COVID-19 response, an update from Stanley Town Council

In the face of adversity, hope can be restored by the acts of others.

At Stanley Town Council our hopes and spirits have been lifted by the amazing response to the COVID-19 crisis across our communities, particularly from those organisations that deliver such important services to the people of our area.

We also hope the swift response of the Council, and the immediate delivery of our emergency support package, will inspire people and assure them that we are doing all we can to help during these unprecedented times.

To update you on progress, the emergency fund we created has already issued aid to the tune of £63,000 to help communities through the coronavirus crisis.

Having approved the package, we moved quickly to ensure funding was delivered to 22 organisations and community buildings in less than two weeks.

We understand how important this emergency funding is for some of our most essential community organisations, to enable them to keep their doors open and provide help and support when it is needed most.

The feedback we have had from these groups has been incredible, with many reporting that it has enabled them to keep running limited services for vulnerable people.

The 22 organisations receiving emergency support grants, ranging from £500 to £3,000 (PACT House and SHAID received more for services supplied to the area during the crisis):

  • Pact House
  • Just for women
  • The Venue
  • Annfield Plain Community Centre
  • Annfield Plain Cricket Club
  • Beamish and East Stanley Cricket Club
  • Beamish Community Football Centre
  • Craghead Village Hall
  • Shield Row Gardens Community Room
  • The Haven – South Moor
  • The Activity Den
  • Stanley Indoor Bowls Club
  • St Stephens Centre
  • Oxhill Youth Club
  • Stanley Young Peoples Club
  • Tantobie Community Centre
  • Tanfield Lea and District Community Centre
  • Quaking Houses Village Hall
  • St Margaret’s Church Hall
  • While le Head Church Hall
  • South Moor Methodist


We allocated money immediately to the Just for Women Centre. Sadly, we are aware of the raised risk of domestic abuse during a period of lockdown. We wanted to help with the added workload facing the centre, long before the Government implemented its measures.

I can’t put into words how proud I have been of Stanley Town Council employees, who were quick to join the effort delivering emergency aid and providing help across the area.

I’d like to thank everyone at the Council who have worked so hard to create the emergency package and make sure it was distributed so quickly. All Council staff not directly involved with frontline COVID response, are working from home, following government guidelines. As much as possible, they ensure the continued running of the Council.

We have also made the Civic Hall a hub for COVID-19 response. It now houses the Venue’s foodbank, which had to close due to the age of its volunteers, categorised as “vulnerable”. The Civic is being used for deliveries of supplies and preparation of foodbank parcels. This is overseen by the brilliant PACT House team, which is also overseeing all distribution and monitoring calls to the emergency line and social media contact.

PACT House mobilised its army of volunteers to support communities. Partnering with Annfield Plain Community Centre, its crisis support plan has seen it distribute food, toiletries and ready-made meals from both sites. PACT has also opened a satellite foodbank at Craghead Village Hall.

By April 15, almost 550 people had accessed this support.

It is our duty and honour to take care of the people in our communities, to make sure they have food, medication and the help and support required. We assess the situation daily, with regular conference calls to discuss areas of need and agree immediate priorities.

Sadly, we all know only too well the impact this pandemic is having on our care homes, but I’d like to thank Cllr Carol Hampson, who has been in touch with every care home in the area to offer our support, thanks and prayers.

Stanley Town Council is working with a number of advice services, Durham County Council and a host of organisations in the voluntary sector to support our community.

The impact of COVID-19 has been horrific, but we will get through this. If it takes a month, three months or a year, we will emerge from this crisis a stronger, more resilient and more caring society.

Finally, I would like to reiterate our thanks – thank you to all partners, volunteers and community groups who are working so hard. Thank you to all care staff and key workers across the town. And thank you to our residents for isolating where they needed to, and respecting the rules on social distancing.

Our message, as it has been throughout this crisis, is stay home, stay safe and if you need help, we’re here for you.”

Key contact details:


PACT House is operating Fresh Foodbank / Crisis Support Packs:

  • Monday to Friday 10.00am to 4.00pm and Saturday 11.30am to 1.30pm Fresh food from Fareshare and Daily Donations, Food Parcels / Crisis Packs
  • Monday, Wednesday and Friday 10.00am to 12.00noon PACT Volunteers operate the Durham Christian Partnership Foodbank for people with referral vouchers.

Other services:

Crisis Food/Toiletry Packs, Frozen Meal Delivery, Shopping and delivery, collecting prescriptions, posting mail / carry out errands.

Receive a friendly phone call, signpost and referral to agencies as required via AICD Hubs.

A message from The Leader on COVID-19

A message from Stanley Town Council Leader, Les Timbey:

These are unprecedented times.

As the situation with Coronavirus unfolds across the world, we face a crisis of unparalleled proportions and one that we all hope we will never have to overcome again as a global community.

And while we keep a concerned eye on the worldwide situation, it is beholden on us to look more local in our response.

Stanley is a town that has had to prove its resilience time and time again. Our communities are adept at coming together to support each other. Offering kindness, care and working together to pull us through. It is these values, that we live by, that will help us in this uncertain time, emerging stronger and closer-knit than we’ve ever been.

Stanley Town Council must now show leadership and offer a calm, measured and assured response. We have to ensure our response is swift, decisive and helps those that we serve – our residents – as best as we possibly can during what is a fast-changing situation.

We need to innovate and find new ways of delivering support to people and organisations who need it most in and around Stanley. And I hope that tonight, we will come together as a council and agree clear priorities and an immediate course of action.

Today we approved a £63,000 emergency support package to ensure our community facilities can keep their doors open and continue to to deliver the vital services they help provide.

In total, 23 buildings and organisations will be assisted with this fund, helping people across Stanley and the surrounding areas.

The Stanley Town Council workforce has also agreed to help the voluntary groups effected by COVID 19. I’m immensely proud and grateful that our employees are volunteering to assist these groups. To them, I say thank you on behalf of myself and the Town Council. We will not forget your dedication.


The health and wellbeing of our residents is paramount.

We must support our friends at PACT House to deliver food, support and resources to our most vulnerable residents and also those who have been hit with a drop-off in work due to quarantine procedures. We must prioritise funding for our community buildings, so they can stay open and help the people who rely on them. We must use our own human resources and utilise our workforce to help those who can’t help themselves.

We are a caring Council and it is incumbent upon us to act immediately.

We will protect our most vulnerable and at-risk families. We will support them through this worrying time.

We will disseminate Government and health professionals’ advice – wash your hands, cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze and please, follow guidance on self-isolation.


We will work with partners to deliver the best care we can in Stanley.

Our town has a small army of amazing volunteers and groups that have already mobilised. As I said, we must support them as a council. Our partners do fantastic work year-round, but during times like this, their dedication and endeavour really does shine through and we owe them a huge debt of gratitude for all they are doing.

As such, we will be re-purposing enhanced, emergency support for them.


For many businesses, this is a worrying and uncertain time too.

The Government has promised support for companies that may be under strain as a result of this pandemic. We must press them to act, and lend our voice to that of Durham County Council calling for support to be delivered as quickly and effectively as possible.


Frontline services are showing incredible resilience and pulling together to ensure that things continue to run as smoothly as possible during this time.

We must look at new ways of dispersing our team to ensure that they deliver help it’s needed most.

Crises like this highlight the real heroes in our community – health and hospital staff, care workers, shop workers, who carry on delivering warm, empathetic support when I am sure their instinct is to stay close to their family. On behalf of Stanley Town Council, I extend our thanks to everyone pulling together to support our residents.

Everyone is worried. Be assured that will do everything we possibly can to keep our residents safe, to keep them informed, and to minimise disruption to services.

I also call on this Government to help sole traders and the self employed as a priority, and increase statutory sick pay to an acceptable level.

We face a challenge like never before. But we’ll get through this by working together, supporting each other and stepping up to all challenges that lie ahead – as a council we will do everything we possibly can to ensure Stanley and our communities come through this in the strongest possible position.

Stay inside, stay safe, stay well and look after each other.

Council launches local response as COVID-crisis deepens

An emergency meeting of Stanley Town Council last night green-lit a £63,000 coronavirus response programme to help communities through the crisis.

Councillors approved the package at a meeting specially-convened to agree what support was required and where it was most urgently needed.

The emergency measures will ensure that 23 organisations and community buildings, such as PACT House, Single Homeless Action Initiative in Durham (SHAID) and Just for Women, to name but a few, can not only keep their services running, but also enhance some areas of provision to support COVID 19 response efforts.

The measures put forward by Council Leader, Les Timbey, also include re-prioritising Stanley Town Council’s employees to deliver emergency aid and provide help at some of the facilities supported by the emergency response package.

Cllr Timbey said: “We find ourselves in unprecedented times and, as such, we must take unprecedented action.

“The measures outlined will come into force immediately and provide direct support to the people of Stanley. It is our duty to take care of the people in our communities, to make sure they have food, medication and the help and support required.

“In Stanley, we’re fortunate to have a range of organisations that deliver key services to some of the most vulnerable people in our society and by looking after them with this financial and physical support, we’re helping them look after others.

“COVID 19 has brought the world to a standstill, but one thing remains certain – we will get through this. It might take a month, three months or a year, but we will emerge from this crisis a stronger, smarter and more caring society.”

In total, 23 organisations are in-line for support grants, ranging from £500 to £3,000. The comprehensive list of buildings receiving the funds covers the entire Stanley Town Council area.

Among the organisations receiving support via the £64,000 response fund, are:

  • PACT House
  • Just for Women
  • The Venue
  • Annfield Plain and Catchgate Partnership
  • Annfield Plain Community Centre
  • Shield Row Community Hut
  • Tantobie Community Centre
  • Quaking Houses Village Hall


Cllr Carl Marshall said the funds are aimed at bolstering front line resilience as the fight against the coronavirus continues.

He said: “What we have done is agree to target our key community anchors and venues with support that enables them to keep the lights on while their services are required. As Les said, we help them, they help others and that is how we will get through this pandemic, by helping each other out.

“I am immensely proud of the way our local people and organisations have already mobilised to help our town and surrounding areas, but more must be done and we must not tire in our efforts to make sure every single member of our communities receives the help and contact they need.

“Stanley Town Council employees will be delivering food and prescriptions, helping co-ordinate volunteers, operating a helpline (07720 650 533), and helping with loneliness and isolation.

“Our message to residents is stay home, stay safe and if you need help, we’re here for you.”

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

To ensure you have access to up to date guidance from local and central government, Stanley Town Council has compiled links to the below websites.

Each website is regularly updated and offers help and information for people impacted by COVID-19 itself, or by the current self-isolation period in place.

For all COVID-19 support information, please visit:

Or for more specific support visit:

Stay safe, stay indoors and together we will get through this.

Full Council Meeting 24th March 2020

The Council will be holding a meeting next Tuesday in order to put in place emergency arrangements to allow the Council to function and take steps to support the community through the challenges we are facing.

The agenda is linked below.

‘-Full Council Agenda 24th March 2020

The Council is legally obliged to admit the public to its meetings, however in the current conditions we urge members of the public not to attend this meeting. We have taken steps to ensure that the legal minimum number of Councillors attend to make a legal decision and the minimum number of staff.

We will report fully the decisions taken immediately after the meeting. Please follow the Government’s guidance on social distancing and avoiding unneccesary contact with people, .

Notice of Annual Town Meeting

The Annual Meeting of electors will take place on Tuesday 17th March 2019 at the Venue, Tyne Road, Stanley. There will be tea and coffee served from 6pm for a 6.30 pm start.

Local community groups and organisations have been invited share details of the services they provide and details of the support they have received from the Town Council over the past year

The Annual meeting is an opportunity for all electors of the parish of Stanley to raise issues and ask questions about any matters relating to the Town. The Council will also give an overview of the work it has done in the last year and our plans for next year.

Council Agendas Tuesday 25th February 2020

There will be two meetings of Stanley Town Council held next Tuesday.

At 6.15 pm, the Council will be considering a motion to create an honorary Freeman of the Town.

At 6.30 pm, the Ordinary meeting will consider business including Stragetic Grant Fund, Stanley Masterplan, Communications Plan and a Resident Survey

‘-Extra Council Agenda 25th February 2020

‘-Full Council Agenda 25th February 2020

February 2020 Combined Papers


THE AMBITIONS, concerns and passions of people in Stanley are placed at the heart of the 2020/21 budget, agreed this week [21 January] by the Town Council.

Councillors threw their weight behind the 2020/21 Budget, which includes a plan to carry out the most thorough consultation exercise ever carried out in the town and its surrounding areas.

“Three years ago, we made a pledge to the people of Stanley that their views would be listened to and acted upon,” said Council Leader, Les Timbey. “What we want to do now is take that even further – we want to engage with them directly and learn not only what we can deliver for them as a Town Council, but what changes people want to see beyond our remit.

“We want to know about their ambitions for the town, what makes residents concerned, we want their views about their children’s education, how care is provided…we want to create a Stanley Knowledge Bank and leverage the collective weight of the Council, councillors and officers to become agents for positive change, building on the success we have had over the last three years.”

Investment has been made available for a series of regeneration projects in and around Stanley, all of which will be included in a “Stanley Masterplan”, providing a blueprint for regeneration and development across the area.

Extra provision has also been made available for the voluntary sector, which is increasingly relied upon to bolster public service or, in some extreme cases, replace ones cut from public sector budgets.

The Town Council has also pledged to bring a Pantomime back to the Civic Hall in 2020, and has recruited a professional production team to stage the popular Christmas curtain raiser.

Among other projects approved is continued support for the popular “Play in the Park” events for children and parents during the summer holidays, Stanley’s spectacular annual fireworks extravaganza and continued investment in the community wardens and environmental caretakers service.

The Council is also continuing with the Stanley Fund, that has delivered thousands of pounds of grant support to Stanley groups and organisations, since it launched last year.

Cllr Timbey explained how the new budget was once again designed to protect the most vulnerable, enhance the town’s offer, but most of all put Stanley residents at the heart of decision-making.

“Every pound and penny we spend is done so with the sole intention of making things better for our residents, communities and businesses,” said Cllr Timbey.

“We keep getting told by Government that its cruel and unrelenting austerity measures are over, but they are still being felt in Stanley and across County Durham.

“This Budget shows that Stanley Town Council will continue to back projects that have a significant impact on the lives of people in the Stanley area. Our focus remains on enhancing the environment, improving safety, supporting community projects and, once again, asking people what they want to see in Stanley and working with our partners to make sure the projects are delivered.”

The Council has been forced to increase its precept by 2.99% from the 2019/20 Budget to keep in step with inflation.

“Any rise in taxation is not something we take lightly,” added Cllr Timbey, “but we are confident what is a relatively small increase will deliver huge benefits for the community”

Deputy Leader, Cllr Mark Davinson, said: “I am proud of what this Council has achieved over the past three years and I wholeheartedly believe this Budget empowers us to build on the progress we’ve already made.

“While great strides have been made in public engagement, we expect the forthcoming consultation exercise to once again deliver some real key priorities for us to act upon.”

Full Council Agenda & Papers Uploaded 21st January 2020

The Agenda and background papers for next Tuesday’s Full Council Meeting are linked below. The January meeting is the one where the Council is required to set it’s budget and precept (Council tax) for 2020/21.

The Council will also be considering the proposal to stage a Pantomime in the Civic Hall for 2020.

The meeting will be held in the Civic Hall on Tuesday 21st January at 6.30 pm.  All Council meetings are open to the public and the public are encouraged to attend.

‘-Full Council Agenda 21st January 2020

Jan 2020 Combined Papers

Strategic Grant Funding for Women’s Centre

A STANLEY safe haven for women who have mental health issues, been subjected to abuse/trauma, or may be suffering long-term unemployment is celebrating a funding windfall to bolster its burgeoning business ambitions.

Just for Women received £620 from Stanley Town Council’s Strategic Grant Fund to buy machinery and materials to support the Crafting to Wellness group.

The new strategic small grants pot, worth £35,000, was launched in 2019 and supports smaller projects via a simple bidding process, administered by Stanley Town Council.

The award will help the not-for-profit organisation, which moved to its HQ St Joseph’s House in 2018, commercialise craft products, that include dolls, bedding and a host of other soft furnishings, produced at its Stanley base.

Just for Women director, Lestryne Tweedy, said: “Stanley Town Council has been an incredible source of support for Just for Women since we were established, most notably last year when it paid £190,000 for the St Joseph’s House building to allow us to continue delivering the vital support we do to vulnerable people in and around the town.

“This money from the Strategic Grant Fund will allow us to further develop the quality products being produced by the Crafting to Wellness group, which has helped many women and men unearth talents that many didn’t know they had.

“This fund is exactly what Stanley needs – it’s quick and easy to apply, very little bureaucracy and, once approved, the funding arrives amazingly quickly.”

Just for Women has helped countless women, and some men, find their feet following abusive relationships, mental illness, homelessness and other issues impacting negatively upon their lives.

Overseen by former social worker, Linda Kirk, who started Just for Women in 2011, the charity has grown from a support organisation to incorporate a business arm and is providing life skills training to people.

Using “crafting” as a form of therapy, it is now a cottage industry for the centre, which sells quilt & cushion covers, soft furnishings and teddy bears to help reduce the need for external funding for its support and training services.

Stanley Town Mayor, Cllr Carole Hampson, said: “For eight years, Just for Women has helped the most vulnerable people in and around Stanley not only find a safe haven, but provide access to training that has created jobs, improved mental health issues and given people a purpose in life.

“Hopefully, this new equipment and material will help Crafting to Wellness continue to develop this fantastic small business and contribute towards making more money that Just for Women can then re-invest in its support services.”

To find out how to apply to the Strategic Grant Fund visit: