiaries.

To request an application pack please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or ring 01670 853977.

Interviews will take place Wednesday 2nd May 2018

Only those candidates selected for interview will be contacted

Any offer of employment will be subject to satisfactory references and Enhance Disclosure and Barring Services (DBS) check.


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Hours: Various

Locations: Various across rural Northumberland

Contract Period: 18 months

Rate of Pay: £100 per day

Closing date for applications: Friday 13th April 2018

Interview date: Wednesday 18th April 2018


Community Action Northumberland’s Rural Employment Hubs Project aims to deliver support to enable unemployed people living in rural isolation to move closer to work. We provide regular drop-in groups offering access to the internet, one to one guidance, group training, holistic support and peer support to address barriers to work. The project has been successfully piloted in 3 locations in West Northumberland and we are now looking to extend the reach across rural Northumberland.

We are therefore seeking to contract with a number of self-employed work coaches. Applicants are required to provide:

  • CV
  • Contact details of two referees who we can contact should you be short-listed for interview
  • A basic DBS check

The Full job description, person spec and background information are available at www.ca-north.org.uk/news/can-looking-for-work-coaches.

Please send applications by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For an informal conversation about the post call Julia on 01670 517178.

Community Foundation


In an ideal world, charities would continue for generations providing vital services and activities to support those most in need and enrich local communities. However, there are occasions where a charity has no choice but to close, a decision which is never taken lightly by its Trustees. In these situations there are often some funds left over which may be able to be distributed to its beneficiaries. If this is not possible an alternative is to pass the funds to the Community Foundation. There are a number of options to consider and the Foundation can advise on the best option with the outgoing trustees to reflect the charity’s legacy: 


  • Vital community funds tackle the region’s most pressing needs now and in the future. We also have dedicated area funds that support groups in each of Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Sunderland.



  • Named ‘field of interest’ funds support a particular place or cause but without the donors being hands on as we select groups that match the donors’ interests. These funds start at £25,000 for endowment or £10,000 for an annual* fund.


  • If the outgoing trustees want to nominate fund advisors to recommend grants from shortlists provided by the Foundation, and there is at least £50,000 to give, then a named ‘panel advised’ endowment fund can be set up or £30,000 for an annual* fund.


(*Annual funds are spent out over a year or an agreed period of time)


To discuss options for making a gift to the Community Foundation contact Lisa Cappleman, Principal Advisor, Giving & Philanthropy on 0191 222 0945 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Location: Blyth Community Enterprise Centre, Blyth, Northumberland

Responsible to: The Operations Manager

Salary: £18,720

Hours: This is a fixed post until 31st September 2019 and is funded by Big Lottery and ESF for the Bridge project. The post is for 30 hours per week (to be worked flexibly to accommodate some weekend and evening requirements). Continuation after this period will be subject to funding

Closing date: 12pm Friday 13th April 2018

Interview date: Wednesday 18th April 2018


The main purpose of this job is to support the CEO and Bridge partnership in planning and delivering IT provision to Bridge beneficiaries, throughout Northumberland in response to needs identified:

  • To liaise with the Bridge Workers to identify needs of beneficiaries, plan programmes of support and address those needs via direct delivery of one to one and/or group support across Northumberland.
  • To advise Bridge workers and partners on best approaches in delivering and rolling out digital support to beneficiaries.
  • To plan all IT related courses ensuring they are in line with the needs of the Bridge Project beneficiaries.
  • To liaise with external community venues to arrange courses to book rooms/ensure availability.
  • To be compliant throughout in relation to ESF, Big Lottery and Northumberland County Council requirements.
  • To create workshops and courses appropriate to needs of Bridge beneficiaries and share information and resources where appropriate.
  • Any other duty which, from time to time, may reasonably be required to meet the needs of BRIC and the funders and is within the remit of this post.
  • To record data accurately and feedback to relevant colleagues in regards to progression of beneficiaries and additional support they may need.
  • To provide reports and statistics as requested by senior management or relevant partners.

For more information and to make an application, visit: https://www.bricblyth.org.uk/vacancies/


BBO logo June 17

  • Berwick Adult Learning Centre, Walkergate, TD15 1DB: 1st Friday of each month, 11am – 1pm

  • Alnwick Adult Learning Centre, Lindisfarne Road, NE66 1AX : 2nd Friday of each month, 11am – 1pm

  • Blyth Adult Learning Centre, Brunel Building, NE24 1LT: 3rd Friday of each month, 11am – 1pm

  • Hexham Adult Learning Centre, The Gatehouse, Wanless Lane, NE46 1BU: 4th Friday of each month, 11am – 1pm


Whether you are a beneficiary, member or supporter, the aim of The Royal British Legion is to make advice and support services easy to access.  Their contact centre (0808 802 8080) is open 8am – 8pm, 7 days a week, there is an online knowledge base (www.rbl.org.uk) and city Pop In centres.  Starting this month in Northumberland the Legion is also trialling local drop-in sessions.  These sessions are open to anyone and everyone who may have an Armed Forces query, whether it be financial, care or employment or just general queries such as local events.

The drop-in sessions will cover 4 key areas (Berwick, Alnwick, Blyth and Hexham), trying to reach as many people as possible.  The sessions will run once a month in each location between 11am – 1pm.  As these sessions are only for a trial period, the Legion would be grateful if local organisations could display one of the posters to promote the service to help get the word out that they are happening.


Download the poster.